Losing patrons due to COVID-19? Let's brainstorm ideas on how to keep 'em!

Thankfully, the COVID-19 has NOT made my patron numbers go down.

I was, however, in conversation with another Patreon creator and she was lamenting that she lost 20 patrons in 3-days which is abnormal. Although I’m not losing patrons, I felt for her.

So, I’ve been looking at ways in which I can be of service to my patrons during this tough time. Like, over and above what I usually do without burning myself out or acting like I’m some superhuman. I thought about stopping pledges for one month as a goodwill gesture. Again, I’m thinking about it.

  • Is your community in decline? If yes, are you freaking out? If not, what are you doing to stay calm?
  • Are you naming the elephant in the room (posting about COVID-19 to your patrons), or are you avoiding the topic so your patrons don’t panic?
  • Are you doing anything special for your patrons, or is it business as usual in your community?

Please share what you’re doing so we can support each other as creators during this most difficult and strange time.

And please - NO "shift your state," “raise your vibration,” or “work on your mindset” platitudes. Let’s spend our time in this thread helping each other with solutions, rather than dismissing our worries with empty platitudes and false positivity.

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I haven’t lost any patrons due to COVID-19 I believe, I’m still getting new patrons daily. I talk about Corona with my patrons, sharing concerns and wishing them well. I just hope everyone stays safe.
Since a lot of people need to stay indoors, they often got quite some time on their hands. I share art tutorials, so that’s a great way to keep your mind off stuff I guess. For some people this is the perfect time to learn.
I think patrons (and people in general of course) like a personal approach, especially in a crisis situation like this. I’m just there to listen to everyone and be a friend.
Perhaps you could share with them how COVID-19 is affecting your life and work.

Good luck everyone! And stay safe.

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I know a couple folks who’s jobs and income are up in the air right now and I have since lost a patron, citing
financial situation changes. I suspect it is likely Covid19 related and I expect to get others who will have to temporarily leave while things are a bit chaotic. (This is one time I would have loved to have the “gift” option so I could gift those affected,
a month of patronage at my base tier so they can still get content.)

My approach is to be compassionate and understanding. My creations are a LUXURY and not everyone will be able to afford it right now. It stinks for my income, for sure. I plan to have some offers and sales soon. “Care packages” or some such idea for the art
connoisseur stuck at home.

I am also organizing an online convention for vendors/creators to use to help drive traffic to their shops/commissions/patreons/etc during this time. If this interests you, please check out
https://CozyConOnline.com
and/or share it around! Vendor and Panel submissions are open. We’re running it like a hub. Vendors and Panelists will host their offerings wherever they wish, and we will link and advertise for them all.

Best wishes to everyone.

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Two days ago, I put together an email for subscribers, with my best, no supplies required, suggestion for making art while on lockdown, with links to article about that art form on my sites. That email is here.

The result: an uptick in traffic to the sites I’ve linked, which means an increase in ad revenue from those sites.

And two new patrons so far.

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I had the bad/good? luck to have a special offer running during this mess. (It ends the 26th which is when I’ll drop the names into the credits)

I also haven’t lost anyone, in fact, I’ve gained a Patron, I think via the special offer, but I’m not sure! :laughing:

Anyway, one of the things I’ve started doing is promoting what I already have available for free to folks who are now stuck at home/in quarantine (because Crafting is becoming huge for folks who are stuck at home).

And while my pattern sales have plummeted, I’ve gotten more eyes on my free stuff (Twitch, my free patterns, Youtube tutorials, etc). So I’m hoping that at least that will keep me ‘top of mind’ when folks start to have money again. And there’s some (not a lot but every little bit helps, right?) ad and subscriber income from Twitch (my Youtube channel is too small to be monetized at the moment), so that’s been helping while still being free to the end user (does that make sense?)

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@ArtwithFlo @Temrin @lisavollrath @SarahDawn thx for chiming in. I’m already feeling VERY encouraged by your experience. My creativity is being activated reading your words.

Keep 'em coming! Any other creators want to share how they’re managing their communities during this strange time?

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I’m tiny creator (with 12 patrons) and have lost two patrons which is big to me, but idk if it’s connected to COVID-19. It were fairly long-term patrons and I’ve noticed they dropped out with every other creator they were supporting before too.

I dropped them a message thanking for previous support and letting know that if they miss posts with March rewards, I’ll gladly just send it to them directly. That’s pretty much it.

I’m just trying to be understanding and it looks like they hit hard times (hence dropping with every other creator) and last thing I’d want is that people who can’t currently support a creator do so anyway while harming their own financial well-being.

Hope they are all right.

I don’t have any great venues of bringing traffic to my Patreon to advise others what to do to make it up for loss, through.

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I don’t know if it’s going to retain or gain any patrons, but I’ve put an entire book online as a PDF. I thought it would be nice to give people something to read, since we’re all stuck indoors. I’d love to get some patronage or new readers out of it; if I don’t I’m not fussed.

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One idea for the team at Patreon @mindy would be to lower or eliminate Patreon’s fees for lower tiers. I would like to extend my benefits that are available at tier $5 to a lower tier, say, $2 / mo temporarily so they can still be patrons but not lose access to the content.
Thoughts?

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Hi everyone,

I just wanted to pop in to share a resource that we’ve been working on - tomorrow we’re launching some new workshops to help support you all during this time. If you’ve had live shows cancelled and need to move things online. Patreon creators Megan Slankard and The Accidentals will be joining us to talk about how to host a great live stream event, and my hope is that we can all continue to brainstorm some creative solutions. Here’s the link to workshops, they’re open to the public if you’d like to share them with your communities (probably don’t post on social media if you have a huge following, but if you have creator friends or an email newsletter, those could be good spots to share.)

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I lost all my patrons within days, and not able to afford any of my living expenses or music-related expenses, such as my website upkeep/hosting fees, merchandise store fees, etc., so I’ve been kinda freaked out lately. Not sure what else to do. I’m brainstorming a few ideas, but since all my tour dates and festival dates are cancelled, I am scared as hell about not having any income. I’ve already applied for the What the Fund grant and haven’t heard back yet, so fingers crossed.

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Hi, Leesa,

This is a great thread and I’m happy to share. I’ve lost about 4 or 5 Patrons who said their “financial situation changed” in the exit survey, but I expected that was going to happen. So far, the loss isn’t any greater than what I usually see each month, so I’m not concerned there is going to be a mass exodus. New Patrons are still joining as well. Here’s how I’m responding:

I wrote a long message that I posted for Patrons-only. First, I asked how everyone was doing and then acknowledged the virus and it’s impact around the world. I try to keep my Patreon posts apolitical, but this is worth making an exception. In the past, I have lost Patrons who disagree with my views, so I anticipated the possibility of losing a few folks just because there are people out there who believe the virus is a hoax, while others feel it’s being blown out of proportion. My concern is that the less-populated places are yet to be hit hard like here in Seattle, so I wanted to express the degree to which I am reacting, but was careful not to worry people.

Second, I encouraged everyone in the community to reach out to each other for support. I encouraged them to share their feelings as well as their artwork on the Patreon Community tab and my Discord. I let them know that I am here to help in any way I can as an artist.

Third, I gave an update on my business and reassured Patrons that I am not shutting down and I will still be posting content on my regular schedule, but I may focus a bit on creating content for non-Patrons as a contribution to those who are stuck at home.

I ended with a personal update sharing how the virus has impacted me at home. I let them know how I have been reacting, not only as a business owner, but as a human being. I also acknowledged the financial impact being felt across the world and encouraged Patrons who need to save money to cancel their pledges. I let them know that they will be welcome back any time.

I also made sure to let Patrons who are in a good financial situation know that their support is greatly appreciated, especially now. I made sure to communicate that Patreon and product sales make up the majority of my income and that I do rely on their support. Being humble goes a long way and I think it’s important for bigger creators to acknowledge that they are vulnerable too. Coming off as out-of-touch with reality because you make all of your money online is not going to go over well with folks who just had to file for unemployment. But at the same time, offer hope for the future and remind Patrons of the world we can look forward to: A better world than we had before this virus.

I don’t know about making 1 month free on Patreon as you suggested, because I think the majority of my Patrons want to stick around and will want to support me through this. I don’t think people are going to want to involuntarily inconvenience me, even if it is a kind gesture. However, I have been offering free courses and discounts on the products I offer outside of Patreon.

I hope this is helpful!

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@lrhall I would suggest not pausing your Patreon. One of the important benefits patrons receive is feeling that they are needed and that their contributions make a difference. Last summer I was having carpal tunnel difficulties that forced me to really step back and I had a month with zero productivity. I paused my Patreon page because I felt bad that my patrons weren’t getting any content from me, and I lost several (larger $ amount) patrons that month, I think in part because they felt like they weren’t needed. I think it would be better to offer more public or free posts rather than pausing your page.

Like @aaronrutten, I also lost several patrons this month because their financial situation had changed (which is completely understandable). I send a note expressing gratitude when patrons leave that also has my social media handles and an invitation to stay in touch however is best for them, whether that be following the Patreon page or following me on their favorite social media platform.

Right now I’m in the somewhat unusual situation of experiencing massive growth due to COVID-19. When my sister told me on March 13th that her school had suddenly been shut down for 2 weeks, I wanted to do something to help and suggested to my science mom team that we put together a daily educational live stream and try it for one week. At the very least it would be helpful as a transition tool for people who were trying to figure out homeschooling, and at best- We would find a wider audience and it could be a continuing thing throughout the entire school cancellation.

Well, unbeknownst to me, the Saturday that I posted the announcement about our math and science show “QuaranTIME” was also the weekend when 30 states in the U.S. announced school closures. The post was shared more than 100,000 times and I was suddenly inundated with hundreds more emails and messages than I could read.

Things have calmed down a bit since then and the two weeks that we’ve been running the livestream show have been incredibly rewarding and fulfilling - and a lot of work. I’m committed to keeping the livestream and accompanying worksheets free because it’s a service that is needed and I think a lot of our viewers are in a tight spot – but I ran numbers last night and realized that with the increased hours that I’m paying my employees, we’re going to be about $1,800 in the red this month. Right now has got to be the absolute worst time ever to try to fundraise – but I want to keep doing what I’m doing and I want to pay my science mom squad – so today I told our viewers. I laid out the expenses and income of my YouTube channel, did my best to portray our Teespring campaign as a friendly competition between my cohost (Math Dad) and myself, and gave a promotional plug for my Patreon page.

I was apprehensive that it would come off poorly - I am anxious about being perceived as trying to profit from unfortunate circumstances, but the response was really positive - I think people appreciated the transparency and were glad to know that there were a variety of ways they could help.

That’s a longer message than I intended to write, but I guess what I wanted to say is that what I’ve seen in running my live stream show the last two weeks is that people are really hungry for connection - being seen and heard by other people - and for educational content. If you have a page that in any way shape or form could tie into school lessons or activities for families to do, that would be a GREAT thing to offer this next month. And if you feel comfortable livestreaming - that’s a really valuable reward for patrons right now too. Getting online and typing “hi” in a chat and hearing someone say your name and reply back in real time has become an even more needed and deeply emotional connection than it had been before.

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@October_Evans :sob:

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This thread has been so inspirational to me. It’s kept me in creative mode - thank you!

I agree with @ScienceMom @aaronrutten I will not be pausing my pledges. It was an idea I was considering, but wasn’t married to. My patrons are here to support me financially and emotionally, and I believe that pausing my pledges, even for a month, will actually be confusing for those who proudly send me money each month.

Instead, I’m going to do what I do best - host a live reflective writing session through Instagram each morning at the time I usually write (5:30am Eastern). For those who can’t join me live, they can use the replay before it disappears. I’m going to start on April 2nd and go for 10-days (excluding weekends), then see how it goes from there. I’ve hosted 10-day reflective writing session through my community on Patreon, but NEVER live and never outside Patreon. So, this will be an interesting experience for me.

To continue to create value for my patrons, I’m offering weekly small group gatherings over Zoom. These will be lead by my certificated facilitators. Their contracts ended on Feb 1st, but some were eager to do something, anything, to be of service during these uncertain times. So, I put out a call to my facilitators for help, and four stepped up to lead the small groups. I’ll be paying them for their time. Happily. So, I’m gonna invite those who do the live sessions with me thru Instagram to become a patron so they can have access to the small groups. For that reason (the paying of my facilitators), I need the pledges to keep coming in as I don’t qualify for the government stimulus package offered in Canada because I still have income (thank you Patreon).

So, I’ll report back to let you know how it goes. The 10th day ends on April 15th.

And @October_Evans - thank you for sharing your fears. Such a vulnerable post and I’m glad that you felt safe enough to share here. I’m so, so sorry that you lost all your patrons. I trust that the actions you’ve taken will give you a favourable result in the coming days to help lessen your anxiety.

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Something fishy about this. I looked you up in a google search and there are lots of posts that lead me to believe that you aren’t being truthful here. I’m not here to pick on anyone, but please don’t be using this pandemic to scam people into joining your Patreon.

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@ScienceMom It’s so great to see educators like yourself stepping up to fill the void of online resources for students. I’m glad your live streams are super successful! We really need science education at a time like this when anti-science rhetoric and misinformation are exasperating the effects of the pandemic.

I hope your funding balances out so that you and your team are able to keep things running smoothly. I agree that it’s a little tricky asking for money at a time like this, but there are lots of people who are willing and able to support a good cause. Keep up the great work and thank you for everything you are doing to help in this time of crisis!

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Hey,

I did lose a few patrons the past month and my guess is it’s gonna happen by the end of the month too.

My way to keep them, as a visual artist, cartoonist, is to post every single day and share more of my craft, how my images come to life. I pushed hard for getting a better bond with the patrons active in my (little) community.
Honestly I do understand that some patrons can’t stay at this point, I feel so grateful that they did support me at some point. My goal here is more like thanking the ones who are staying, being all the more there for them are they are here for me.
I’m not freaking out that much, I’m drawing even more & sharing even more. That helps.

And thanks for the topic, Irhall, it’s a great idea!

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I saw a little stagnation last month but this month is growing well. I am shocked and relieved. I have been carrying on as normal here. Fortunately I was already working from home doing YouTube painting livestreams so my productivity has not suffered from the COVID shelter at home mandates. I really feel for the musicians and such who rely on concerts for a lot of their income.

As for ideas, I would say early on I posted and talked in my videos often about how we can use this time to support eachother emotionally. Many of my patrons know eachother because I have facebook groups and livestreams where they have been able to form online friendships around the world. Since this is such a global phenomenon it has been a great time to emphasize fellowship and a community spirit of lifting eachother up. I have gotten great feedback from people saying our videos are helping them get through it and it really means a lot to us. We are fortunate to have already been situated in a way that we could help. I think people are looking for connections so if you can do livestreams on instagram and youtube and facebook at least weekly if not more (we do 3 a week) it can really help your patrons and fans get to know you and be more invested in what you are doing.

Have a vision for what you are offering. Why are you creating and are you sharing that vision in your posts? We are all about creating art together on our channel and making it fun and easy to learn in an encouraging atmosphere. I make sure to emphasize that in every video and a lot of my posts. Plus we interact with our live audiences and make them feel like they are part of our vision. It is all about finding the need of that person and filling it. We have been successful in part I think because there are a lot of lonely, isolated people right now looking for a place to fit in. Be welcoming and make it easy for them to feel heard and included.

And as for practical things to offer, I see a lot of Patreon channels especially small ones who have waaaaay too many levels. Pick a handful and make them really special and really unique. We offer access to bonus videos and reference materials and also a special Facebook group. Especially since we are fostering that community atmosphere a lot of patrons are there just because they do not want to miss out on what is happening with the rest of the community I think. So think of creative things you can do in addition to the free stuff you already offer to make those close knit group of fans want to interact with you in an even more exclusive and intimate setting. I think FOMO psychology has a lot to do with it. Also, I am offering much more in depth things through Patreon that they can not get anywhere else so there is a lot of value in what they are getting.

Hope some of that rambling helps! :slight_smile:

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Thanks for chiming in @CLX @angelafineart

An update on the 10-day reflective writing sessions I did live on Instagram at 5:30am Eastern, which ended on April 15. I gained 10 new patrons, almost one a day for each day I did the live sessions. I had a small number join me live (averaged around 15 viewers per day), and the replay stayed up for 24-hours, so that brought in a few more viewers.

Each live was 30-minutes and here’s the agenda I followed:

  • Start to 1min - I introduced who I am just in case someone was new to me and my work
  • 1min to 3mins - I gave a summary as to what inspired the guided prompt that we were going to work through
  • 3mins to 4mins - I thanked my patron for financially backing the live session I was hosting free on Instagram. I then gave a little more info about what Patreon is and why I’m thankful for the hundreds of patrons for granting me an independent version of a stimulus cheque each month. I then shared that towards the end, I’ll share more info on how you can become a patron.
  • 4mins to 5mins - I presented the guided prompt, then gave some tips on how to write reflectively
  • 5mins to 20mins - I turned on the timer and calming music, and we wrote. Viewers no longer saw me, but they saw my pen moving across the screen as I wrote with them.
  • 20mins to 30mins - I asked them to summarize using one word what came up for them. Then, I shared the 2 ways to support my work - become a patron (and I share the URL), or post your experience on your Instagram profile using the hashtag #ReflectWithLeesa.

Given how people have responded, I’m going to do more LIVE reflective writing sessions. Although I’ve used Instagram as my only social media tool since 2018, it hasn’t done well during the covid-19 era. It’s deprioritizing videos and I think it’s prioritizing celebrity accounts at the expense of those of us with smaller platforms. I say this due to the sudden drop in engagement on my IGTVs - and I’m not doing anything different. I’m looking towards using YouTube & Facebook for the next goround in order to increase my reach.

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