Over the past few years the crowdsourcing landscape has changed significantly. We have gone from a handful of platforms to thousands, many of them niche. As this post is being written, there are almost three thousand verified sites listed on crowdsorcing.org alone. This has resulted in a new problem for funding campaign owners - should they change solutions when a "better" option is present?
I argue no, to go even further I think it negatively affects us as an industry to try to convince people to change platforms. There are two primary reasons why this is so. First there is trust and appearance and the second is that there is an increased chance of failure. In fact, I have turned down campaigns that try to join our platform because the owners did not consider the impact of changing systems mid campaign. I would rather see someone have greater success sticking it out somewhere else rather than switching to Unified4People just because we offer lower fees.
The primary reason crowdfunding works is trust. When building a campaign someone is selling a cause. Trust is established through the logical (the "what") and through emotional response (by showing backers the "why"). When strong trust is established, a strong appearance is created and the chance for backing and sharing greatly increases. Switching platforms mid campaign changes appearance from one of need to one of greed which degrades any established trust. While a campaign owner may be changing for legitimate reasons (lower fees, for example) the side effect of this change can be very tangible. They are likely going to have a lot of potential backers walking away. The analogy I like to use is this: If you went to buy a car and the salesman sold you - you trusted his offer to the point you were going to buy - but at the last minute he asked you to leave the dealership and go somewhere else, what would you think? The trust the salesman built with you is likely broken, even if he was going to cut the commission fee by a percent or two.
As mentioned above, a trusted campaign has a greater chance for success. As a campaign progresses momentum is built, people share it and back it. However, when the platform is switched halfway, that momentum and that trust may be broken. Sharing of campaigns is the primary form of advertising and all the sharing before a platform switch is now moot as it as those shares now lead to dead end links. Even worse, a campaign owner running on two platforms simultaneously may appear greedy. This appearance of greed may cause those who planned to back to no longer do so and those who shared to unshare; or worse they may share negative opinions of the campaign. While the owner may save a few percent in fees they have potentially alienated a large group of people who might have backed them to begin with. All of this increases the chance of campaign failure.
The landscape has changed, people have many options. As an industry built on trust and generosity ensuring donor confidence is of major importance. One way of assisting users is by guiding them and avoiding advertising tactics encouraging platform changes while a campaign is running. While it is inevitable to miss out on a few opportunities keeping the trust in the industry helps everyone.