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Patreon Advice

Howdy! I ran into a bit of a pickle on my Patreon, and now I'm seeking advice on how to handle it now and in the future. I have it to where if my overall pledges reach $125 that I will upgrade the raffle amongst my subscribers to a two character colored sketch from a one character sketch. Recently I surpassed that pledge amount and hit $160 publicly.

Unfortunately, after Patreon sent out payment requests due to declined payments I ended up with far less than what is listed publicly on my account, and (quite a bit) below the $125 pledge level.

The question is: Should I continue as promised with the upgraded sketch? I don't feel that disclosing to my Patrons that there were declined payments is right. Even though it would be impossible to tell who was declined and who wasn't, the fact of the matter is that it seems like personal information to be posting on my Patreon's activity feed. I don't want to embarrass subscribers offhandedly.

However the time difference between the sketch levels is significant in terms of time, and that's time that I've essentially not been paid for.

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( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:25 pm (UTC)
I was thinking about making a patreon and this is something I am worried about if I do. Can you see who had declined payments/lowered pledges?
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:28 pm (UTC)
Yes, Patreon has a patron manager page that lists all of your patrons, their pledge amounts, and their max monthly pledges. When the 1st of the month comes around the manager page will list whose payment was successfully charged and who was declined. However, declined pledges still count on your profile's "Pledged amount" count and towards your "goals".
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:36 pm (UTC)
Ahh ok thanks for clearing that up!

I was going to say (since the amount is public) to still continue as promised with the upgraded sketch. However, Those who backed out/had declined payments could possibly not have a chance in this raffle to make it fair for artist/other members.
Feb. 3rd, 2015 03:28 am (UTC)
So you can see who has declined and who hasnt?

I would continue with the upgraded image, but not allow those who did not pay to be counted toward the entries.

Or, publicly post that the total you received was lower, and not name names and just do the single.
Feb. 3rd, 2015 03:47 am (UTC)
Yeah the first suggestion seems like the best! I spoke to the person, and it was an accident. It's no harm no foul, and I removed them, but I'll continue with the upgraded image anyway to maintain good customer service to the current subscribers.
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:27 pm (UTC)
I would just announced that a lot of people declined there payments so you did not reach the goal to upgrade the raffle. People who do this SHOULD be embarrassed, its not right. You should say if they don't want to pay for a month they should unsubscribe until they can.

Edited at 2015-02-02 07:32 pm (UTC)
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:30 pm (UTC)
you actually can tell who was declined. go here->

click the blue bold text on any given post/reward thingie

it'll list all your patrons, plus if their payment was declined, is still pending, or went through. declined posts are red text, so they stand out.

you can also see if anyone capped their pledge (saying theyd give X but instead giving less) by mousing over the $ amount of their pledge.

personally if someone's stuff got declined i tend to send them a note to see if they're aware, cause sometiems the pledge goes through a day or two later.

if they don't respond and they're continually declining payment, i delete their pledge.

in the meantime though, i'd say act as though you were getting what it says you're getting. at least until you hear whats up from the declined folks!
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:32 pm (UTC)
I've been using the Patron manager to keep track of who was declined. Yeah, I did end up contacting them and they got back to me moments after posting this. It was a mistake on their part, but that still doesn't answer how to handle the whole campaign's rewards.
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:39 pm (UTC)
well if it was a mistake and you're gonna get paid for it (patreon keeps trying their account til it succeeds) then just...proceed like you hit the goal. cause you did. there was just a slight hiccup during the charging period.
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:43 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure if they'll be able to follow through, but for this round I'll go ahead and do the upgraded sketch just to be fair to my other subscribers.

Though I may end up adding in a clause that I won't pull the winner til after payments have gone through. Have you ever deleted pledges? Can they still rejoin? I was thinking of deleting declined pledges upon raffle... or maybe I'm making this too complicated, eep!
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:52 pm (UTC)
yep you can delete pledges, and people can rejoin once you delete them. i've actually done it a few times, because if someone gets declined for several months in a row i don't want patreon to charge them like 90$ when it finally *does* go through.

i think adding a clause is a good idea, and so is holding off rewards til you get paid.
Feb. 2nd, 2015 08:53 pm (UTC)
If I were you, I would just go ahead and do it this month but for the future, add verbiage to the effect of "I will not determine the monthly reward until payments for that month are processed".

You should remove the declined pledgers, though. They can rejoin themselves at a later date, but if they just sit on there continually being declined, they could be hit with months' worth of pledges all at once when they finally do put money in that account and leave with you with a chargeback problem.
Feb. 2nd, 2015 08:57 pm (UTC)
I'm on a monthly basis, so I won't have multiple charges per month. I didn't know Patreon lets their creators get hit by chargebacks, tho! Has that ever happened before?
Feb. 2nd, 2015 09:02 pm (UTC)
What happens is - if someone is declined for three months and their monthly pledge is $20, they get charged $60 all at once when they do put money in the account.

Chargebacks seem like kind of a remote possibility, but worries me anyway thinking about someone who's been having even small payments declined for months suddenly being hit with a larger amount. It seems safer to just remove them and let them sign back up when they do have money again.
Feb. 2nd, 2015 10:01 pm (UTC)
As someone that both runs a Patreon for my webcomics and backs other creators, I have two thoughts on this.

One, as a backer if I saw a creator saying 'Hey I didn't make enough on the back end, I'm not going to honor the front end goal reached,' I'd be a bit offput and likely not continue backing if they did this every few months. Not saying YOU personally would be dishonest, but it's so easy for someone to set goals, then pretend they didn't make enough on the backend to honor them each month when they didn't feel like it.

As a creator the loss of money is a bit hard to deal with, and you shouldn't have to reward people that lower or back out of backing last minute in hopes of still getting rewards.

Something you might consider is just save face and do the art anyway, then keep tabs on who was declined or dropped funding levels, don't include them in the raffles at all and send them a note on why. Second, keep tabs on how much each month you waver on 'missed money', increase you goals to cover a POTENTIAL drop of that range. That way you still get paid, and if no one backs out or drops, you get a little extra.

(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Feb. 2nd, 2015 10:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 2nd, 2015 11:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you! This is fantastic advice. I want to run my Patreon as fairly as possible and to keep as many long-time subscribers going, so I'll definitely be doing the sketch as promised. I understand the concern, especially when I was discussing this with Kayla-la prior to posting. I don't want folks to think that I may be lying, or to put the message out there to passerbys that it's okay to just not honor the pledge.

I still have three more tiers, and definitely will be altering them now to where they're slightly "over estimated" for the amount of work I'm producing. I don't want to touch the tiers that have already been achieved to avoid upsetting current subscribers. They earned their goal; I'm not touching it now that it's been earned!
Feb. 3rd, 2015 08:50 pm (UTC)
I haven't used Patreon, but I've heard a few similar complaints by people about patrons who backed out last minute so they could get their rewards but not have to pay for them. Your situation sounds different, but still similar - it's completely possible that this was just a case of accidental insufficient funds or an expired card, or it could be people who offered a pledge with knowledge that their card would reject the charge.

I would do what another commenter suggested, and only offer the raffle to patrons whose pledge went through, since according to them, there's a way to see who donated what. You can then contact them privately and say something like, "hi, I noticed that your pledge did not go through due to a declined payment, possibly due to an error with your card. If you would like to be included in next month's raffle, you're more than welcome to resubmit your pledge [or however this works with Patreon] . Thanks for being a supporter!" This way it doesn't accuse the patron of being malicious, as it very well could be a mistake. And if they were trying to weasel out of paying while still getting a raffle spot, then it lets them know that you caught on and they're not getting in on the raffle without fulfilling their pledge.

Edited at 2015-02-03 08:50 pm (UTC)
Feb. 3rd, 2015 10:45 pm (UTC)
I only recently hit my first goal ($10/mo) on Patreon... so I haven't had to do my raffle before. However, I did just discover the breakdown of who was successfully charged and who was declined. I've added a bit about how I have to actually receive the amount for the raffle to go ahead. I will also provide a screenshot (with names pixellated for privacy) if anyone has any doubts.
Feb. 4th, 2015 03:56 am (UTC)
Just FYI, raffles are prohobited on Patreon, as a Patreon admin has told me through email.
Feb. 4th, 2015 03:58 am (UTC)
Oh no way.

I thought I read their ToS up and down. What have you decided to do to get around it?

Edit: As in a substitute for the raffle, not a way to circumvent their rule.

Edited at 2015-02-04 03:59 am (UTC)
Feb. 4th, 2015 05:52 am (UTC)
I do random request streams here and there, or I just whisper random patrons and ask if they want a freebie. It's a whole wording thing really.
Feb. 5th, 2015 02:19 pm (UTC)
So, "Donate $1 to enter the raffle, I will pick one winner per month." would get you in trouble, but "I will a random patron to draw a sketch for every month" would be okay?
Feb. 13th, 2015 03:11 pm (UTC)
I would say don't really mention anything that would even sound like a raffle, and just quietly just pick one of your patrons to draw a freebie for.
Feb. 20th, 2015 11:26 am (UTC)
I guess that's possible, but hard to advertise with :/
Feb. 5th, 2015 02:07 pm (UTC)
I think people who care enough to support you will understand; do the upgraded pledge this month, post an explanation and then the one character sketch next month if the same happens?
Feb. 5th, 2015 02:11 pm (UTC)
As a side note, is it possible to ban people from donating on Patreon? And if so, would it be worth making a master post here on A_B with people who seem to be going out of their way to gain access to content without paying for it; not having a balance, subscribing/unscubscribing etc.
Feb. 5th, 2015 02:22 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately there isn't a ban feature on Patreon yet. :c
Feb. 5th, 2015 03:34 pm (UTC)
Dang, guess we'll have to start asking Patreon :/
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )


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