April 6, 2016
The difference between asking for a donation and asking for a pledge - Patreon
Like most people, whenever I've seen a "Donate" button on a website, or blog, I just smile, look away, and wonder what were they thinking? I actually have donated once or twice, mostly just to see how it works, and it always has made me feel like the old miser who puts a quarter in a beggar's hand and tells them "don't spend it on drink!"
So when I stumbled onto Patreon, my first thought was that it was just a way for people to donate. Or some kind of tip jar, but it's not. And it's the difference between feeling like a cheap miser who is digging into your pocket for lose change, and being a Patron of the Arts.
If you're creating something on the web that has a following, and you think that people would like to help, by pledging money, go ahead and set up a Patreon account. I'll have to admit that it felt kind'a funny when I first did it, as it made me feel as if I had just put my hat on the ground and started playing the fiddle out on the street.
But that's not what it is. Random people donating isn't the same as supporters pledging. The people who have pledged on my Patreon page are sending me a clear message - they want to see more of my stuff.
Here are a few things that I've learned already about using Patreon:
• Don't tell people your troubles. You don't need to explain that you have to pay for electricity, or a new computer, people already know that. We're all grownups here, we know stuff costs money - you don't need to explain that on your Patreon page.
• Thank people, thank people in advance, and tell them how to pledge. I like to hear "thank you to all of the patrons on Patreon" when I watch SciShow, which I support with a monthly pledge. And be sure to include a link to your Patreon page.
• Tell people why they should pledge. No, not because you just spilled coffee on your keyboard and need to buy a new one (see above), but from their point of view. Tell them that they'll get more stuff from you. Tell them about ideas for things that you would like to create, and how it will be. Don't promise stuff you can't deliver, but tell your patrons a little bit about your creative goals and dreams. And yes, call them your patrons. That's where the term Patreon comes from - a patron is a supporter of the arts and eon is a length of time - a long time.
Posted by Brad Hall