Well, that’s the nub of it, I think! Your distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is spot on, and I do feel torn between wanting to give patrons extrinsic value (postcards, etc), and wanting just to be enabled to carry on doing my art. The two aren’t mutually exclusive - the postcards will be prints of work I produce for Patreon - but the cost would eat in to money that should be paying for time to produce art. It’s a bit of a vicious circle, but my thinking is that most people are extrinsically motivated, so that might help generate patronage that would in turn eventually allow me to do more art. Perhaps. It’s early days yet - I’ve only a handful of patrons as I’m still building the page back up after relaunching.
I’ve done something like this, which is to offer a ‘loyalty reward’ based on overall pledge milestones - so, a special reward for reaching $50, $100, etc, which I think is nice.
Regarding the one-off reward, I still can’t get my head around it. In terms of extrinsic value, it seems too much - you’d have to set it at a high level just to warrant doing it, but then you wouldn’t expect people to continue pledging at that level for nothing - and you wouldn’t want to be offering monthly physical rewards at that level (at least, I wouldn’t). The limited, disappearing reward option is a good idea, though. I may consider that, though for the moment I think I’ll stick with offering milestones and discounts on commissions.
Thanks again, @Lochy, your comments and insights are very helpful, as always!