Creator Confessions: How To Handle Cancelled Pledges

by Frank Martin

Running a Kickstarter is hard by itself. There are tons of creative decisions, logistical decisions, practical decisions … the list goes on. There are points in a campaign where you have to fight for every backer and when you do get that backer it feels like an achievement. So it is understandable to feel dismayed when you see a backer cancel their pledge. It can feel like a step backwards, sometimes like a betrayal. But it’s important to understand not just why people cancel a pledge, but also what is the appropriate way to respond.

First off, 95% of the time when a backer cancels their pledge it has nothing to do with you as the creator. Unexpected things in life happen. There are extra bills or a backer may simply not have realized that they overextended themselves for that month. Every once in awhile you may get a troll who pledges and cancels just to be annoying or someone who may genuinely have second thoughts about the campaign. But for the most part, a canceled pledge is not a reflection on you.

What is a reflection on you is how you respond to that canceled pledge. There is no one right way to respond, but there are different schools of thought as to how they should be approached. One option is to do nothing. A canceled pledge is none of your business so it is best just to leave it alone. Another choice is to actually reach out to that backer and politely ask them if they had any concerns about your project. Sometimes you may get no response. Other times you may get a sincere explanation. The object of reaching out is to form a rapport with your backers, a personal relationship that they will remember and maybe back again in the future. But while there is no single, correct way to respond to a cancelled pledge, there is a wrong way. And that’s to blame a backer for canceling. It’s important to understand that you are never entitled to anybody’s money. So, being respectful of their decision is of the utmost importance.

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