The 8 Best Ways To Collect Donations Online For Creators

The 8 Best Ways To Collect Donations Online For Creators

If you are a content creator, like an artist or YouTuber, you probably wonder if it makes sense to ask your audience for donations. Well, it depends, but in most cases, the answer is YES, it makes sense. If people like what you do and want to keep seeing more from you. Then they are willing to pay you for it.

Donations are a great way for your fans and followers to show gratitude for the hard work that you put into creating content.

But where to start, what is the best place to receive donations? This article is meant to help you choose. Below are some of the best choices at the moment. You should try them and see for yourself which one suits you. 

Let's start with the first one:


Patreon

Patreon


Patreon, which was co-founded in May 2013 by Sam Yam and musician Jack Conte, is one of the biggest platforms to receive donations. Looking for ways to earn money from YouTube, Sam Yam and musician Jack Conte decided to create Patreon. It quickly blew up and grew into a platform for all creators alike that are looking for extra income.

It was one of the first platforms for creators to receive donations and monetize their content. And till today, it's still one of the most used platforms. It offers a ton of options when it comes to receiving donations. Patreon is mainly used for monthly subscriptions rather than one-time payments.

Patreon lets you create your own membership plans, you can custom create different tier levels. You choose the name for the tier, you choose what your subscriber gets and how much he needs to pay. 

For example, you could create 5 Tiers. Tier 1 could be $5,- p/m, and the subscriber would get a digital download or access to your exclusive posts. A tier 5 could be $500,- and the subscriber could get a custom design or exclusive content. It all depends on you, and there are basically no limits.

Pros: 
  • Free to start.
  • A search option to find other creators.
  • Reputable, with a large user base.
  • Many options to receive donations.
  • Customizable tier list.
  • You can add google analytics.
  • Your profile will be reviewed first before you can start earning.

Cons: 
  • High fees, Patreon takes 12% from your earnings if you choose the premium plan. Other plans are 8% for pro and 5% for Lite.
  • No-one time payments, only monthly subscriptions.




memberful.com

memberful


Memberful is the place to go if you want to add a membership plan to your website. You can create a variety of plans. 

For example, you can use it to create a weekly, monthly or annual membership plan. Your subscribers then can choose which one suits them the best. Rewards are more features or exclusive content. 

Memberful has a WordPress plugin for easy adding it to your own website. And you can even use it without a website. 

They have an easy-to-use dashboard to monitor your results, and they say that you fully own your own data. In 2018 Memberful was acquired by Patreon.

Pros:
  • Offers a free and a trial plan.
  • Offers a free plan with multiple advanced features.
  • Create your own subscription plans.
  • Premium comes with many more features.
  • Support for 12 languages.
  • Plugin for WordPress.

Cons:
  • + 10% transaction fees

Alternatives:
  • Wildapricot.com, A powerful cloud software to help you automate and simplify membership tasks.


ko-fi.com

ko-fi


Ko-Fi is very similar to Patreon, it's free and easy to use. All you have to do is set up your account and share your link with your fans. Ko-fi is a nice way to get donations for your work, but you can also sell memberships or products. You can set crowdfunding goals, like buying a new camera. You can also create a shop and over digital downloads.

The basic idea of Ko-Fi is that your fans Buy a Coffee for you, Hence the name. This way they support your work or help you crowdfund a goal.

Pros: 
  • Really quick and simple to set up. 
  • And user-friendly for your supporters.
  • 0% platform fee on one-off donations

Cons: 
  • You have to become a Gold member for extra features, for example: if you want to change your page template color, add Google analytics, or change the text coffee to something else.
  • 5% fee on all other payments, if you don't have Gold.




buymeacoffee.com

Buymeacoffee

Buymeacoffee.com is very similar to Ko-fi but it looks a little more mature in my opinion. You can either ask for people to support you by buying a coffee, which is a one-time payment, or they can become members and pay monthly. You can also offer products, like digital downloads.

According to Buymeacoffee.com, they have more than 300,000+ creators. Just like Ko-Fi, they have an option to search for creators you like. You can either follow your favorite content creators or donate right away.

Pros: 
  • You can refer other content creators and earn commissions. 
  • Dashboard to monitor your results. 
  • You have 100% ownership of your supporters. You are in control over your list, you can even export the list. 
  • Option to search for other content creators

Cons: 
  • They don't offer a way to payout to Paypal, but your fans can use Paypal to donate. You can use your local bank or Stripe to get payouts.


Paypal.com 

Paypal


Paypal makes it easy to donate money. You can create a special link or button that you can place on your website or in your video description. Although Paypal is quick and simple to use, it's less personal than the Patreon or Buymeacoffee. Still, it's a great way to receive donations for your projects.

You can design your own button and even upload your own custom design. On your donation page, you can also add your logo or an image. Then you get the HTML code that you can place on your website or you can create a popup. 

Paypal lets your donors choose between a monthly donation or a one-time donation. They can choose to donate with Paypal or with credit or debit cards.

There are more things that you customize, like the currency, or you can create different programs for your subscribers to choose from. All in all, it's an easy and a fine way to receive donations.

Pros: 
  • Receive donations right into your Paypal account.
  • Fast and secure payments.
  • Quick and easy to set up.

Cons:
  • You cannot create landing pages.
  • No way to interact with your fans.
  • No marketing tools.


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Subscribestar.com

Subscribestar


Subscribestar, like the name suggests, is a place for emerging stars and content creators that want to offer their supporters a way to financially support them. It's similar to Patreon, yet a little bit different. 

You simply create your page where you can offer your fans different monthly Tiers. In return, they will get access to exclusive content.

Unlike Patreon, which bans adult content, Subscribestar allows it, although this is on a separate domain: .adult. And it's behind an 18+ consent popup, still, it might turn off some supporters. 

Pros:
  • Create unique Tier lists.
  • Stay in touch with your subscribers.
  • Search for other content creators.

Cons:
  • They allowed Adult content, this might be a pro for some and a con for others.
  • Negative reviews regarding customer support and service.




liberapay.com

liberapay


Liberapay promotes itself as the place to go if you are a creator of commons. So if you create free things, like art, tutorials, music, or free software. You can go here to receive crowdfunding and keep doing what you do.

Liberapay is simple, you create a page, you tell your story and explain why you need funding, and people can then decide if they want to support you.

Pros: 
  • Multiple languages, 18 at the moment.
  • 33 different currencies.
  • Integrations with 12 platforms, like Twitter or Github.
  • Organizations or businesses can also use it to receive recurring funding.
  • Open-source.
  • No platform fees (Liberapay is funded by donations).

Cons: 
  • No tier list or exclusive content for your subscribers.
  • Small platform compared to others.




podia.com

podia
Podia presents themselves at the All-In-One platform to go to sell your work. This ranges from digital downloads to online courses, webinars, coaching, etc.

They also offer tools to promote your work, like email marketing, messages, embeds, and custom websites.

So if you plan on selling your books or courses online, this would be the place to start.

Pros:
  • Offers many features and tools.
  • The mover plan (39,- p/m) is enough to get started.
  • Built-in email marketing.
  • Low entry costs.

Cons:
  • No free plan, but membership plans, starting at 39,- p/m
  • No course marketplace, for example, Udemy has a marketplace for users to search for courses, Podia does not.


Alternatives:
  • Thinkific.com
  • Udemy, a marketplace to host and market your digital products, like online courses.
  • kajabi.com, is an all-in-one platform to publish and market your digital products.


Conclusion:

There are many ways for you to receive donations, I guess it depends on you and what the purpose of your donations is. Personally, I would say Patreon and Buymeacoffee are the best choices for creators.


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Ron Hoekstra is the founder of The Liberty OnDemand. With his many years of experience in the field of graphic design and self taught knowledge about business, digital marketing and leveraging wealth. He can give you valuable insights and content to help you grow and become more successful!


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