A Patron sans Patreon

Every year since the mid ninties, I've given a thousand dollars to some artist or entrepreneur that has touched my life in some way.  I've been a successful software engineer for years, but I've always admired artists and wanted to find a meaningful way to share my bounty and help someone else with their work.

In the past, I've always just written a personal check and that has worked out just fine.  A few years ago, some of the people that I've wanted to grant money to have started using online services to handle the money from people like me.  I hesitated because I just didn't want to sign on to yet another service that wanted to use me a source for marketing data. Some artists missed my grant because they wouldn't do the personal check thing.

I finally gave in and joined indiegogo.com in order to donate to Melisa Hunter and her brilliant production of Adult Wednesday Addams.  It was a "just fine" experience.  IndieGoGo didn't spam with crap or beg for more money.

The following years, I went back to personal checks because the artists were local and it was really easy. 

This year, rather than an artist, I decided to donate to Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield and her YouTube channel, Transport Evolved. Nikki has an extremely impressive presentation style and obviously works really hard to create very impressive well produced videos.

She uses patreon.com to do her funding.  I begrudgingly joined, but immediately ran into friction.  I couldn't find a way to make a one time donation.  I settled on giving one hundred dollars per month with the intent of dropping it when I reached the thousand dollar point.  This wasn't how I really wanted to do it, but that seemed to be the only option. 

Looking through Patreon's web site, I found a great number of projects that I'd like to donate to.  However, this week, they've abruptly changed their fee structure in away that discourages small recurring donations.  Their blog post announcing it was offensive in its cavalier use of an inaccurate bar chart explaining their structure.  I doubt it was intentional deception, but incompetence in arithmetic and communication is just as disturbing.

The new fee structure has donors dropping like flies in DDT.  Giving a dollar to one hundred projects now incurs about a thirty-four percent penalty in fees.  I'm giving a hundred dollars to one project and incurring only about a three percent fee. 

The incentive to spread the money out is gone.  My trust in using Patreon is gone.  I'm going to see out my full donation to Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, but once that's done, I'm done with Patreon.