Funding a sustainable, diverse and inclusive future for Hysterical Women

I’ve been freelancing for almost seven years, so I probably ought to be better at asking for money by now. But, if I’m honest, it still makes me intensely uncomfortable. That said, as I first wrote last July, I’m conscious that I do need funds to be able to make Hysterical Women the diverse and inclusive space I always set out for it to be. I started setting up a Patreon page, for that purpose, a few months ago – but I’ve only just worked up the guts to actually publish it.

When I first started Hysterical Women in October 2018, I didn’t really have much of a plan, and I definitely didn’t have any kind of a budget. I just wanted to create a safe space for women and non-binary people to share their healthcare experiences. Since then, nearly 100 of you have contributed your experiences, and I continue to be horrified by the ways in which some doctors and other healthcare professionals dismiss the women in their care.

I am so grateful to everyone who has, and who continues to, voluntarily submit their stories. But I also want to make sure I’m not just featuring the voices and experiences of women who can afford to give their time and labour for free. The healthcare stories we most need to hear are the ones that so rarely see the light of day – the experiences of women of colour; of lesbian, bisexual and trans women; of non-binary people and trans men grappling with gynae healthcare services that don’t recognise them and their identities; of working class women; of disabled and chronically ill women.

Since September, I’ve been working on raising funds to pay for some of these contributions. Initially this has been through brand sponsorships, and I’m so grateful to Modibodi, &SISTERS and Wakey, whose sponsorship has already funded five guest posts by women of colour. Hysterical Women readers also very generously funded an additional two paid guest posts as part of our Black Women’s Health Matters series.

I’m continuing to speak with like-minded brands about sponsorship for similar series in future – including series on parenting, trans and non-binary healthcare experiences, and disability. I know from the overwhelming number of pitches I received for BWHM that there are an enormous number of stories and experiences out there, just waiting to be told – far more than I’ll ever be able to commission. But I would like to try to commission as many of them as possible.

That’s why I’ve set up a Hysterical Women Patreon page, in the hope of receiving enough ongoing, monthly support that I can eventually commission at least one paid guest post per month. There are three patron levels, at £5, £10 or £20 a month. I’m not offering exclusive content for patrons – all content, including the blog, newsletter and Facebook community will remain free and available for everyone – because that would defeat the purpose of trying to be more inclusive. But patrons will each receive one piece of exclusive Hysterical Women merch – a print, a laptop sticker or a mug, depending on the level of support you’re able to give. All patrons will also get a shout-out on a dedicated Thank You page on the blog.

Hysterical Women is not for profit and I don’t personally take a penny from the money I raise. Everything you give, minus the Patreon fees, will go directly to guest post writers as payment for their contribution. Hysterical Women funds are kept in a separate savings pot within my business bank account, and paid contributors receive a fee of £100 per post.

If you can’t commit to a monthly contribution, you can support Hysterical Women through one-off donations at PayPal.me/HystericalWomen. I also receive a small amount of commission if you purchase any of the Hysterical Women Book Club reads via the affiliate links on the blog. This has previously been through the Amazon affiliate scheme, however I have now switched to the Hive Books affiliate programme, so you can support Hysterical Women and local, independent book sellers whenever you buy our Book of the Month. Again, this commission goes straight into my Hysterical Women pot to fund future paid guest posts.

Thanks so much as always for all your support.