The Internet has changed the way we do a lot of things, and there are many platforms available for crowdsourcing—that is, raising money through small payments or donations by a large number of people. These have been particularly useful not only to artists, who they are often created to serve, but also to nonprofit organizations. Many of these, like thee famous Kickstarter or Indiegogo, are best used for single projects such as publishing a book or renovating a community garden.
But what if you have an ongoing project in mind, or need a way to generate regular donations to support your organization’s mission? It might be worth considering Patreon as a possible source. Initially launched to help support artists on the internet, Patreon allows people to be patrons in the classical sense, paying an amount of money each month to help somebody realize their projects. Generally, people pay a set amount each month or per item, and get access to a variety of rewards for doing so.
So far the site doesn’t seem to have been used much to support nonprofits’ missions, but the opportunity is certainly there. There are countless blog posts and articles about how to successfully run and maintain a Patreon campaign, and there’s too much to go into here. While many of those pieces would be helpful in figuring out if Patreon could be a valuable fundraising tool for your organization, keep in mind that they are generally written from the point of view of people funding themselves, like artists and musicians.
For a nonprofit, figuring out how to make Patreon work might be difficult, and it will certainly take some thought, it’s not something to just jump into feet first. But it is a platform which allows creators to not only fund their work, but allows them access to some of their most loyal fans, and that kind of personal involvement can be a big draw for people looking for causes to support.