Cancel a Kickstarter Pledge: The Process of Uncommitting

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Cancel a Kickstarter Pledge: The Process of Uncommitting


Cancel a Kickstarter Pledge: The Process of Uncommitting

A Kickstarter pledge is an exciting bookmark in a tech enthusiast’s calendar, a step towards innovation, and a vote of confidence in the brilliant minds behind the products of the future. Or so it is intended. But what happens when that bookmark needs to be retaken? In this article, we’ll explore the what and the how of canceling a Kickstarter pledge, the often unforeseen impact on the campaigns, and the reasons behind pledge retraction.

What Does Cancelling a Kickstarter Pledge Mean?

Kickstarter, the holy grail of crowdfunding, in a nutshell, is a platform that allows creators to present their projects to a large audience of potential backers. When you pledge to a Kickstarter campaign, you promise to contribute a certain amount of money to the project.

The Ripple Effect on Campaigns

Canceling a pledge on Kickstarter can send ripples through the campaign lifecycle. With goals tied to commitment, sudden backtracking can cripple projected funding and result in complications for the creators in managing resources and backer expectations. Here are some hypothetical ways canceling a pledge could affect a Kickstarter campaign.

Scenario 1: Domino Effect on Funding:

  • Imagine a project on Kickstarter is close to reaching its funding goal but relies on a few large pledges to get over the final hurdle.
  • If one of these large pledgers decides to cancel their pledge, it could create a domino effect.
  • Seeing the project fall short of its goal, other potential backers might lose confidence and cancel their pledges, further jeopardizing the project’s chances of success.

Scenario 2: Loss of Momentum and Media Attention:

  • Let’s say a project gains significant media attention and momentum due to a large pledge or a surge in smaller pledges.
  • If the large pledge is canceled, the media coverage might become negative, portraying the project as struggling or failing.
  • This negativity could discourage potential backers and create a perception of the project being less viable, hindering its ability to reach its funding goal.

Scenario 3: Impact on Project Development and Morale:

  • If a project loses significant funding due to canceled pledges, it might have to scale back its development plans or even halt production altogether.
  • This could lead to disappointment and frustration among the project’s creators and backers who still believe in the project’s potential.
  • The negative morale could further damage the project’s reputation and make it difficult to attract future funding or support.

These are just hypothetical examples, and the actual impact of canceling a pledge would depend on various factors specific to each project and its campaign. It’s important to remember that Kickstarter is a platform for raising funds for creative projects with inherent risks, and backers should carefully consider these risks before making a pledge.

How Does Cancelling a Kickstarter Pledge Work?

The process of canceling a Kickstarter pledge is quite straightforward. In many respects, it’s as easy as pledging initially. But there are nuances to be aware of.

Timing is Everything

Not all pledges are equal when it comes to cancellation. Timing is crucial, and as you’ll discover, it isn’t always just about the timing of your decision to renege but Kickstarter’s specific pledge windows.

The Money Dance

When you change your mind about a pledge, the return on your investment is governed by the method of payment you used and the state of the campaign’s endowment at the time of your original commitment.

Reasons Why People Cancel a Kickstarter Pledge

The reasons for this are as varied as those of the backers themselves. From financial worries to project dissatisfaction, it’s vital for backers and creators alike to understand these motivations. (It should be noted that while Kickstarter does ask backers to explain why they’re canceling a pledge, the reasons are unfortunately not shared with creators.

Buyer’s Remorse

Backing a project on a whim or without thorough evaluation can lead to regret — a common reason for retracting pledges.

Failure to Launch

Sometimes, backers discover red flags about a project’s viability or its creator’s track record, leading them to question their support.

Mitigating the Scammer Risk

Crowdfunding has borne witness to both incredible successes and monumental scams. Here’s how backers can steer clear.

Due Diligence & Communication

Before pledging, thoroughly investigate the creator’s background, past campaigns, and project feasibility.

Another essential strategy in navigating the murky waters of crowdfunding scams is to pay close attention to the communication from project creators. Updates, comment responses, and engagement levels can provide valuable insights into the project’s legitimacy and progress. Creators who are transparent, regularly update their backers and answer questions promptly tend to be more reliable. On the other hand, lack of communication should raise a red flag for potential backers. Always engage in the comment section or through direct messages to better understand the project’s viability and the creator’s commitment.

Community Watch

Joining forums and communities around a campaign can provide valuable insights and warnings about potential issues.

The Ethical Considerations of Cancelling a Pledge

While the technical process of withdrawing a pledge from a Kickstarter campaign is straightforward, the ethical dimension adds complexity to the decision. Backers form a pivotal part of a project’s potential to come to life, and their financial endorsements are votes of confidence in a creator’s vision. It’s essential to recognize that, beyond the digital transaction, there is a web of expectations and promises.

The Impact on Small Creators

For small creators, every pledge is significant. When a pledge is canceled, especially in the closing stages of a campaign, it can derail financial goals and demoralize creators who have invested time, effort, and often their own finances into making their vision a reality. This aspect is crucial for backers to consider before making a hasty decision to cancel their support.

Ethical Pledging

To mitigate potential ethical dilemmas, backers are encouraged to perform thorough due diligence before pledging. This not only includes assessing the project’s viability and the creator’s reliability but also self-reflecting on one’s financial commitment and long-term interest in the project. Ethical pledging means recognizing your role in the ecosystem of creation and innovation Kickstarter represents and taking that responsibility seriously.

Open Communication: Tell them Why

If circumstances change and canceling a pledge becomes a necessity, open communication with the project creator can soften the impact. Explaining your situation can provide valuable feedback for creators and, in some cases, lead to understanding and an amicable resolution. Kickstarter’s platform fosters a community-driven environment, and maintaining respectful and supportive communication reinforces this ethos.

In conclusion, the act of canceling a Kickstarter pledge, while simple in mechanics, is fraught with implications for the creator and the broader community of backers. By approaching this action with care, consideration, and communication, backers can make informed decisions that respect their interests and those of the creators they initially sought to support.

Looking at Cancelations from the Perspective of a Founder

At TCF, we handle Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns from A-Z. This includes dealing with backers who back out. Our experience has shown that users are very receptive when contacted by creators, founders, or CEOs. The willingness of top management to engage with backers and hear their feedback is greatly valued by backers and sometimes can even result in them changing their minds. This is why we’re staunch believers of this practice at TCF.

The Role of a Dedicated Sales/Support Team in Sustaining Pledges

Hiring a dedicated sales/support team can be a game-changer in preventing pledge cancellations and fostering a supportive community. This team can continuously engage with backers, providing real-time updates, answering queries, and expressing gratitude for their support.

Continuous Engagement and Support

A sales/support team keeps communication channels open, making backers feel valued and part of the project’s journey. By promptly addressing concerns and providing detailed project insights, they can alleviate doubts and sustain backers’ commitment.

Expressing Gratitude

Personalized thank-you messages from the support team can significantly impact backers, reminding them that their contributions are not just transactions but vital endorsements of a dream. This level of personal engagement strengthens the bond between creators and their community, creating advocates rather than just financial supporters.

A dedicated sales/support team is crucial in minimizing pledge cancellations through consistent communication and genuine appreciation. Engaging and thanking backers throughout the campaign lifecycle underscores their importance in bringing a vision to life and fostering a loyal and supportive backer community.


Canceling a pledge on Kickstarter is more than an individual action; it has the power to influence the very fabric of crowdfunding campaigns. Backers must exercise responsibility in undertaking their excited ‘yes,’ and creators must learn to adapt to the flux cancellations bring to the financial table. The act of un-commitment is a potent one, and as Kickstarter continues to be a launchpad for technological marvels, it’s also a conversation worth having. After all, in the world of innovation, plans can change as quickly as the tide.

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Alice Ananian

Alice has over 8 years experience as a strong communicator and creative thinker. She enjoys helping companies refine their branding, deepen their values, and reach their intended audiences through language.


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