Ideas for Better Patreon Efficiency: One-Time Payment Processing & Small Teams for Pro Plans

I mentioned this a while back in the Pain Points thread, but Mindy recommended I create this as a standalone thread so here it is! I believe a limited introduction of these 2 ideas would give lower revenue creators with moderate outreach the ability to better manage their Patreon while also increasing conversions from non-Patreon or “giving for one month only” users.

1. Allow Pro users to create 2 team member accounts.
We understand wanting to limit the team function to large creators that most likely run with a large team; however, many smaller lower-revenue projects have teams to help delegate and manage the business, and having to share login credentials is a risky bad practice (and annoying if you have to constantly text someone your 2-Factor code!)

Example Problem: A Stage Reborn is a 501c3 arts charity. As Executive Director, I have responsibilities that include Patreon oversight, but I am not the definitive shot-caller, I am not a replacement for our PR team and I am certainly not a replacement for our Board Treasurer and accountant that need access to Patreon data. Because we are handling donor funds, it is terrible practice to share login credentials to an individual with a position that may change hands over the years and it creates a trust issues with supporters when there’s a team behind a project but only one person gets the keys to the revenue stream. Additionally, everything has to funnel through me, and I am a busy person! It is difficult to be the contact point on Patreon when there are several on the team that share that kind of responsibility.

Example Solution: Allow us 2 team accounts on Pro. This gives enough room for one person from our finance team or our Treasurer the ability to handle financial information and data (useful for determining trends too) and gives our PR team a designated account to handle donor relations. It doesn’t take me out of the picture, but allows our charity much better efficiency than making Patreon backed by a whole team a single person’s responsibility, without having to earn $2,500+ and pay $300 a month.

Small team access solves concerns about transparency, workload balance, and makes safe account management a reality. Not everyone will have a similar need, but those that have a team structure do would benefit from having whoever handles money to be able to handle that aspect, and whoever handles tracking engagement to handle that aspect, or simply just having the support of one or two others who may help them be better creators by building a small team. The reward for becoming a great creator would be the ability to get the higher up plan that supports a large team and merch.

2. Allow One-Time Payment options through cards, Quickbooks, PayPal, Stripe, etc. with email follow-up. We know the main goal is to get people on a monthly subscription or a per-creation subscription, and there may be some mixed feeling about giving people the option to drop a one-time tip and walk away; however, the idea is that this will give all creators a way to entice new Patreon account sign-ups to audiences that aren’t already Patreon-savvy users. It also gives those who just want to donate once and walk a way a means to do so without screwing up our statistics and making us deal with the rollercoaster of having to watch all those new Patrons that disappear after a single month.

Example Problem: A Stage Reborn ran a table at a small comics and arts convention. We set up a tablet PC as a “Patreon Kiosk” so people had the option to sign up for a subscription that wanted to donate. We also had a Quickbooks payment block set up for those that just wanted to do a one-time donation. While we could have customized email receipts to have a Patreon link, we thought something users can opt into at a kiosk coming from Patreon itself when people donated to us would be more successful, in addition to an email link.

Example Solution: Allow a non-reward based one-time tip/donation through Patreon pages via integrations like PayPal, Stripe, Quickbooks. For users doing this through their Patreon accounts, they don’t get tacked onto the membership count and thus we avoid that rollercoaster of patrons that unsubscribe immediately. For those doing this without a Patreon account, it sends the email they enter a link prompting them to complete account creation “if they’d like to continue supporting this creator.” I feel this option would, while not a huge impact, a very positive impact on conversions. Either way, with however Patreon would like to set up processing fees on this sort of thing, it still benefits Patreon while giving creators a new way to push for support from those that might not be ready or eager to make a Patreon account off the bat, and it gives convention goers (think charities, artists with vendor tables, etc.) a way to run tips, payments and sign-ups at their table for goods.

Imagine an artist being able to take one-time payments through Patreon, and when that person gets home their receipt also has an account setup link in it for monthly perks if they so choose? Tie this in with offers on one-time donations that convert to monthly subscribers and I think it’ll result in some positive growth. This way, if you can’t regularly nail down subscribers, you don’t need to feel like your Patreon account, revenue and so on are stalled. Patreon can also still earn some revenue from creators struggling to retain subscribers by allowing this option. Everybody wins!

Here’s a bit more on the example:

  1. Comic artist is selling physical copies at a convention table for $5 each.
  2. They use Patreon as their payment portal the same way maybe they send one of their tiers comics.
  3. Buyers who pay through Patreon put in their email and get a receipt with a link encouraging them to sign up or log in, pointed to that creator’s page.
  4. This last idea here is a bit more iffy because of privacy concerns, but so long as there’s sufficient disclosure about payments being processed through Patreon, you could give an option for one-time transactions to pre-create an account with the information collected for the transaction. Think of it like when you make a payment for something as a guest on a website, and then you get an email receipt that says “hey, you didn’t create an account, click here to do so with your sale,” and then the information you input for that sale (name, email, phone, address, payment details) is automatically in your account if you go to create it. If someone doesn’t, you can set the account to automatically expire after a certain time so people don’t have to worry about info being stored for a timeframe in excess compared to the original transaction.
10 Likes

I’m an individual artist so the multiple accounts doesn’t affect me, but I can certainly see the usefulness. That said, I LOVE the idea of a one time tip jar type of thing. I know a lot of people don’t want to do a subscription. I’d even be happy to let a higher fee be taken from that income to cover the extra processing or whatnot.

9 Likes

If one-time payments were a thing, we’d also love it if Patreon offered reduced, competitive fees for registered 501 charities like PayPal does (2.2%+$0.50 on PayPal) but I know that’d be a big ask too. :wink:

4 Likes

If you have a WordPress site, you can offer benefits based on lifetime pledge to your patrons by using Patreon’s WP plugin. (Patreon WordPress).

You can gate content by a tier level and also for total lifetime pledge, like $30, and any patron who has contributed $30 over the years or instantly, can access that content.

In this current example, a one time donation could be accomplished by setting a $5 tier for a post, and also a $5 total pledge level. This would allow access to any patron who contributed $5 at any point in time.

2 Likes

I like this idea a lot, and I think you’re correct that it could be a “gateway” to converting more fans into patrons, while also having some other very useful benefits!

2 Likes

Thank you for creating this thread, @Lawyerd. It’s really helpful to have these in one place and we definitely understand the need for these options.

2 Likes

These are interesting ideas. The only downside to one time payments is that a lot of my rewards are possible because people support me continuously so one time payments would kinda defeat the purpose of that and make things more difficult. I also haven’t had people specifically sign up for a reward and leave immediately but I know that’s an issue. And of course, I can see how having one time payments would be a good option for some creators so it would be a cool feature to have. :+1:

3 Likes

I would love to have a one-time payment option. It would make it a lot easier for my patrons to commission me. I would definitely want it to be separate from my tiers though. You can’t pay once and get all the content. It would be more for commissions, or even just like, a tip jar or something, if a patron wanted to pay a little more for a specific product.

3 Likes

I’ve been looking into the Patreon integration but many creators don’t have or want to use a separate website for this sort of feature. I can definitely see the utility, but sadly it doesn’t resolve the challenges of conversions targeting those reluctant to partake in a subscription model platform. I think getting them through Patreon first via a one-time tip from reluctant subscribers that have the option to tip via PayPal through Patreon pages can lead to a subscription their second time tipping or commissioning for benefits, and then ultimately direct them to a WordPress or API driven portal for even greater (or lifetime) rewards for those with much more to offer through their website off of Patreon.

I don’t have the numbers but I think the amount of creators actively using the WordPress or API are shadowed by the amount that focus just on their Patreon page and want to rely more on Patreon as their content and service delivery platform.

TLDR, WordPress plugin is great, but it doesn’t solve the Patreon commission to subscriber conversion challenge some creatives struggle with, especially if they have clients who don’t want to sign up for a Patreon account, period. It also has a bit of resistance that requires creators to take extra steps to set up, and just like the average donor, every click you place between the content and the checkout is a coin-toss statistic when it comes to failed conversions.

If Patreon released a tip button that functioned like Ko-Fi, I feel this would do a lot of good… Wouldn’t be good for Ko-Fi though. :sweat_smile:

2 Likes

Yup I think the tip button would be a wonderful idea. I’ve seen lot pf patrons staying just a month or less, some might do that as a one time tipping thing, I guess.

3 Likes

I completely agree, and made a topic about it recently ([Feature Request] Once-off payments?). To me it would be more for existing patrons who want to commission extra writing on top of their current monthly payment.

3 Likes

I’d love to see this happening too! I’ve got some goals in my patreon to set my schedule for the next month (if the goal of the previous month is reached, the next month release will double etc).
Because of this, sometimes I have some followers who would like to just pay once just so I can release more.

3 Likes

I know I have supporters who cannot support monthly but would chip in a payment “now and then” if there was an easy to use “tip jar” option on my page. Still loving this idea.

4 Likes