Patreon will charge your credit card at the start of each month. It will probably take a few days for it to get processed and we'll send you your Patreon rewards shortly after.
2) Does it go into effect immediately? Or does one of the goals need to be met before the effort gets put in to get that rolling?
It will go into effect immediately. You will receive your reward once the donation is received at the start of the month.
3) Is this a trial thing to see if it gathers enough interest so it might not become a real rolling thing?
This will be an ongoing thing.
4) Sooo.. what exactly does becoming a beta tester mean on SHS? Is there a beta server with different account/access stuff out there? Or is it something else?
You will get access to new features before the other players. For now, you will be sent special instructions when a new feature is ready for BETA testing.
(The next new feature will be the ability to buy a hut... and upgrade it up to a fort and even recruit staff that you can equip and send on missions!)
Later on, you will also get early access to the mobile versions when they are ready.