A programmer who has had enough of the daily grind at the office may want to make the jump and be an independent software developer. However, one of the biggest obstacles that come in the way is the funds required to pursue their pet projects. A few of them might turn to freelance, but this normally drains away the time that they would have given to developing their software. A better approach would be to get your project funded.
You might get a mix of company sponsors and normal fans supporting your endeavours. Your success as a developer is based on the perks you offer to this varied group. Lower tier pledges work for those programmers that cater to a larger user base. On the other hand, if you are trying to go for corporate backing, a higher pledge amount would be better. Check out the list provided below and see which reward ideas work for you.
Rewards Ideas For Software Developers to Gift Their Supporters
1. Community Access and Voting Rights
For a larger support base, one of the easiest things that you could provide your fans would be access to a community. The community members can get a chance to converse with like-minded people and have an area where they can talk about their mutual interests – your work. You could choose equal access for all community members or divide groups based on their membership fee. This would also be dependent on the amount you receive in sponsorship.
Voting rights is also a great perk that can be clubbed along with community access. You could ask your supporters regarding the next patch or update to be added to your software. That way you wouldn’t have to worry about what to focus on, and give your community a chance to take part in the coding process.
2. Better Features and Updates
A method that you could employ with your supporters is to use the freemium approach. While providing the basic software for free, you could give higher quality features to the fans that pay more. Take into consideration that there would be several users that would be using your application on a day to day basis, and wouldn’t mind paying a premium amount for better features.
You could supplement the features by providing an update to add additional users into their account. This would be more apt for corporate users, but not necessarily for large companies.
3. Live Support and Private Discussions
Live support is a brilliant proposal for paying supporters, but it can be rather tedious due to the additional workload that would fall on your shoulders. You might have to either dedicate a chunk of your time for helping out with customer support or hire someone to do it for you. This would be dependent on the money you earn and what your budgeting costs run-up to.
If a sizable portion of your clientele is from the corporate sector, it would be prudent for them to consult with you regarding your products privately. It could be in the form of one-hour sessions where you go over the product features or whatever they wish to speak with you regarding the application.
4. Supporter Recognition
Anyone who invests in your work would only do so if he/she would have faith in it. So as a mark of appreciation, giving out a little recognition would go a long way. For corporate sponsors, putting up their logo on your website would be a viable option. For the individual supporters, you could add their names to the About Us page, or give a shout out on a social media platform.
For those fans that have backed you with bigger pledge amounts, you could conduct a Question & Answer (Q&A), live chat or a Hangout session where you could work through some issues that you have found in your applications. You could also go for a rather laid back approach where you discuss life in general. What you talk about is going to be based on the dynamics of your community.
5. Additional Content
Depending on the niche that you are a part of and the applications you develop, providing tutorials or additional material would be a fascinating read for your community members. You could be a subject matter expert, and your expertise would be deeply valued.
6. Access to Beta Versions and Early Release
This might not seem like too huge a reward, but it could be the push needed for people to start supporting you monetarily. If you are providing an early or a beta release of the latest version, and you couple it with a chance for your fans to give suggestions, it could be a win-win situation. You would get to know where to correct or enhance your code, and your fans would feel like a part of the process.
7. Free Merch
If you sell merchandise for the software you create, there is a likelihood that a certain section of your fan base would love to get their hands on them. It could be something as simple as a sticker or a mug, or something more intricately designed.
Combine two or more suggestions or tweak them for your convenience. Do remember that not all ideas provided would work for one – some might be more suited for the type of applications produced.