Raffle Replacement

#2) If people voluntarily leave your patreon, this becomes an issue. Are you morally/legally allowed to include their email in that list after they have specifically decided to stop pledging to you? When this happens, they “lost their chance” if you don’t get through the list fast enough, which still seems like breaking the rule if this happens. (We don’t know all the full reasons someone might leave and if they leave because of something they dislike and don’t want to be contacted anymore, hence the voluntary leaving, you may be breaching privacy by having them on your list still. I doubt anyone who has left because of financial reasons will say no to free stuff but it’s still a matter of privacy.)

#3) First come first served extra’s are a “chance” and has been previously advised against in this thread by staff. (this was where the #4 suggestion came from, a few responses up.)

#2) I would feel no morale or legal obligation to include their email if they desert.
#3) Interesting. That would be unfortunate.

I wonder what staff would suggest. Staff wants us to be successful and so many creators must end up with extras they could use to better serve their Patreons. The pledge tier suggestion does not actually help with the desire to use these extras (i.e. your by products) as incentive to get new patrons or convince patrons to up their pledge due to you being a cool creator. In fact, its the opposite, it limits this and then locks out interested potential patrons.

I hope staff can provide another suggestion! :smiley:

#2) Then, as stated above in the thread, “A chance” at something isn’t allowed. So if a person isn’t guaranteed something, then that is a “chance” which is what they have advised against.

#3) It is.

Staff have made suggestions above above in the thread. I’m not sure we will get much more from them on this regard.
Raffle Replacement and Raffle Replacement are posts from a staff member.

I agree, it is limiting that extra’s cannot be offered. Creating extra tiers for each and every offer will likely not sell because this requires current patrons to remove themselves from their tiers they -want-, to get it and there is no guarantee they will be able to go back to those tiers once that extra offer is done. My patreon project has now become obsolete and boring if I can’t give my patrons the 2-5 day early access to offers and content.

I guess my alternative would be to add an upgrade option to specific tiers stating if they pledge X amount more, then they will get something extra? But that’s going to be a lot of editing and confusion if tiers are changing so often.

I wonder if staff would comment on #2. Is that a chance? If you are a patron, you are on a list to get a reward. If you are not a patron, you are no longer on a list to get a reward. Would be nice to have clarity, since they’ve nixed every other possible option :smiley:

My Patreon is definitely getting more boring by the post!

Here’s my question: If it’s a game of skill, it’s not a game of chance - right?

So instead of entering Patrons in a random drawing or making the reward first come first served, you could pose a question to your Patrons and select the best answers. Winners get the reward.

Yes, Patrons are paying for the chance to win – but it’s no different from paying to enter a beauty pageant or sports competition or… I don’t know, writing contest. None of which are considered gambling.

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I believe we also have

  1. Have a giveaway where one is not required to be a patron to win.

I think the “no purchase necessary” is how a lot of giveaways get past the gambling laws. Unfortunately, this means there is no real incentive to become a patron or for creators to have a giveaway as most of us are wanting to do these as an occasional bonus goodie on top of the rewards for which they are already pledging, not AS the pledge reward.

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I would like to know this as well. If i have to give a skill testing question or something then okay fine.

I’ll have to look into the game of skill but it seems like the best work arounds would be more along the following:

  • Just give everyone an extra
  • Make a limited time benefit (sign up within this time window to get this benefit) - this may actually be the most motivating
  • Create a reward tier with a limited count
  • (From our internal T&S team): Opening up the giveaway to all of their followers/subscribers. For example, a creator used the giveaway on their channel to advertise into “if you want even more special perks, check out my Patreon page” but of course, no actual giveaways on Patreon afterwards.

I’m keeping an eye on this, and will keep looping in T&S, but that may slow down response time!

@carla - we really appreciate the time and the help. We’ve got time :wink: We’re just hoping for better ways to do this.

For your second option, it seems like a limited number benefit would also work? I could see saying, “the next 2 new patrons will get a XYZ”.

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It is good to know that limited time join before x date kinds of things are allowed! That is very good news as I had plans to do something like that.

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It’s good to have this all cleared up. Thank you, Carla. Unfortunately, it obliterates all of my higher level goals, which were to randomize a free commission to patrons when I hit certain milestones. I thought if I could get around this by adding followers into the randomization then no one would be “purchasing a chance” as it would be open to all.

I’m going to have to seriously rethink all of my upper level goals as I cannot just give everyone an extra. If I were doing a free artwork for every one dollar patron when I got to my $200 goal, that would devalue my art and take up all of my time. I did a limited time, limited count reward tier this month on both Patreon accounts with no takers. I’ve done several giveaway promos to followers outside of Patreon in an effort to get them in, but if the prize isn’t in Patreon they’re not following the links, and I was really wanting to use it to reward current patrons. I certainly don’t want to say go to this other social media site for the giveaway. My goal isn’t to get my patrons to think all the fun stuff is outside of my Patreon. I want to keep them in. Back to the drawing board for me. I’ll brainstorm with my patrons to see what other high level goals they may like instead. :slightly_smiling_face:

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My sympathies! What if you gave patrons extras when they hit milestones of their own, i.e a total lifetime support of $200 (or more, it’s for you to see what would make sense for you). I realize that’s not to do with your own patreon goals anymore, but it’s still an incentive for patrons – not random, but one-off, and not so easy to reach as to take all your time.


Thanks all, trying to answer questions:

  1. Yes, @TreseBrothers - I think you could do “the next 2 new patrons will get XYZ”
  2. @Lochy - hmm, let’s think about this. I absolutely don’t think it’s worth devaluing your art! I do think there’s an opportunity for something that’s more about cumulative milestones would be great.
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Hey all! I’m Patreon’s Head of Legal and can provide some additional insight here. Raffles/Giveaways are one of my favorite issues to discuss so happy to followup with any other questions you all have.

Before jumping into the substantive stuff:

  1. I am not an expert in lotteries, sweepstakes or contest law. This is a thing attorney’s literally build an entire career out of so I’m sure my limited knowledge is lacking.
  2. This is not legal advice and I am not your attorney. I can only provide general answers about the law and how Patreon treats this issue.

Alright, let’s start with an overview of the subject matter. There are three types of giveaways: lotteries, sweepstakes and contests. The classification depends on two main factors:

  1. Did everyone have to pay to enter?
  2. Was the winner chosen through pure chance?

If both are true then this is a lottery and is most likely illegal gambling. Pretty much every country and in the US every state has laws against gambling or heavily regulating it.

If only the second is true then you have a sweepstakes. Some entrants might have paid to enter, but it wasn’t required. This is where you might see the phrase “No Purchase Necessary.” A famous example of this is McDonalds Monopoly. As an alternative to paying for entry it often requires mailing in an entry. Many sweepstakes on the internet might require just signing up to an email list or following a twitter account. These are regulated in most places, but are generally legal.

If only the first is true then you have a contest where entrants have to pay (either through money or some sort of effort), but the winner is chosen through skill. A common example might be an essay writing contest. These are also regulated in most places, but are generally legal.

So what can you do on Patreon?
Anything that looks like a lottery is not allowed. This is both for Patreon’s protection and your own. Private lotteries are illegal pretty much everywhere and creators are just as likely to be arrested as Patreon is to get in trouble for this, but we would prefer neither happens.

Sweepstakes and contests are allowed, but we do not help administrate them in any way and cannot guarantee they are legal. There are lots of laws about this so please consider looking into it before doing something like this. Also if it’s illegal where you are, where a patron is, or you do it in a way that is illegal, then we would have to take action to remove it if we are given notice of any of these things.

Some more clear cut practices with lower (likely non-existant) legal risk are:

  • First come first serve.
  • Limited size reward tiers.
  • Working down a list of all patrons at a reward level to give out special rewards, even if that reward is optional, e.g. you can ask if the patron wants it before you send it, and skip to the next patron if they don’t.

Happy to keep the discussion going here and answer questions, although with the understanding that I can’t provide specific answers on whether something is legal or not.


I am a little confused now. You say first come first served is okay. I assume this is for people joining tiers but is first come first served offers to patrons okay under this then?

Ex: offering freebies/first dibs on commission slots not included in their tiers/etc. They technically paid to get those offers (like a magazine membership. Magazines have ads and offers inside It that are often different in every issue. Sometimes special subscriber only things.) Would I need to have them answer a skill testing questions for first come first served in this way if I didn’t want it to specifically be a more complicated contest? Or?

There have been some conflicting posts so far, so I’m just trying to be clear about this and make sure I understand.

@collin - thank you for the informative answers and for being so helpful. Very glad that you eventually found our thread here, we needed this kind of specifics!

Thank you very much for the list of 3 viable options. It’s great to see those confirmed as clear cut low risk options.

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I am trying to track down Colin to get some answers - he’s on vacation for the holiday weekend, but as soon as I hear something, or he sees this, we can get an answer.

Much appreciated! Thanks Carla. :slight_smile:

For the vast majority of first come first served offers there will be no extra steps required by Patreon.

So in your example if you wanted to offer first dibs on a commission slot or other freebies to your patrons, that would be allowed by Patreon.

The only situation that I can imagine having a problem with is if it looks like a way to try and avoid the raffle rules. For example if you had a $1000 tier, and the only reward for that tier was that every month you gave out a prize on a first come first served basis that was worth thousands of dollars. That would be very suspicious and likely a violation of the spirit of our rules.


This is wonderful to hear! Thank you!