Key Choices When Setting Up Patronage Membership Offers

Key Choices When Setting Up Patronage Membership Offers

In our first blog on the topic of patronage and membership models we explored the principles behind it, a couple of the main platforms, and practicalities that underpin the use of crowd patronage as a viable financial model for creatives. Now we consider what to look out for when choosing a platform for your entry into the field and offer pointers to a few providers.

Patronage or membership models are increasingly popular, particularly at this time when what had been the norm for our business models has been so severely disrupted. The first blog set out the main points and we have had two podcast case studies. One from Eric Turnnessen of MemberMouse generously sharing his experience of what works based on his extensive experience of developing a platform used by thousands of creatives. Then we heard from Sarah Burns, an artist who has been using Patreon for more than five years who offered brilliant advice based on her journey into patronage.

So if you want to move into the space what are the key considerations?

Behavioral Questions

  • Should I JFDI!?
  • What Might be of Interest and Value?
  • Will There be Tiers?
  • How Regular Can I Be?
  • Am I Looking For Regular Giving Or One-offs?
  • Can I Link Some Of My Existing Digital Tools?
  • How Much Does it Cost?
  • How Do I Get My Money?
  • What Can You Offer Directly Or What Will You Need To Do Indirectly?
  • Will the Platform Grow With Me?
  • What are the Options to Create a Branded and Individual site?
  • What is the Support Like?

    Yes, get on with it. Give it a try. Like all crowd engagement, it is complex and so you need to adopt an iterative approach. Try something, see what happens, adjust to the feedback, try again. But, just get on with it.

    Step back form your own personal creative process and activity to consider what might be of value to others. Your skills? Your insight? The creative process itself? Behind the scenes? It is not just your final creative product that might be of interest to patrons and members.

    No, don’t cry! Consider if you can offer different levels of value to backers so as to create different returns.

    Try to develop a schedule of providing things to your patrons so that they stick with you and build trust.


    There are many ways of approaching this and there is a myriad of different offerings out there from simple free tools to sophisticated licensed products. So which is right for you?

    Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you review things and make your selection. Bear in mind as you do you may well revisit this as your needs might change over time, and that is not a bad thing.

    There are services that can provide you with options for regular giving, or one-off donations, or a mix of both.

    Some offerings are quite sophisticated and include rich functionality, some have very little and some integrate with existing tools you may use, for example Patreon integrates with other apps Vimeo, MailChimp, Zapier

    Think about the pricing model that each product has. Does it offer a free option and a paid option and what are the differences? If its “free” does it charge transaction costs and what or how much are they?

    Consider what currencies they support and what payment options do they support? (PayPal Stripe etc) Also, find out when you get paid, is there a delay, do they charge tax and how do you receive the money?

    Vidoe, online courses, mail list management. Some have this native to the platform for others you may need to find a third-party solution. Membermouse, for example, has very rich features with sophisticated configuration options and solid metrics. If you want to be able to offer digital downloads, merchandise or other digital and physical materials this can be important.

    Most platforms can scale but there can be cost implications associated with growing to bigger numbers of subscribers that means the bigger your membership the more your platform costs.

    Some offerings are plugins, some offer hosted sites and these will affect how much you can brand or skin your offering.

    Will the provider help promote your offering, has it a community, do you get technical support?

    So with all those thoughts in mind here is a list of just some of the providers out there. The descriptions are the platforms’ descriptions of themselves.

    For Those Seeking Regular or Ongoing Funding Solutions


    Patreon helps you build direct relationships with your most engaged fans. You offer them benefits like exclusive content, community, or insight into your creative process in exchange for a monthly subscription.


    The powerful turn-key membership platform that sets up in minutes.


    Sell memberships to your audience. Super easy. Works with Stripe, WordPress, and Mailchimp


    Everything you need to sell online courses, downloads, and memberships without worrying about the tech.


    Liberapay is a recurrent donations platform. We help you fund the creators and projects you appreciate.


    The “All-In-One” Membership Plugin for WordPress

    Mighty Networks

    A new kind of website builder that grows with you. Bring your community, online courses, and memberships together in one place.


    Discover amazing new music and directly support the artists who make it.


    Make your community sustainable. Collect and spend money transparently.


    The future for independent media and creative professionals. Steady enables us to support the projects we cannot do without, from independent media to podcasts, videos to open source code. Because good work deserves more than a like.

    Creators, invite your fans and monetize your audience! is a membership platform. You create your page and receive your fans. We provide free tools for fans, artists, producers, YouTubers, gamers, podcasters and other professionals. You can sell monthly memberships, publish content for members only and much more features!


    Independent Membership Platform. Publish Content. Get Paid.

    For Those More Inclined Towards One-off Donations


    Fund Your Passions. The free and friendly way to get instant payments and support from fans. No platform fees!


    Support creators with one easy subscription. Become a contributor and donate one monthly subscription to the creators you love.

    Buy Me a coffee

    Buy Me A Coffee is a modern creator platform loved by 100k+ creators. It takes a minute to start your page and has all the features to build your creative business.


    You create regular content on the Internet (videos, articles, music, photos, posts, etc.), you have a community behind you and supports you? Tipeee is for you.


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