Funding the Podcast

Last year I had what I thought was a bright idea: I would create a Patreon campaign to support the production of the Viva Survivors Podcast. An ongoing patronage programme where people who wanted to fund the creation of a resource sharing PhD and viva experiences could – completely opt-in and no barriers or paywalls in front of the episodes. That’s the very last thing that I want.

I had high hopes and then… nothing! No patrons, no enquiries, nothing. And then after a couple of months a piece of EU legislation around VAT and digital sales came in, and I had to take down the campaign anyway (it would put me in an incredibly difficult position to have to register for VAT, and the application of the rules to platforms like Patreon are not clear yet).

Back at square one? Not at all.

Why I’m Thinking About Funding

As time goes on and I invest more of my time into the production of the podcast it is also clear that the financial cost of producing it is growing. The podcast is fortunate that it is being regularly updated now – and in recent months has seen a sharp growth in the number of visitors to the site and the number of downloads of episodes. It is not inconceivable that it could grow beyond the current hosting package in the coming year, which would lead to an increase in my hosting bill.

I’ve invested in audio recording software and social media tools to help me manage the creation and promotion of the podcast. I even got some little Moo minicards to hand out to PGRs at workshops and share with their colleagues! And each episode takes between three and four hours to produce – time that I can’t spend on writing or delivering workshops.

Possible Solutions

I liked the idea of using Patreon – if anything, it would help to gauge the level of active support for the podcast and the work that I’m doing with it – but it is not the only idea on the table. If the VAT issue is cleared up, then I will most likely re-launch a patronage campaign. Other ideas I’ve been thinking about include:

  • a Paypal “donate” button, so if someone wants to support the site they can;
  • a pay-what-you-want pdf or mp3 resource, hosted via a VAT-compliant site, whereby people could donate to the podcast and get something tangible in return, other than feeling good;
  • Viva Survivors Podcast-branded merchandise, created and fulfilled by a print-on-demand company.

These are just some of the ideas being explored, but I am always looking for options – what do you think? Am I missing something that could be a really useful source of funding for the podcast? By the end of the year I am aiming for a total of sixty episodes in the archive. I enjoy producing the podcast and am glad that it is seen as a valuable resource. I need help to continue this and do a lot more. Any help you can offer to support the Viva Survivors Podcast – by sharing the episodes, volunteering to share your story or ideas for funding – is really appreciated.

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)