So you’ve just set up merch benefits through Patreon for the first time — this article will explain how and when patrons earn their merch benefit.
Patrons earn merch
Patrons earn merch when they meet two requirements:
- They joined a tier that contains a merch item
- They’ve made a required number of consecutive payments in that tier. The number of payments depends on the type of merch program you offer the item in (3 months or loyalty program)
The total time it takes a patron to complete the required number of payments can vary based on whether the patron is new or existing and whether the patron has any declined payments that later settle.
Typically, patrons earn a month towards an item for each month of membership they pay for after the item goes live. If a patron cancels their membership or switches to a tier that does not include the item, any progress the patron has made towards earning that merch item is lost. The patron can rejoin a tier that contains that item again later, which would restart their earnings progress from the beginning.
Let’s look at some examples to understand when patrons typically earn merch! For this example, we’ll use a merch program that delivers an item once after 3 months.
Subscription billing example:
If a creator who charges patrons up front adds a merch item to a tier on May 15th, existing patrons will have their next payment made after May 15th count toward their merch item. For example, a patron whose billing anniversary was the 20th would make their first eligible payment on May 20th. On June 20th, that patron would process their second payment towards earning that merch item. On July 20th, the patron would earn the merch item. If a new patron joins on July 15th, they would be charged immediately upon signup and earn their first payment towards their merch item. The new patron would earn their second payment towards their merch item on August 15th and then earn the merch item on September 15th.
Charge upfront example:
If a creator who charges patrons upfront adds a merch item to a tier on May 15th, existing patrons will have their next payment (June 1st) count toward their merch item. On July 1st, those patrons would process their second payment towards earning that merch item. On August 1st, patrons would earn the merch item. If a new patron joins on July 15th, they would be charged immediately upon signup and earn their first payment towards their merch item. The new patron would earn their second payment towards their merch item on August 1st and then earn the merch item on September 1st.
Non-charge upfront example:
Suppose a creator who does not charge patrons up front adds a merch item to a tier on May 15th. In that case, existing patrons with a valid membership in that tier will earn their first payment towards that merch item on June 1st, eventually earning the item on August 1st. A new patron who joins on July 15th would earn their merch item on October 1st.
As a reminder, you can always find what benefits your patrons have earned, including Merch for Membership benefits, on your Benefits page.
How will my current patrons earn merch?
Typically, existing patrons will earn their merch item on their third successful charge after the merch is added. Previous payments do not count toward a patron earning merch.
Will editing the design of an item affect how my patrons earn merch?
Will editing an item's tiers affect how my patrons earn merch?
If you’ve added an item or loyalty program to any new tiers, patrons of those new tiers will begin earning the items when you click the Publish merch button. You can find when you added each item or loyalty program to each tier on your merch tab.