In January I was working on a few ideas I had about funding my webcomics and writing. It would be nice to have someone turn up and say “Here’s twenty grand, take a year out to write a novel and learn to paint.” but it’s not going to happen. So how about getting lots of people to give a few pounds each?
Web Patron would be a scheme to support art that was intended to appear initially or exclusively on the Internet, funded by Internet users. The decision on which projects would get funding would be taken by the people supplying the money.
The basic funding model
There would be a pool of projects requiring funding. Applicants would be expected to put up details of their proposal and links to their portfolio for prospective funders to browse.
Every month ten of these would be put onto the shortlist for funding. Each would have to expand on their case on a page on their own site. Here they could convince voters of the artistic merit of their endeavour.
Voting would be a simple enough process. A donation buys the right to choose three of the ten nominees. The minimum is a pound and the maximum is unlimited, but if you want to give a lot you’d be better checking the systems for sponsorship and full blown patronage. Votes might be weighted based upon the amount given, there would have to be some investigation of the effect this had on amounts donated. Unlike other sites where people vote, there will be no Top Scores list. I’ve been reading The Wisdom of Crowds and want each voter to make independent decisions.
At the end of the month votes are tallied and the top five projects get a share of the funding. The losers are free to rejoin the pool at the back of the queue or pull out. The winners, obviously, are removed from the pool, but can apply for funding of other projects in the future. There would, of course, be a section of Web Patron dedicated to succesful projects and press coverage.
Other funding methods
As mentioned, there would be other ways to fund projects. Prospective sponsors or patrons could search through the pool of applicants. When they found a project they wanted to be associated with, they could ask for an introduction. The sponsorship or patronage deal would be between the two parties, with no input from Web Patron, but on agreement the applicant would be removed from the pool.
A sponsorshop variation would see applicants opting in to an ad market, rather than the pool, where sponsors could bidto have their banners seen on the sites they choose. Web Patron would adminiater this and take a cut of the proceeds.
Paying the way
Web Patron isn’t intended to be run just for profit, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t benefit from its actions. And it will have to cover its running costs.
Initially the site will take a cut from the donations to cover expenses. As it grows there will be opportunities for merchandise and a shop selling recipients’ work. Undoubtedly as the brand grew other income streams would present themselves.
There’s no way I could ever do this at the moment. I have neither the time nor the money. However, I have several pages of notes on the idea if someone would like to take me on as a consultant on the project.