Speaking of decisions, Patreon informed me I've been selected as one of the creators who may switch to their new "Charge Upfront" feature ahead of it being enabled site-wide. I've not decided to do it yet because once a creator switches to it, the change is permanent and does affect all future pledges and increases to existing pledges.
There are some pros and cons to switching over. Right now, when a new person pledges, or an existing Patron increases their pledge, the Patron is not charged until the first of the following month. This means all payments are processed only at the start of the month. Rewards which are shipped, are only shipped shortly after payment is processed.
So while I don't ship any art until the pledged amount is received at the start of the next month, Patrons gain immediate access to "Patron's Only" posts on Patreon. I've heard from creators who offer primarily digital content, this system has resulted in some people pledging, gaining access to the content, downloading it, then ending their pledge before they are charged for a single month's pledge. It's a terrible thing to do to a creator, and I'm thankful I've never personally experienced it.
Charge upfront will stop this way of taking advantage of digital content, here is Patreon's explanation of the feature, "New Patrons will be charged on the day they pledge, giving them access to all content shared with their reward tier. On the 1st of the following month, they will simply return to being charged monthly at the beginning of the month."
The benefit to this system is much more immediate gratification for Patrons. If someone pledges for a magnet and card on the 15th, I'll send it out as soon as the payment has cleared. There's no wait for the next month to receive their first shipment. Of course, if a new person pledges on the 30th of the month, they'll be charged immediately, I'll ship, and then they will be charged for their second month just only a day or two later. I'd of course then ship the next reward, but I do wonder whether a late month Patron would really want two payments and rewards stacked so closely together?
This change, if I chose it will also affect existing Patrons, "If an existing patron increases their pledge, they will be charged the difference between their last pledge value, and the new pledge value. On the 1st of the month (and every 1st of the month thereafter) they will be charged the full amount of their pledge until they cancel or edit their pledge."
This part is where sending rewards out could potentially get difficult. Pledge increases are fantastic! Nothing tells me how much you love what I'm sending you quite so much as increasing your pledge so you can get more! THANK YOU! Thing is, if a Patron increases their pledge after I've shipped that month's reward, I may or may not be able to send a satisfying 2nd package in response to the upgrade.
For example, going from an $8 Card pledge to a $14 Card & Magnet pledge after the Card has already been shipped, would be simple. All I need to do is ship a magnet out after the extra $6 is charged. The result should be both fair and satisfying to the Patron who increased their pledge.
Increasing a pledge from a $19 Zodiac Print to the $25 Art Surprise in the middle of the month is more problematic. Unless the pledge is for higher than $25 (the higher the pledge at this level, the more I can include in the package), the $6 increase will almost have to be a card or magnet. Given the work I normally put into the Art Surprise level, that partial package to fulfill the increase won't be exciting as the full packages are.
To make a long story short, I don't want to undertake a fairly major change which will affect my current and future Patrons without any notice. I have not yet decided to switch over, and I very much welcome your thoughts on the matter. Please post here or message me if you would like to share your thoughts on the proposed pledge system change. Thank you.