Tips for Running a Community Resource Patreon

How do Community Resource Patreons Differ from Webcomic, Commission, or Tutorial Patreons?

  • Money goes to support a project that is available free to the public
  • Minimum content behind paywall
  • Funds go to purchase supplies, pay site costs, cover guest posts, remainder may b used to reimburse creator, but making a profit is not the intention

Best case scenario: 

You've established a few years of contributing resources to the community of your choice, and have spent time and effort popularizing and promoting your resource before asking for money.

Ways to do this:
Moderate a Discord, Forum, or Comment section
Organize a Community Specific Resource- a wiki, an archive, a how-to

Examples:  StArt FaireNattosoup Studio Art and Process Blog, How to be a Con Artist, Nattosoup Studio Youtube Channel

It can be difficult to get people to pay for what they've always consumed for free, so it's important to outline what you can do for them beyond what you've already done- give people a reason to care and a reason to back.

This can include:
Backer exclusive material
Early access material
Voting on what content is pursued

Before Launch:

  • When launching, clearly outline what you've done for the community over the years- numbers are good, but don't fudge them
  • Outline the costs of operation- what you spend, and why people should help offset these costs
  • Outline what backers will get in addition to the feel goods for helping keep a free resource alive
  • Be clear about what this Patreon is covering- for example, I try to be explicit that my Patreon does NOT cover 7" Kara.

On Your Patreon Page:

  • Make sure your mission statement is clearly listed
  • Clearly denote what the Patreon is covering, with links to the projects in question
  • Clearly explain how Patreon funds will be used, and what their contributions cover
  • It's safe to assume if you have a long-running project, that most people visiting your Patreon are already fans of your work- you can skip the hard sell!
  • Graphics are great, but if they distract or detract from your Patreon's mission, it's fine to stay text only

If your content has always been free access, don't start hiding it behind paywalls.  Early Access denotes eventual public access (and is a great way to incentivize passionate fans), but you may have to challenge yourself to find other ways to incentivize backers.

Potential Backer Rewards:

  • Early Access to content
  • Voting rights on future content
  • Backer access to director's cut, or full videos (maybe including bloopers or deleted content)
  • Additional update days
  • If you're comfortable, opening up on a more personal level- cute pet photos
  • Paid collaboration opportunities for other creators
  • Patron only Discord channel

The goal is to add content and quality, not

After Launching:

  • Check in regularly!  I find having a weekly newsletter with everything that went live- both to backers and to the public, is a great way to help people keep up with your work
  • Outline your future goals for the project clearly
  • Show your backers what their funds have helped achieve
  • Give your backers opportunities for input on future projects
  • Set milestones and host celebrations
  • Find ways to show your gratitude and thank your Patrons for their support and encouragement.
  • Find ways to compensate those who have helped you along the way (ex: paid guest posts to add additional viewpoints and content)

Keep in Mind:

  • If you're a free community resource, people will still question why you do what you do, even if it's clearly outlined
  • They will also question your credentials/authority
  • Running a Patreon takes a lot of dedication, and may not be worth the additional workload
That's ok!  That's just part of the process- it isn't personal.

What to Avoid:

  • Guilt tripping your friends and followers
  • Lying about what you can deliver- it's fine if you have to adjust goals and tiers to reflect reality on the fly
  • Overpromising on what you can't deliver
  • Putting originally free content behind a paywall
  • Don't make this an ego trip- this project is about the community you're serving.  Don't take things too personally  and try to keep a level head
  • Remember the focus is community- don't position yourself as the leader unless that best serves your community.  Don't promote yourself as THE authority (especially in comics, there are so many talented professionals!) but as AN authority.
Also Try!
  • Get others involved! People love collaboration, and collaborative opportunities should benefit both parties. It helps to have a clear payment plan ahead of time- something to incentive Patrons and possible collaborators
  • Thanking Patrons in your credits


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