Patreon and a Change of Heart

As you read this, our Patreon is live! If you’re interested in backing us, we’d love for you to do so, but I need to stress this up front: If we don’t get a single penny of Patreon backing, the show will continue to come out every two weeks like it has been for the last four years. We’ll continue to maintain our social media presence, and these bi-weekly blog posts will also continue. We are not in need of funds to maintain the status quo, and if all you can do to help us out is listen – that’s awesome, we thank you, and that is more than enough. Your listening support and the occasional bit of contact via our website or social media presences is plenty to keep us going indefinitely.

However, if you are so inclined, you can now support us financially, too. “But Peter,” you might say, “you at Saving the Game have always resisted taking money from listeners. Why now? What’s changed?” The short answer to that is “my mind.” You see I, Peter, have been the major road block on the road to taking donations.

On some level, I’ve always equated taking money for anything but traditional employment with opening the door to the corrupting influence of money which is, frankly, an extreme position that’s more than a little bonkers. The modern economy is full of freelancers and entrepreneurs that just don’t draw a traditional paycheck (my wife’s crafting business among them), and that’s without considering that charities and ministries operate almost entirely on donations (we’re not a charity, certainly, but we’re kind of a ministry). There’s doubtless a certain element of Pride (as in, the sin) in there, I’m sure. Also: Taking money in and of itself isn’t bad – it’s a matter of who you take it from, and under what circumstances. Taking money from podcast listeners that are chipping in small amount of resources to enable something they like to grow and expand is radically different from, say, taking money from a massive campaign donor with the implication they can use it to call in favors later. As we’ve said many, many times – we have wonderful listeners, and it occurred to me as Grant and I were talking that, by barring the donations door, one of the things I was doing (without intending to, I hasten to add!) was sending the implied message that I didn’t trust those same wonderful listeners for some reason.

Another objection I had was the idea that setting up donations capability sends the message that we’re getting ready to go to a “paid content only” model. Time has dealt with that objection. Podcasts with voluntary listener support are the norm now – most of the podcasts I listen to (or listened to – I miss you, 30+ hours a week of listening time) have a voluntary Patreon or other donation vector, and nobody (or almost nobody) is concerned that they’re going to paid-only.

The last significant objection that we both had was “what would we even do with it?” As Grant and I have mentioned, we’re both gainfully employed, and we didn’t want the funds we collected to go to our car payments or grocery bills. That would have felt very weird and somewhat exploitative. However, as the podcast has continued, we’ve started answering that question naturally. We’d like to be able to hire an editor so we can do this weekly instead of biweekly. We’d like to get better cameras so when we do things like Game to Grow, we’re not grainy and suffering from frame rate issues. We’d like to make it to more cons so we can get more content ideas and touch base with other podcasters (the podcaster meetup at Fear the Con has been incredibly valuable for us every time one or both of us has made it). It’d be really nice if our research materials (gaming and theology books, mostly) didn’t have to come out of the same budgets that our groceries and housing are coming out of. And, possibly most importantly, it would be great to get a little “push” to keep striving to make the podcast better. But almost all of that costs more than we can currently afford to put into the podcast. So if you want to help us with those things, we’ll be happy to accept, and we’re going to be pretty transparent with where it all goes.

So with all of that to consider, Grant was finally able to convince me to give the idea a chance.

P.S. One fun little bit of trivia to leave you with: as Grant mentions in the video, one of the patron rewards is a question that goes into a random pool that gets selected from at the beginning of the episode. We got that idea at least in part from how Loading Ready Run does their crack-a-pack segment at the beginning of their Tap Tap Concede videos. (Incidentally, if you play Magic and are stressed, Tap Tap Concede is second only to Bob Ross videos for relaxing content.)

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