Patreon, Bringing Patronage Back to the Arts
By Greta Weiner
Patreon is a unique fundraising website. The premise is that all kinds of artists, bands, multi-media creators, photographers, even researchers, can start a Patreon page for their projects (Patreon calls them “Things”) to recieve on-going funds. What makes this site different from a Kickstarter campaign is the flexibilty to have one time funding and on-going funding.
Like other fundraising sites, Patreon gives the donors some sort of reward for their patronage. Rewards are set up by the artist. They may include things like pre-sale tickets to a concert, a google hangout with the artist, or a special blog or video. Rewards can be on-going just like the donations can. For example, donate $3 a month and receive a monthly blog from the creator.
From reading a few reviews of the site, it becomes apparent that the best campaigns are for artists who are unusual. The more mainstream your end product is, the less likely people will fund it. If you already get paid for your work (like an author creating articles, blogs, books) the less likely people will feel the need to chip in. And the more you offer your patrons the more likely you will be funded.
The fundraising queen of Patreon is Amanda Palmer. Through her Patreon page, Amanda Palmer of Dresden Dolls has raised over $35,000 for her work. Palmer turned to Patreon when she left her record label. She’s extrememly active on the site and has taken ideas from her fans to offer “things” to them from the Patreon page. She has given her supporters special perks like a behind the scenes video of a concert available only to Patreon users. She has released free songs to them, animated music videos, streaming live feeds for interviews and more. She has a unique sound, but more importantly she connects in unique ways with her fans and gives them what they want. Most people are happy to pay for what they want. To date she is Patreon’s most successful story.
Another way to get good funding is if you are offering an important service to your community. One Patreon user is researching how traficking and prostitution laws are being enforced and how well our laws work. Rather than researching for a short time and creating an article in bite size pieces, this is a long term study.
Excited and ready to donate? Here are just a few of the unique Patreon “things” you can support from New Mexico creators.