Subscription-based crowdfunding can be very lucrative. It certainly has been for the group behind LoadingReadyRun, which figures among the most highly remunerated Canadian creators on the Patreon platform.
- Project title: LoadingReadyRun
- Production/project type: videos, podcasts, online broadcasts
- Funding period: since December 2014
- Amount raised per month: US$12,307
- Number of contributors: 2,075
- Average contribution: US$6.00
LoadingReadyRun is a creative group based in Victoria, British Columbia. It has been present on the web since 2003. Initially known for its sketches, the group later diversified its offer and today also produces short films, podcasts and live web broadcasts on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch.tv.
“Over the years, we sort of evolved into a full-blown video production house,” summarizes Graham Stark, cocreator of LoadingReadyRun. The seven-member team, with the assistance of outside collaborators, produces a large number of shows of various durations, including Monthly Mail Time, Feed Dump, Crapshots and Loading Time. The covered themes usually involve humour and video gaming.
From Kickstarter to Patreon
The members of LoadingReadyRun are experienced crowdfunders. Before launching a profile on the Patreon subscription-based crowdfunding platform, the group had namely led a campaign on Kickstarter in 2013 which raised more than $180,000 to finance the group’s eleventh year of web-based comedy sketches.
“At that stage, we had diversified so much that we wanted to wrap up the sketch comedy,” recalls Stark.
The following year, the Patreon platform began gaining in popularity, and LoadingReadyRun came to the conclusion that the subscription-based crowdfunding model proposed by Patreon was better adapted to its needs.
In the case of LoadingReadyRun, which produces content on a weekly basis, those who so wish can donate a fixed monthly amount. More than 2,000 fans have chosen to do so, which provides LoadingReadyRun with a monthly income of US$12,282.
To generate this income level, the group must produce content on an ongoing basis, but Graham Stark is of the opinion that even creators who do not produce as much can benefit from their presence on Patreon. “If you’re a creator that is more irregular, you can also, with Patreon at least, have people pay per item. There is a lot of ways to tailor crowdfunding to what you do,” he points out.
Indeed, the platform offers two funding models: fans can send a fixed monthly amount or pay to access individual projects. However, Patreon recommends opting for project-based funding only if fewer than four pieces of content are created on a monthly basis.
A minimalist strategy
Fans on Patreon donate an average of $12 per month. How does LoadingReadyRun manage to do 10,000% better than that? By resorting to a surprisingly minimalist strategy. The group focuses on the recurring creation of various and original content rather than on distributing rewards.
In fact, LoadingReadyRun offers only one reward to its benefactors: a single thank-you card is sent to those who donate more than US$10 per month. “We want people to support us because they want to support us, not because it’s the only way to get a certain thing,” explains the cocreator of LoadingReadyRun.
Also, the group offers nothing in terms of exclusive content to its financiers; all of its productions are available online free of charge.
How did LoadingReadyRun manage to raise such a substantial amount despite so few interactions on Patreon? “We fostered a really positive community of fans over the years,” explains Graham Stark. “We made the case that we wanted to be beholding to them rather than to corporate contracts.”
Moreover, LoadingReadyRun successfully recruited many of its subscribers early on in its campaign. Afterward, the group recorded a stable yet more moderate growth.
But Stark still does not believe that you absolutely need a fan pool already in place before launching a campaign on Patreon: “There is no harm with starting on the ground floor. You might not see a lot of pickup right away, but you should be ready for that. Going in with a preexisting fan base is helpful, but it’s by no means a requirement. ”
A Patreon campaign does not exclude other types of campaigns
This is a tidbit that will interest those who are not sure about the type of funding that will work for them: Graham Stark believes that subscription-based crowdfunding and reward-based crowdfunding (such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo) are not mutually exclusive.
“When we first started the Patreon [campaign], we even said this is for our ongoing stuff, and there might be opportunities to do a different project,” he recalls.
“If you clearly communicate ‘The Patreon campaign is for these ongoing projects and the Kickstarter is for that specific project,’ I don’t think people will have a problem with that.”