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Do you have an idea for your own dream business but don’t have enough money to make it happen? This “digital” era has made raising funds for your business idea, nonprofit cause, or personal needs easier with the use of online crowdfunding and membership platforms and the power of online communities. And honestly, there are plenty of them nowadays. But which one is the best for you and your online business? What are the cons and pros of these platforms? Let’s find out.
Patreon is a membership crowdfunding platform that makes it easy for any content creator to get paid while using social networks to drive their fans. Their fans support them financially for creating things that they are already creating on regular basis. It’s often used by YouTube videographers, webcomic artists, writers, podcasters, musicians, adult content creators, and other categories of creators who post regularly online. The creator can set up tiers – different levels of support – so there would be different amounts of money each fan can choose to pay monthly or per creation and become an active participant, and each tier has different rewards or levels of exclusive content and community access. So this platform is based on long-term support and membership business.
Another benefit of this platform compared to others is that Patreon has multiple subscription plans for creators, so you can choose from three categories which cost from 5 to 25 dollars per month. As a creator, you get paid on regular basis and your account is connected to your bank or PayPal for easy funds transfer.
But Patreon has a few cons which have to be mentioned because many users left this platform last year. Credit card processing fees can be up to 5%, which is higher than on other platforms. It also takes a percentage from the artist’s funds and some creators report issues while attempting to collect these funds. The creators also complain about how slow and full of bugs the platform is and about bad customer service for the last year of use. They have no power over how their page looks because administrators keep on changing the creator’s landing page and if creators want to change something is necessary to send a request and wait for a long time.
Buy me a Coffee is an American donations platform for creators that they may use to receive tips and donations to support their work. While the title is “Buy me a coffee,” your subscribers are donating money to you and there is no actual coffee. It is essentially adding a donate button to your website or content, but with a little more subtlety. Creators can change “coffee” to whatever they want, like soda or beer.
The platform charges a 5% transaction fee and standard PayPal and Stripe payment processing fees but does not charge a monthly subscription fee.
Coindrop is a platform where users can accept zero-fee one-time donations, don’t require paywalled content, or want to manage many donation pages under one account. You can post or share the link with your audience and sell merch, educational materials or get support for your work.
Join one of the biggest Discord servers for content creators.
ConvertKit Commerce is the latest alternative for Patreon and is very unique since it combines a strong email marketing tool for creators with a new membership solution. ConvertKit has been a leading email marketing tool for creators to communicate with their fans, subscribers, and customers. It’s best for creators who sell digital products like courses, ebooks, paid newsletters, coaching, and more.
Fangage launches fan platforms for top artists, influencers, and brands where artists can always reach 100% of their fans all the time. It’s a fully functional system that allows you to host exclusive content and fan experiences, sell content and subscriptions, get access to fan data, and build on your website complete with all the powerful functionality just mentioned.
Fangage offers three plans. The first plan is free with 10% processing fees on earnings and offers unlimited fan profiles and selling exclusive content & subscriptions. The second plan is the Star plan which costs $59 per month + 7% processing fees on earnings and – a 5% discount on email & SMS campaigns. This plan offers all previous rewards plus linking your own domain, hosting of free or private content, etc. The last one is the Legend plan which costs $79 per month with 5% with processing fees and – 10% discount on campaigns. Offers all previous rewards plus access to all integrations, dedicated partner manager, and custom CSS.
Buzz is a monetization tool for streamers by StreamBee. Our platform works so that streamers from Twitch can write with their fans either for money, free, or both according to the settings.
Creators keep 80% of all their earnings with Buzz. StremBee takes 20%, which also includes payment processing fees of Stripe which is 0.25% + 0.31€ per payout sent + 2€ per monthly active Stripe Connect Express account.
Flattr is a micro-donation provider that lets people set a monthly budget to pay web content producers for their work.
All that this platform charges is a 5% transaction fee and a 5% payment fee for the payment processor.
DPD is easy to use digital publishing platform helping creators sell downloads and deliver content like ebooks, software, themes, music, graphics, and more.
Pricing is based on the number and size of your products. You can choose between three plans from $10 to $30 per month from 1 to 6GB of space for your products. DPD supports the most popular processors including Paypal Stripe and Authorize.net. DPD doesn’t charge any per-sale fees, processing fees, or commissions.
Zipsell is a free, open-source, and self-hosted platform for selling digital downloads such as ebooks, music, videos, source code, etc
Zipsell is free and handles payment processing via Stripe and sends customers to secure expiring Amazon S3 links to the files they have purchased. Two other plan options are coming soon.
Gumroad is an e-commerce tool for creators for selling digital content like books, courses, music, and film to their audience. Among its many features, it also enables running a membership program.
Join It is a cloud-based membership management solution built for small and midsize businesses. It allows users to build a centralized membership database, search contacts, create web pages, and more. Organizations can create custom membership plans offering different benefits at different prices.
Join it offers five packages from $0 to $249 per month adjusted to users’ needs. The higher package you choose the less you will pay on the monthly Service fee which goes from 1,5% to 4%. The number of members of your database and admin seats also depends on your plan. Each package offers different services but all previous rewards. There is also a Payment processing fee from their payment provider Stripe.
StreamBee offers business intelligence software and DM monetisation tool for streamers.
Ko-Fi is an All-in-one platform for managing crowdfunding campaigns and selling memberships or products. This platform for donations allows creators to share their work with fans who can support them for the price of a cup of coffee, or more if they wish. Creators can set up donations or commissions on a one-time basis or in monthly income. It’s best for artists, writers, cosplayers, podcasters, etc. It’s a good Patreon alternative for creators.
Lemon Squeezy is a platform focused on helping creators sell their digital products — everything from digital downloads (eBooks, PDFs, design assets, photos, audio, and videos), subscriptions, and software licenses.
This platform offers two plans depending on the creator’s needs. There is also an option to pay monthly or yearly. It takes a platform fee to cover the costs of credit card transaction fees, currency conversion fees, etc. and the net sales will be paid out to the creator’s bank account or PayPal account. The platform fee is calculated on the total order value and collected when the order is placed. If the order is from an international card (outside of the US) or PayPal they add 1% to the platform fee to cover processing fees. On the Basic plan, the platform fee is 3.5% + 30c.
Luma is an alternative community platform where you can create an alternative to Facebook groups. It’s best for streamers who are looking for an alternative to Facebook to create space for their communities and for hosting members on Zoom events.
You can choose between the Free forever plan, where your only payment will be a 5% platform fee or Luma plus plan for $39 per month for annual payment or $49 per month for a monthly payment with more options and no platform fee. You also pay a Stripe credit card transaction fee which is typically 2.9% + 30 cents.
PayHere is a simple subscription payments platform for startups and indie hackers, saving you lots of development time that you can better spend on your product features. Users simply have to share a link to their payment forms without the need to code or have a website.
Pricing is only 3% per transaction plus Stripe fees.
Per Diem is a platform that offers online subscriptions to local businesses. The software offers tools to customize your subscription model to build loyalty and start expanding your customer base.
You can choose between a monthly pricing model for $29 per month or a yearly pricing model for $20.75 per month. Per Diem uses Stripe to process payments securely. Stripe’s credit card transaction fee is 2.9% + $.30 per charge.
The platform for selling digital products online. SamCart is perfect for anyone who sells stuff online. From physical products to digital products like courses, events, books, and seminars. You can even use it to sell services, such as consulting services on your website.
SamCart has four different plans for monthly payments in a yearly pricing model with an annual discount or monthly pricing model. The Launch for $39/$49 per month offers 1 admin user, standard integrations, etc. In Grow plan for $79/$99 per month, you’ll get all previous rewards plus 3 admin users, enhanced integrations, etc. Scale plan offers for $159/$199 per month all previous rewards plus 10 admin users, priority email support, etc. It also offers the Enterprise plan and you can get more information about the plan or pricing after contacting the platform’s sales. If you elect to go with an annual plan, you’ll save 20% on all of these prices. There are also payment processing fees of PayPal and Stripe.
SendOwl is an all-in-one solution designed to help creators successfully sell and deliver audiobooks, e-books, photography, software, memberships, event tickets, online courses, and much more.
SendOwl has four different pricing options. The first one is the Standard plan which starts for $15 per month and offers 30 products with 3 GB of storage, the Premium plan for $24 per month with 100 products and 5GB storage, and the Business plan for $39 per month with 250 products, 15 GB of storage, 3 subscriptions, etc.
Sellfy is an e-commerce platform designed specifically for selling digital products, such as music, illustrations, photos, books, or videos in digital files. It’s best for creators and digital product businesses that want a comprehensive online store solution that is quick and easy to create and manage.
Sellfy has three plan options: Starter, Business, and Premium. Pricing options depend on which of the three plans you choose. The Starter plan costs $29 per month or $19 per month if you pay for an annual subscription and offers unlimited products and 2000 email credits. The Business plan, on the other hand, costs $59 per month or $39 per month for the annual plan and offers product upselling, 10 000 email credits, etc. The Premium plan costs either $129 per month or $89 per month for the annual option with priority support and 50 000 credits. For their payment providers Stripe or PayPal, you’ll be paying 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction. Sellfy does not charge an additional transaction fee for payment processing on any of its plans.
SUBS is a social platform and an alternative for platforms like Instagram, where users can post their photos, videos, or text and share it with a community of people. They can use posts for subscribers or stories for 24 hours, which can see also people who don’t subscribe yet.
This platform is completely free.
SubscribeStar is a membership platform adapted for musicians, visual artists, and educators. This platform describes itself as “an online content marketplace that operates on a subscription basis.” This makes this more exclusive platform one of the best Patreon alternatives.
This independent platform operates on a monthly subscription. Monthly earnings depend on the number of subscribers that the creator has on his Star page and the monthly subscription price. The platform also charges a 5% service fee and a 2,9 % transaction processing fee for the payment provider.
Supercast is a crowdfunding platform for podcasters. It allows creators to turn their loyal listeners into paying members. Creators can offer paying subscribers ad-free versions of their podcasts and give them access to exclusive content.
Supercast uses Stripe to process payments which charges a transaction fee of 2.9% + $0.30 on each subscriber payment the creator receives.
SuperPay is a cloud-based payment processing software, which helps businesses set up collection dates and regulate one-time and recurring transactions. Features include multi-factor authentication, payment requests management, bulk data upload, automated email notifications, and customizable branding.
This platform offers two plans – Standard and Enterprise. In the Standard plan, users pay 1% per transaction. An Enterprise plan is available for businesses with large payment volumes and it’s possible after contacting support. There are also processing fees to their payment partners which are 2,9% + 30 cents.
Thrivecart is an online shopping cart solution that lets creators create high-converting checkout pages and collect payments on the website. It’s best for selling physical and digital products, including ebooks and digital courses. It also supports subscription plans and categorizes customers based on their membership plans.
The platform offers one-time payment for lifetime access in two plans, standard, and pro. Standard Plan is a one-time payment plan that allows users to create an unlimited number of stores without any monthly fees. This plan costs $495 which is a one-time fee. Pro plan is a special plan for users who want to use the advanced features of ThriveCart.The Pro Plan is a lifetime subscription plan and it costs $690.
For a wide array of podcasters, YouTubers, writers, journalists, artists, comedians, and other creatives, Patreon has provided a convenient means as a source of income that was previously unavailable. Patreon’s conception of crowdfunding, based as it is on ongoing donations from patrons in exchange for premium content, is well-suited to those who produce work that people enjoy but who previously had no means by which to get compensated for their toil. However, it has its drawbacks and flaws, which is why users and creators alike are constantly on the lookout for Patreon alternatives.
Membership platforms are among the most popular ways to make money online for bloggers, course creators, knowledge entrepreneurs, artists, marketers, etc. Customers also prefer membership programs more than full-payment digital products because they can pay a small monthly fee to access unlimited knowledge resources.
nyone who wants to own a community, build his own brand or business, and be paid for creating what he loves.
There are several pros and cons of Patreon. For content creators running a one-person brand, Patreon is often the obvious choice for building up a subscriber base. It can work well for niche creators with a passionate fan base, and it allows you to set flexible funding goals. It also provides the analytics needed to track your audience. On the other hand, Patreon users can suffer some significant setbacks, especially if they’re new to the platform.
A membership platform is a business where customers get access to content for members. Often, membership sites are paid and the content is exclusive.