I’m writing you all today with some important questions. In some ways this is a check-in with folks, but also a call to action. As many of you know, I run a myriad of activities, post blog articles, and a whole lot more! That’s why I’m hoping you’ll hear me out and consider improving what I can offer you in exchange for more consistent support. Let’s jump right into the details.
The Situation Right Now
Currently, I do a lot to make Jon Spencer Reviews what it is. While I enjoy all the things I do, and I never want you to feel pressured to support me directly for the things I offer, it may not be entirely clear just how much I’m actually doing. As it stands, I invest between 20-40+ hours of work a week in everything I offer, and if I’m being honest, I only want to bring more to the table but I can’t do that without YOU!
Did you know that I offer all of the following things here at Jon Spencer Reviews?
- Written articles covering a variety of pop culture subjects from anime to games, and more! I’ve had to scale back on some of this to a degree thanks to me working on some larger projects, but it seems you guys have really enjoyed those.
- Several community activities which include:
- A supportive community for you to meet with, discuss, and engage with your interests in a positive and healthy environment. This point primarily applies to my Discord, but I take the same level of care across my other channels.
- I also make games and other random content that I put out for you guys absolutely free of charge. You’ll see me post these on Twitter mostly and in my Discord but I make one-time posts on the blog when I do them as well. Examples:
- Creating Board & Tabletop Role-Playing Games
- Pixel Art
- Short Stories
- And of Course, More!
Writing it all out, it’s a lot and the list isn’t even exhaustive. Left off is the time I need to actually watch/play the the things I review, and of course the time I spend engaging with all of you fantastic people! I know that lately you may not have seen many likes/comments from me (thanks WordPress, really awesome) but know that I do read your content.
You can see for yourself that I keep busy at the very least. Everything above isn’t even the full extent of what I want to do, but there’s also the problem of income and spreading myself too thin. That’s where YOU can come in, so let’s learn about the ways you can support me.
Current Support & Ways to Help
Before I tell you how you can support me, I’d like to give you a general overview on my existing support and what folks get in return for doing so. I think this is important as I value transparency, I want you to know exactly what’s going on and why.
As of writing this article I have 4 Patrons earning about $6 a month. I don’t at all want to make it sound like I don’t appreciate the existing support, I absolutely do. If you are an existing supporter, thank you! However, I can’t say that $6 a month extra is making a meaningful difference. So you may be asking, “just what is this money doing then?” and you’d be right in doing so. The short answer is that it’s sitting in the account acting as an emergency fund. That’s about all it can do.
Of course I do still have my regular employment as a child care provider at my church but there’s a problem: due to the pandemic, there’s not exactly any work to be had… My church has generously been paying my salary regardless during this time, but the amount varies wildly and may not exist at all beyond the end of the year. Naturally, this is causing me concern even if I only average about $60 a month. Yeah, I’m not living on much and that’s part of the problem.
Here’s my current Patreon setup:
- At $1+ you get the following:
- Access to my Discord with a special title.
- Suggest a show to be in rotation for the next #AniTwitWatches.
- An extra vote on the #AniTwitWatches Poll on Discord.
- Patron-only AMQ game once a month.
- A permanent place in the Patreon Hall of Fame on my website with link to your page (if provided).
- My eternal gratitude. Seriously, every little bit goes a long way!
- At $5+ I add a few more things:
- An extra special Discord title.
- Free keys for my digital game content including Into the Woods…, Crisis Council, and other occasional goodies!
- Plus the previous rewards of course!
- $15+ I currently offer, in addition to all of the above:
- I’ll cover (almost) anything of your choosing in a podcast or written post. I will put in at least the minimum amount of work to form an opinion on whatever you choose.
- You’ll also be given exclusive thanks upfront.
Most of my supports sit around the $1 or $5 tier, raising or lowering their support as they can afford it. Again, thank you to those of you who currently pitch in, you are amazing! This should give you a good idea of what’s currently on offer though.
Here’s how you can get involved with the Patreon if you would like. Simply click the link here or the image below. By becoming a Patron, you will be charged monthly just like a subscription service would do and you can edit your support (even cancel it) at any time with no pressure from me. I’ll even refund you in some cases if the need arises, so please feel free to support me as you are able, but please never sacrifice your own well-being on my behalf.
I understand that for some a monthly donation isn’t attractive which is totally fine by me. As an alternative I have ways for you to make occasional one-time donations at your leisure, but the tradeoff is you don’t get anything extra from me beyond a thank you. I believe in recognizing people’s generosity, so I’ll always do that much.
To do so you can visit my Ko-fi page here. You can also click the image below to be taken to the page as well. It has a minimum $3 pledge requirement, but that’s beyond my control. I do have a direct PayPal link if you prefer that, but please inquire about that privately (most who do because places like Patreon and Ko-fi eat a portion of the donation).
What Would My Money Help With?
It’s only fair that I explain what the money you send my way would actually do. There are things I need it to do before I can add the wants, so let me break them up clearly so it’s obvious how things shake out.
- About $50 is what I spend on food and assorted bills when able, so I need this as a minimum to cover those costs. Currently my childcare position does this, but as I mentioned, that may not last for much longer. Hopefully it does, I very much enjoy it, but these are the facts.
- At around $100 per month I would be able to afford my internet bill with no issues solo. This is a financial burden for my grandmother which I can occasionally lessen, but as it stands not something I can cover outright on my own. I feel bad about that, but the internet is a must in this day-and-age regardless of what you are doing. To be clear, the bill is actually at a lower amount than $100 but this total is quoted as it would allow for any surprise increases and factors in the above food cost.
- Once the amount exceeds $200 I am able to afford pretty much all of my bills and still have a little left over for myself to cover miscellaneous costs or do something fun on occasion (because you need that in life, it’s important). Anything past this amount is a bonus, but understand that even at two hundred dollars, I’ll be far from financially independent and not where I want to stop.
- Reaching amounts in the 1,000+ range, I’ll be able to move towards financial independence and not worry about costs for day-to-day living or needed equipment repairs (stuff breaks, like my laptop that one time). Mostly, I’d be saving money as I can. Going even farther to 2,000+ and I’ll be able to make a modest living, but this is the dream scenario and not at all an expectation.
Understand that I don’t expect something for nothing, so along the way to the above milestones, I also want to give back to the community in certain ways.
- At about $150 a month I could do a giveaway for every #AniTwitWatches. This is something I’d really love to do for one lucky participant, so they’d own a copy of the show when we were done. Since it takes us 2-3 months to finish a watch, I’d be able to save up and afford this cost. At higher amounts, I can consider adding more prizes and even covering shipping to regions outside of North America.
- I haven’t calculated the monthly amount I’d need, but at further intervals I could improve my infrastructure and even provide a small payout to those who work on the site or my related community projects. For example, site contributors could earn a small monthly paycheck when they contribute, a donation to #TheJCS hosts could be made each month, and so on. It wouldn’t be a lot, but it’d be an easy way for me to give back and not feel guilty about the support I receive there.
- Reaching further to the more “dream” amounts, I can upgrade equipment over time which would allow me to make more types of content (video, podcast, streaming), have some savings for future financial security, and more but since I’m not this far out I haven’t nailed down exactly what these kinds of things would look like with 100% certainty.
Still Not Convinced (& Feedback Request)?
Even after all this, if I failed to convince you then I have a favor to ask of you:
What would make donating to me, in any form, more attractive to you?
I want to know what I can be offering beyond what I already am to encourage more reliable support. If you want me to make a goal at $50 on Patreon to karaoke “Kimi no Sei” from Bunny Girl Senpai, consider it done (note this is just an example that gets joked about in my Discord, but if folks seriously wanted it, I’d do it). I can’t know how to improve my offerings and existing programs if nobody tells me.
Furthermore, if there is stuff you just don’t care about, tell me. If I learn that for some reason everyone hates when I share short stories, then I probably should shy away from doing them. Overall, I think most people enjoy the things I do even if they don’t participate in everything (nor do I expect it). Remember that when providing feedback, but please don’t be afraid to speak your mind frankly.
If you have any other ideas, questions, or concerns please feel free to contact me here publicly or via private channels such as my Twitter, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Discord. You can find links for all of those on the contacts page on my website. Thank you for your time and continued support, hopefully we can make Jon Spencer Reviews an even better place together!