Patreon Advice?


Hello everyone! My name is David Schirduan, one of the hosts of the 200 Word RPG Challenge, and my mother’s favorite game designer.

I’m thinking about starting up a Patreon to help fund the 200 Word RPG Challenge (prizes, readers, layout, etc.)

Any advice for managing and Patreon and building a community?

I’ve long admired the Gauntlet for it’s firm behavior policies, dedicated moderators, and enthusiastic community. Seriously, y’all set the standard for online interactions.

I’d like to steal whatever wisdom I can pry from your coconuts. Thanks!


Not direct advice to your questions but a topical note: you might want to get your Patreon set up before May 1st because they are planning to change their structure. All existing Patreons will be grandfathered in, though and remain on the old model.


One thing you’ll need to deal with is that Patreon’s payment structures are a little weird for a yearly contest. You can set up as “pay per month”, which I wouldn’t do, or “pay per thing created”, which could work if you stretch the notion a little. Then maybe make the tiers of a “per thing created” patreon cost a little (maybe a lot) more than would be typical. The intention for that kind of structure is “pay per blog post I write” or “pay per podcast episode”. You’d need to explain you were going for “pay per yearly contest”, and that their would only be one charge per year (or whatever your intended schedule is).


I know! That’s why I launched this project earlier than I originally planned.

So now I’m scrambling to pull things together, haha.

Thanks for the warning.


I plan to release some small PDFs every month to raise funds for the challenge. In fact you can see it here:


I do not have a Patreon. I am speaking as a supporter of various Patreons. I don’t necessarily think I am typical but I’ll tell you what works an doesn’t work for me. I am privileged, I have money that I can spend on these things.

  1. I actually prefer just supporting people Monthly, regardless of whether or not they produce a product. For me, I’m supporting the person because I like what they do, I want them to do more. I also do this to trick myself. If I think about the Patreon support as “buying a product” it is NEVER a worthwhile value proposition to me. So, for me, I have to think about it as supporting the person/group otherwise I’d never think of it as “worth it”.
    a. Even better if I’m supporting them for a product they release to the general public. I’m not doing it for exclusive content.
    b. Patreon, as far as I know, is not setup for releasing products very well. If you have a Patreon and someone comes later, they have access to all the earlier stuff. This is great value for the late comer, but it also sometimes makes the early supporter feel bad. You can do a lot of extra work to remove old products so late comers don’t get “free” access to old products, but it’s a lot of work.
  2. I love posts with value. I hate posts with no value. The more posts that have no value to me, the closer I get to cancelling my support to you.
  3. I would rather support a few people at higher $$$, then more people at lower $$$. I do this because I understand that the creators get a smaller percentage on smaller pledges, due to higher percentages of pledges being taken out for fees and processing. This means that if I have $100 allocated per month, I’d rather spend it on 10 or less people, then 100 people at a $1 pledge. Does this mean I don’t support some people I probably could, yes. But it is one of my quirks about me trying to be as efficient as I can.

I know thisn’t exactly specific helpful advice for your Patreon, but hopefully it will be useful to see one person’s perspective on Patreon.


I would like some advice on Patreon as well.

I don’t really have much creative content out in the world yet, but am slowly building it. I want to start a Patreon to get some income based off my creative work.

Should I wait to “launch” it until I have more stuff out there? Or just do it and keep promoting it as I go?


Ask yourself if having that Patreon out there will be on balance a motivator or a source of anxiety and proceed accordingly, is what I’d do. For me, an extra point or two of discount for jumping the gun isn’t worth the anxiety that knowingly putting an incomplete appeal into the world would cause me.


I think you have have a creator account without launching it / making it public. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.


I think Kickstarter might be a better route, tbh. Patreon implies an ongoing relationship throughout the year, which makes sense for creators who put out things at regular intervals (like we do with podcasts and Codex). An annual Kickstarter might be a better way of raising money for an annual event.

As for the community portion, for us, that is separate from our Patreon. We have the Slack group, of course, but that or a Discord server is something that could easily exist outside of Patreon. What I mean to say is, there is nothing particular about Patreon that affects our community culture, which is the result of years of careful curation and cultivation. I mean, anyone can do it, but it’s a lot of active, constant work.


One of the main pieces of wisdom i’ve picked up with regards to crowd funding, which may or may not be relevant to folks in this thread is crowd funding should be treated as a way to leverage an existing community rather than attempting to build a community.

These platforms are not well suited for community building, and if you don’t already have that than your adding a very difficult task (community building) with a tool that’s ill suited for it, on top of all the work you are already doing. I think this often leads to burn out and doesn’t really pay off well in the end


If it’s not too late, I’d recommend looking at other platforms than Patreon (e.g., Drip). Aside from their periodic moves to change pay structures, etc., they aren’t really that user friendly.

Specifically, I’m currently struggling to get Patreon to accept payments (I cancelled a credit card due to fraud and removed it from Patreon, but the system kept a ghost copy and kept trying to charge it, regardless of whatever new card I put in, or if I switched to PayPal). Their customer support consists of rehashes of their help pages and once they realize they can’t solve your problem (mine above), they stop responding. So, they have a customer that wants to give them money, but they won’t help the customer give them money. Does that sound like a company that cares about your business?


Thanks for all the replies and advice! I really appreciate the feedback.

I’m going to try out patreon for the next 4-5 months or so, but I like @jasoncordova 's suggestion of a kickstarter. That makes a lot more sense. I’ll look into that for next year.

Thanks again everyone!

- David