You, Me and Gift Management

But wait a minute, I’m a writer, what do I have anything to do with gift management?? Doesn’t Patreon do that for me? And what exactly is “gift management”?

Patreon has the tools for relationship management and will be your gift processor, but the majority of gift management will fall to you.

I am a professional Gifts Administrator. While I’m not moonlighting as a fledging Flintlock Fantasy Writer or spending too much time on social media, I spend my day processing checks, cash, stock, wires, and matching gifts for non-profits. Understanding where your money comes from, how to process it, and how to acknowledge those gifts can mean the success or failure of a Campaign.

NP_Stock

Basically, my professional life. 

Diversify

While this series focuses on Patreon, I encourage you to diversify your income. Diversifying your income isn’t a new concept, especially for freelancers, but when you’re setting up your financial plan and factor it is also important to set up multiple income donation streams as is reasonably viable for your budget. Patreon may collapse tomorrow and with it your Patrons. Actual fundraising does not relay on one funnel of income alone; successful fundraising is a combination of many asks and providing several ways to support.

Diversifying income is key to retaining and obtaining donors. Some donors may only donate in appreciated stock. Some may refuse to sign a pledge and instead donate through a Donor Advised Fund. Some may be so generous as to gift you brand new writing software to write your next novel, which is called a gift-in-kind. And some may only write a check when you ask them nicely. While it is not likely that many of your donors will give like this, the main takeaway is that there are many ways to give that is mutually beneficial to both the donor and the receiver.

A Patreon page may only capture a small percentage of your actual paying audience. Maybe they don’t like Patreon. Maybe they’d rather give money directly to you or send you an emoji transaction on Venmo. Don’t be constricted by one channel. But understanding where your people are and how they would like to be approached, and how they prefer to pay will help you identify your fundraising strategy. However, managing multiple channels at once is a better strategy after you have collected some data and tried running a campaign first.

 

ACKNOWLEDGE ACKNOWLEDGE ACKNOWLEDGE

When I process a gift I must generate a receipt within twenty-four to forty-eight hours of the gift for tax purposes. A donor acknowledgment letter should also be generated. Patreon will do this for you by confirming a pledge and sending the donor your welcome content.

Too busy creating to thank your donors? Well, you’re dead wrong.

Not only should you thank someone who is supporting you, but building those relationships will help you and your writing career in the long.

Identify the threshold amount where you will go above and beyond to acknowledge a particularly large gift. The rewards section of Patreon will help you manage benefits, however, you must be organized and get them their rewards on time. Timely acknowledgements is crucial, and may even be required by law if you are a non-profit.

TAXES

Many ways to give, alas, means more taxes to manage. Your donors are not giving to a non-profit and will not receive any tax benefits from your gift. If you are not a 501(c) then you are not required to provide a receipt for your donor. Patreon will provide the receipt for your donor.

However, you must follow all of the 1099 rules (if you are in the US) as stated on Patreon. Diversifying your income will mean you will need to manage several sources of income that may have different rules regarding your taxes. The more you diversify the more you have to manage. 

Key Points

At the end of the day, Patreon is going to help manage the operational side of your gifts from your donors.

  1. Actual fundraising relies on accepting multiple sources of income
  2. Acknowledging donors on a timely basis is just as important as your content
  3. Follow all tax laws for all income sources. The more income streams you have the more to manage
  1. Building your fanbase
  2. Build your Database
  3. Building your Patreon Page
  4. Working with Artists
  5. Ongoing Campaigns
  6. You, Me and Gift Management
  7. Launch!
  8. Diversify

Nether Light by Shaun Paul Stevens: Book Review

Nether Light follows Guyen, a young biracial man who is shipwrecked upon Sendal shores. Upon arriving in the city proper, he and his twin brother Yemeylan are thrown into Sendal’s working caste system, where people are given employment based on their Talents. 

This oil-light epic fantasy series feels like walking through the world as Daniel in Frictional Games’ Amnesia: The Dark Descent. This dark world, lit by harsh sodalamps and adorned with the 18th century’s iconic tricorne hats, hosts a decaying magic. Citizens are inoculated with a Concoction at birth to Bind them against a creeping pandemic that causes madness and turns them into creatures (the Unbound) that resemble the Grunts that haunt Daniel so.   

Guyen, who is of Krellan and Sendali descent, struggles to survive in a country where his heritage is looked down upon. Upon getting his Binding tested to receive his Sendali citizenship, it is discovered that he is Purebound: he is naturally resistant to the maddenings. He is shipped off to the Devotions, where he studies to become a Bindcrafter and seek the cure for Yemeylan, whose Binding is weakening and risks losing his citizenship and mind. 

Magic system nerds will surely be intrigued by Faze, the magic Guyen stumbles to learn alongside his other studies. Although Nether Light doesn’t dive too deeply into a hard magic system, it is hinted that there is surely more to come in additional Bindcrafter books. 

Should you pick up this book? 

This book will delight those who love delving into a fantasy world, Nether Light will be sure to satisfy. It is a slow burn novel that takes its time to reveal the true plot, which binds Guyen into politics, fantasy science, and the fate of the Binding. It is a leisurely stroll through the world as told through the eyes of a young foreigner.

Readers who enjoy The Stormlight Archive and who long for additional Flintlock fantasy will enjoy Nether Light. The slow pacing and exploration of Guyen’s daily life early on in the book will deter some readers, however, through Guyen the reader learns of the world and what is at stake. 

Nether Light is a delightful independent book by Shaun Paul Stevens that catapults it above many other independent fantasy books by the virtue of its impressive worldbuilding. You can buy it here from Amazon.


For those who prefer a faster-paced story, but who are interested in the Bindcrafter universe, readers may check out Deliverance at Van Demon’s Keep, which follows a Ranker named Kiprick. Kiprick must rescue miners who are trapped with Unbound, who have infiltrated the mine.

Author interview: Hanna on hot air balloons

Interview!

Speculative stories

For this post, I’m delighted to feature an interview with Hanna Day, who has been of immense help with blimp-related information. Hanna is a social media consultant for non-profits and small businesses. We met on Scriphophile, which is a workshopping site for writers. Hanna is working on an epic fantasy trilogy, the first novel of which is called The Hymns of Creation.

Caroline: Hanna, can you tell us how you got involved in the world of hot air balloons?

Hanna: Hi Caroline! My aunt and uncle are both hot air balloon pilots, and ever since I was a kid I’ve always wanted to ride in their balloon. Things never quite worked out until the past two summers, as it was always the wrong weather or the wrong location or not the right time for a flight. Finally, after years of badgering them, I got to fly!

Caroline: I…

View original post 865 more words

Writers on Patreon: Build Your Database

Repeat after me: your writing is a business.

Your writing is a business.

Feel the need to wash your mouth to get that bitter taste out of your mouth? Good.

Whether or not you like it your writing is a business. Why else are you creating a Patreon page? Now that we have that unpleasant business out of the way I’d like to share some facts from my non-profit experience.

First and foremost you need to build an audience. And just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come. One thing you need to understand is that, although you may have hundreds of followers, only a small percentage of those followers will actually become donors.

Why?

Not everyone has the financial freedom to become a Patron to all of their favorite followers, but over time they may be able to. Think long-term.

Continue reading