What are the biggest issues you face with rewards?

Hey creators!

As we focus on making rewards and reward distribution easy for you, I’d love to know what the top one or two problems surrounding rewards have been for you.

Is it deciding what rewards to offer? Time spent creating rewards? Distributing rewards? Something else?

Your feedback is instrumental to us as we work on making Patreon the best place for you to share your work with your fans, so feel free to get as vague or specific as you’d like here!

Time to fulfil rewards is definitely a concern. I am interested in some creative ways to thank Patrons without taking time from creating.
Forgive me if the following has already been addressed, I would love to see accrual totals for a patron while under a specific reward tier. I allow patrons to use Patreon as a payment plan towards an original painting. Some patrons start at a lower tier for a different reward, then upgrade to the layaway tier. I would love to be able to see how much money they have paid into a specific reward tier so that I can know how much they have accrued towards their original painting reward.

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Deciding what to offer is always a delicate exercise. You want to work out something attractive to potential patrons, that scales up with the tiers in a way that feels adequately proportional, but at the same time it shouldn’t take up too much time or too much of your patreon earnings, and should reinforce the “in it to support an artist long-term not to pre-order stuff” culture. AND because we’re all different, it’s not possible to suggest a standard formula, every one of us creators has to figure out what works best for what they create and the way they work.
But maybe having a bunch of good ideas grouped in one place would be a lot easier for new creators to get inspiration. Or maybe tentative reward templates, fully modifiable, but so a newbie can have something to work with. It’s often simpler to modify something existing, than to start from scratch in an empty box.
A little guide with the above and also practices that are not recommended (eg. physical rewards at low tiers) would be both fun and a helpful read to return to, especially if it addresses the difference between different types of creator (eg youtube creators vs fine artists – there is no reward model that can work equally for both these types).

What makes it most difficult to decide on rewards is, I think, not being able to guess what makes people tick. I never have ANY idea what will excite my followers (or earn new ones) and am constantly surprised at what takes off and what doesn’t. Maybe a brief but site-wide survey of patrons to give us a clue would be helpful? Someting that would give results like “Patrons of the painting category are most interested in the following rewards: x% over-the-shoulder post, y% prints of artwork, z% just want to support the artist”… That would indicate where to focus our efforts and what not to bother with.

Currently I am revising my rewards and adding one-off “patron milestones” (so the lower tiers have something to look forward to and an incentive to stick around as long as possible), and my challenge is to balance these with the monthly ones, but I’ve nearly worked it out. I brought up some issues related with this in another thread, I’ll post the link instead of repeating it: The new reward editor, not flexible enough?

I second that, I offer credit as part of my rewards, and I have to do it manually. It gets tricky when 1. They change tier or 2. They spend the credit and that needs to be counted again from zero. I can manage at the moment, having few patrons, but it would be very complicated in the long run.

We definitely face the issues of trying to figure out what to offer for rewards. As the other creators have mentioned, it’s challenging to figure out what patrons will value that won’t cost much time or be difficult to fulfill, as we are always crunched for time. As was also mentioned, it can also be hard to know just what the patrons will actually value.

I like delivering some rewards via non-monetized patrons-only posts (rather than private messages). I would like a way to send content to individual tiers via posting, without the top-tier patrons getting an extra email for every tier below them.

(My current non-ideal solution is to link to tier-visible masterposts that I continually update, and then when I make a non-monetized patrons-only post I provide a link to each tier’s masterpost.)

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The biggest issue I face with rewards, is that I don’t wish to offer one, and it’s very awkward that my Patreons have to choose that they are “forfeiting a reward” (I forgot the exact wording).

I agree! In order to get patrons to start with, I’ve allowed clients to pay me for commissions by paying through Patreon. And seeing how much each Patreon has given is really helpful in this regard!

I agree with greg.ross:

“We definitely face the issues of trying to figure out what to offer for rewards. As the other creators have mentioned, it’s challenging to figure out what patrons will value that won’t cost much time or be difficult to fulfill, as we are always crunched for time. As was also mentioned, it can also be hard to know just what the patrons will actually value.”

I struggle to figure out what to offer as rewards. My work is very varied, and knowing what would be beneficial or valuable to everyone is very tricky. I don’t want to send a little beach artwork to someone who’d rather prefer a digital art postcard…

That said, the time to produce and then distribute the rewards can easily eat into my ‘real’ artmaking time - counter-productive since I want my Patreon income to give me MORE time to do the type of art that aren’t so tangible - e.g. land art, installation art and performance art.

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I just wanted to add: I have just tried to add a new reward tier, for the first time since I signed up (which was before the new rewards editor), and so it’s only now that I discovered the suggestions that show up when you do that. That’s really helpful! But how many people know this help is available until they are actually creating a tier? I think that if I was a newbie, I would take a long time to work out the rewards separately, and type them up somewhere else, before getting into the rewards editor itself, so I wouldn’t discover this feature until too late.

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The things I make are physical, and it would be wonderful to have better options geared toward “per-thing” physical rewards. Shipping seems to be the real hangup. Thanks for asking!

One of the major problems we have is the problematic email system. Myself and surely others have been complaining about it for a long time, and remain optimistic that it will be fixed soon.

Rewards will be easier to manage when Patreon has a reasonably solid quality internal messaging system. For us specifically, one major problem is having no messaging history. We have no idea what we have said to our patrons more than a few months ago.

I don’t mean to be harsh but it is really baffling and frustrating that this has been a problem for so long.


Yes, this is crucial.

In my case, Patreon serves as a paid gate to photography content presented on my creator page. I offer a range of reward levels, but I would love the ability to grant specific patrons a “free pass” (unpaid access to a paid level of my choice, for a given time period–let’s say 30 days).

This would allow me to keep my premium content non-public, while offering an easy way for VIP audience members (e.g. a PR enquiry, a gallery owner, a relative) to see my full content without entering payment information or making an ongoing committment.

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Maybe this is the wrong space, but one issue I would like to resolve is everyone on all tiers getting all posts I send to a ‘lower’ tier…

I would like the option just to send a post to one tier…

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I certainly spend more time working on rewards than anything else, but that’s not something Patreon can help with. What Patreon can help with MOST is making them easier to deliver.

I’ve asked since I joined Patreon (over 3 years ago) for download code delivery. I’ve gotten all sorts of answers on where we’re at with that. Come on, though… Where is it?

I’d also like to voice my support of the “credit” idea like @joumana mentioned. I was considering Subbable before Patreon but didn’t join because of the vetting+constant content process, but now that Patreon has absorbed Subbable this feature no longer exists anywhere.

Currently the issue I have is with the rewards system. As far as I’m aware there’s no way to rearrange the rewards beyond how you’ve first typed them up.