What is crowdfunding?
You can compare the idea of crowdfunding to pre-orders, but a special type of pre-orders. In crowdfunding, you can influence the product and you decide with how much money you want to support it. The more you give, the more you get.
Crowdfunding is based on an idea. A creator shares an idea with the community to get their support in funding the realization of the idea. It becomes a group project, where everyone has something to say about the final shape of the project.
A crowdfunding platform is not a store. It's a place where creators can show their ideas to the community, but not necessarily the final product because it may change with time. In the case of crowdfunding, backers have a real influence on the product's final form.
You support the project by making a pledge and the creators offer something in return for your contribution. You can choose the pledge option that interests you the most. Their content is described on the project page. The higher the pledge, the more rewards (often limited!) you get for contributing to the project. Once you pledge, you become a backer.
Gamefound is not a store
Remember that pledging doesn't mean buying. A project is not a buyable item but an idea that can come to life. Backers can pledge to it to make it happen and then receive a real copy. In short, you contribute to an idea that may or may not materialize.
Before a crowdfunding campaign launch, the creator can make a draft and collect feedback from the community. This is the moment when projects are promoted among backers. You can't pledge to the project yet, but you can get a notification on its launch.
This is the moment when a project is available for backers to pledge to it. When you go to the project page, you can see what rewards the creators offer for a specific pledge. As long as the campaign is active, you can change your pledge, add some items or cancel it. You won't get charged until the campaign's successful end.
For better understanding
Ok, let's say you want to support a project. To do so, you pledge to it. What does it mean? A pledge is a promise that you'll pay the declared amount in the pledge when the crowdfunding campaign ends successfully.
Let's pledge! You can find all pledge options (rewards) on the main page of the crowdfunding site. Once you select a reward and declare the amount you want to support the project with, you'll be asked to provide payment information (usually debit/credit card details). And that's it. You will be charged only if the campaign reaches its goal (or exceeds it).
The goal and stretch goals
When the project is launched, the creator declares its goal – the amount of funds needed to make the project happen. When the goal is reached, backers are charged for their pledges. But reaching the campaign's goal is not the end of crowdfunding.
This is when stretch goals step in. Stretch goals are additional targets for the campaign. They include freebies, extensions, upgraded quality of the product, etc. Each stretch goal is a threshold that needs to be reached to unlock their content.
Apart from rewards, you can also add different items to your pledge. Creators sometimes offer add-ons, such as T-shirts, mugs, and other gadgets. These are basically things that are not included in rewards. You can add them to your pledge in pledge manager or when making a pledge at crowdfunding and then choose the add-ons you want. In crowdfunding, you have to add the amount you want to spend on add-ons to your pledge. In the pledge manager, you can simply add them to your pledge and pay the difference at checkout. If you change your mind, you can manage add-ons in the pledge manager.
So, you pledged to a project, added payment details but no one asked for your address. Why? Because the road from pledging to shipping is very long. Backers are asked to provide this information in the pledge manager, not in the crowdfunding phase because it's too early to know if the project will even come to life. Shipping cost is defined before the pledge manager phase.
This is a phase after the campaign's successful end. In the pledge manager, you can choose and manage the content of your pledge. You can also add more items. Apart from that, the pledge manager is where you provide shipping details, choose the shipping method and pay for it.
Crowdfunding doesn't work like a store. You don't get the product right after pledging. In crowdfunding, the process of creating a product takes time because the community can shape its final form. Remember that it is the creator who is responsible for the project and we're here to facilitate the crowdfunding process. You can always contact the creator directly and ask about the campaign.
There is a chance the campaign won't reach its goal. However, if this happens, you don't lose anything because the platform won't charge you for a failed campaign.