It hasn’t even been a full week since I started my experiment to reward donors. The first phase is almost complete. I put the call out for ten donors willing to put cash on the barrel head now to help me fund the initial order of fifty custom Nerd Merit Badges. These will bear a design based on the podcast’s cover art, a design being worked up by my friend, Dan. The badges will be used to reward donors past, present or future who contribute twenty dollars (US) or more. In exchange for helping capitalize this first order, each charter donor will receive a badge that bears a further customization and a signed certificate of authenticity indicating the badge’s number out of the limited set.
The nice thing about the merit badges is that once the first batch is produced, they should be self sustaining. Only this first order will need funding ahead of time. When I get to the final ten badges out of this lot, I’ll know to earmark the donations made for each of the remaining ones towards another order. It isn’t just in time, which would be even better, but it scales down pretty close.
I have the funds now to not only place the first order but to pay the designer working on the image for the badges and cover some of the postage and additional materials. I have a commitment for a finished design by a week from this coming Monday, so the order for all fifty should go in a little over a week from now.
I want to thank each of the charter donors again for their faith, trust and patience. You have answered the first question I had going into this experiment. You’ve proven that at least for a small scale a pledge model works. This encourages me to try at least this part of the experiment again as I consider additional premiums to offer as rewards for donation.
Hopefully, my next update will be to share drafts for the design, if not the finished design itself. Once I have the design, I will also explain my ideas for how the charter badges will differ from the rest.
If you want to speak for a limited edition badge, one of only ten that will ever be made, you have one chance left. Beyond that, the regular badges are pretty spiffy, too, and each donation that qualifies for a regular badge covers about half of my hosting costs for one month. Any of the monthly donation options also qualifies for a badge as even just two dollars a month adds up over the course of a year.