This is a great idea, but if you don’t have a business level account with Wordpress, you can’t use the plug in. Is there a way to do this but without the plug in? I run a small non profit, emphasis on the small and non-profit.
WordPress.com is just wordpress hosting.
You can get your WordPress site hosted anywhere. Any regular web host will do. Any regular WordPress hosting would do.
If you know how to use ftp, you know what a mysql database is and so on, you can just get a $5-$8 standard web hosting anywhere (from reputable providers) and put your WordPress website there. Then you will be totally free to do whatever you want with it.
If you’d rather not deal with such stuff, you can pick a reasonably priced WordPress hosting somewhere, and just move your WordPress site there. It will be like WordPress.com hosting, but you will be able to install custom plugins. Just make sure they allow custom plugins when selecting a provider .
Although you’re certainly able to host wordpress yourself on cheap hosting, you should be mindful that by doing so you take on responsibility for maintaining the security of the install which is no small feat in the world of Wordpress. Wordpress is a very common target of hacking attempts and part of the value that managed Wordpress hosting services (like wordpress.com, and wpengine.com) provide is that they protect you against this. Taking on this responsibility as someone who is not experienced in running your own website will cost you quite a lot in time, time which I am sure is much better spent dedicated to your non-profit activities as that is where your expertise lies. This is especially a concern as your activities are around diversity in video games, a section of the internet filled with bad actors and if they were to compromise your website then your users data would be exposed.
Another concern is that cheap shared hosting is cheap shared hosting for a reason: you’re sharing resources with hundreds of other websites that are often poorly managed and that can lead to major service congestion, I recently migrated a Wordpress install for a non-profit from shared hosting to its own server and I was able to reduce page load time from 5 seconds to 1 second. Your website will be significantly slower on shared hosting compared to wordpress.com and that has a significant impact on the way that people interact with your website, people will lose interest in a slow loading website.
Personally, I’d recommend that you steer clear of managing your own Wordpress install on shared hosting because although you might be able to find hosting for $5/month, the amount of time you spend on managing it, keeping it secure… is worth much more than the cost of premium Wordpress. The cost of hiring someone to deal with the fallout of your website being hacked will far exceed the cost of years of Wordpress.com hosting, and the personal cost to your users who have their personal data exposed may be even greater.
If the cost of Wordpress Premium is too high for your organisation to afford then you do have some alternatives: Do you have any members of your community who are experienced in managing Wordpress websites? You may well have someone in your community who is experienced and capable and willing to further their patronage by donating their time to you and your non-profit by managing your website for you. They could set up a server specifically for your website (e.g: a $5 DigitalOcean server) which would ensure your website is fast and their experience would ensure it’s secure. Another alternative is contacting the various managed Wordpress hosting companies (like wpengine) who may be able to offer a non-profit discount.
Another alternative option is to consider other ways that you can achieve what you’re looking to achieve, i.e: are you hoping to use your Wordpress website with the Patreon plugin to allow for people to download patron only items? Maybe there’s another way you can use Patreon to achieve that instead of connecting to your wordpress site. If you can share more about what you’re trying to achieve here then maybe members of this community will be able to advise you on free Patreon-enabled alternatives to achieve your goals.