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The 5 Best Patreon Alternatives

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For a wide array of podcasters, YouTubers, writers, journalists, artists, comedians, and other creatives, Patreon has provided a convenient means of monetizing output that was previously unavailable. Patreon’s conception of crowdfunding, based as it is on ongoing donations from patrons in exchange for exclusive 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, demand is rising for alternatives to Patreon, as the platform has alienated everyone from adult content creators to far-right political figures over the past several years. (Some content restrictions, though, owe more to the changing policies of payment processors and new laws such as FOSTA-SESTA than to crowdfunding platforms themselves). There are several other good options for raising money from the public to support what you do. Keep reading to learn about some of them.

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CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Podia

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Best for selling subscriptions Patreon-style or selling online courses and digital downloads.
Best for selling subscriptions Patreon-style or selling online courses and digital downloads.

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Kickstarter

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Best for one-time projects.
Best for one-time projects.

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Indiegogo

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Best for a Patreon-style ongoing campaign option.
Best for a Patreon-style ongoing campaign option.

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Memberful

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Best for selling subscriptions through your website.
Best for selling subscriptions through your website.

Visit Site

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Liberapay

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Best for an open-source donations platform.
Best for an open-source donations platform.

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Alternatives To Patreon

When comparing alternatives to Patreon (such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo), you’ll need to decide what factors are most important. Is it the option to continuously accept donations and raise funds? Or would you prefer low platform fees? Each of these Patreon alternatives offers something a bit different.

1. Podia

Podia



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  • Through Podia you can sell access to your work on an ongoing basis like Patreon
  • No fees are taken from what you earn beyond payment processing fees
  • Using Podia to sell paid memberships costs the campaigner $79/month
  • Using Podia to sell online courses and digital downloads cost the campaigner $39/month

Podia β€” formerly known as Coach β€” has long offered the ability to sell online courses and digital downloads as standalone purchases. As of late 2017, the company began offering a Patreon-like membership service to those seeking to offer paid memberships, which provide continuous access to the creator’s content.

Podia is keen to invite comparisons between itself and Patreon. In fact, the company put up a page on its site devoted to showcasing itself as a superior Patreon alternative. The main selling point is this: Podia charges no fees on the donations your contributors make. Instead, you pay a flat monthly fee to use the service. You’ll have to pay $79 per month for the membership package and $39/month if you just want to sell online courses/digital downloads and use Podia’s email marketing services.

If you can draw a significant monthly income from selling access to your work, you’ll be paying less in fees with Podia than with Patreon. However, if you pull in just a few hundred bucks a month or less, Podia is not a more cost-effective crowdfunding service than Patreon. It all depends on the level of support you get from your followers.

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2. Kickstarter

Kickstarter



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  • Crowdfunding for one-time creative endeavors, not continuous funding
  • All-or-nothing funding (if your campaign doesn’t hit its fundraising target, you get nothing)
  • Kickstarter’s platform fee is 5%
  • Kickstarter prescreens campaigns before approving them
  • A Kickstarter campaign must offer physical rewards to backers

You probably already know that Kickstarter crowdfunding campaigns do not operate on Patreon’s recurring subscription-like model. However, if you’re a creator whose focus is on putting out, say, a few major works per year β€” as opposed to a continuous stream of content β€” Kickstarter may work for you. You can always launch a new Kickstarter campaign after your old one runs its course.

Kickstarter vets crowdfunders fairly strenuously, so not everyone gets in. It’s a more exclusive platform than most of its rewards crowdfunding peers, which is a factor to consider if you’re a small-time creator. But with over $5 billion pledged to Kickstarter campaigns β€” and over 185K successfully-funded projects β€” Kickstarter’s track record is nothing to sneeze at.

One thing to keep in mind about Kickstarter campaigns is that the funding is all-or-nothing. If you don’t raise your goal amount within the time frame you specify (anywhere from one to 60 days), you get nothing. Launching a Kickstarter campaign requires a certain degree of confidence in your ultimate success.

At 5%, Kickstarter’s platform fees are equal to those of Patreon’s lowest-tier subscription level. Payment processing fees are similar between the two platforms as well.

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3. Indiegogo

Indiegogo



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  • Crowdfunding for one-time endeavors
  • Funding is all-or-nothing or keep-what-you-raise (your choice)
  • Indiegogo’s platform fee is 5%
  • Indiegogo does not prescreen campaigns

Indiegogo is another crowdfunding alternative to consider, and while it has a lot in common with Kickstarter, there are some key differences.

Like Kickstarter, Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns are not continuous and have concrete start dates and end dates. Unlike Kickstarter, however, Indiegogo gives you the option of launching a Patreon-like continuous crowdfunding campaign after succeeding with your initial campaign. This service is called Indiegogo InDemand, and you can use it if you’ve already run a successful crowdfunding campaign with any platform β€” not just Indiegogo.

Indiegogo also doesn’t prescreen the campaigners who sign up to crowdfund, making it a less exclusive platform for creatives. Indiegogo also gives you the choice of whether you want your campaign to be all-or-nothing or keep-whatever-you-raise in its structure. With the latter, you won’t be left empty-handed if your campaign fails to reach its funding goal.

The maximum campaign length with Indiegogo is 60 days. Indiegogo’s fee structure is nearly identical to that of Kickstarter and Patreon Lite β€” 5% to the platform, ~3% to the payment processor.

Think of Indiegogo as a slightly more relaxed Kickstarter.

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4. Memberful

Memberful



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  • Sell memberships to those who enjoy your work Γ  la Patreon
  • Platform fees and monthly charges are dependent on which subscription package you purchase

Memberful is a decidedly different way to make money from your work. It’s not a crowdfunding platform but rather a plugin you install on your website through which people sign up for subscriptions to receive exclusive content. You can set up the application to accept subscriptions for different lengths of time (monthly, yearly, etc.) and for different subscription plans that give access to varying levels of content.

As it turns out, Patreon recognized the similarities between what it and Memberful have to offer. In 2018, Patreon acquired Memberful, though it still operates as a separate, standalone service.

If you sign up for Memberful’s Starter plan, you won’t pay a monthly fee, but Memberful will take a whopping 10% of what you earn β€” and that’s before you get to the payment processing fees. Memberful’s Pro plan costs $25 per month and cuts the platform fee down to 4.9%. The Premium plan, at $100/month, eliminates all Memberful branding, but it still retains the 4.9% platform fee. Both the Pro plan and the Premium plan give access to features such as coupon codes and newsletter integrations.

Memberful isn’t a funding solution for everybody, but for the right sort of creator, it’s worth checking out.

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5. Liberapay

Liberapay



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  • Recurring donations platform
  • No platform fees or monthly fees β€” only payment processing fees are taken out of what you earn
  • Liberapay is for donations, not payments, in return for products or services

Founded in France in 2015, Liberapay describes itself as a recurrent donations platform, which naturally invites comparisons with Patreon. Unlike Patreon, however, Liberapay is open-source and collects no platform fees from what you raise. Only payment processing fees will be taken out of what you earn. Stripe and PayPal are your payment processing options.

Liberapay is strictly for donations. Therefore, transactions cannot be linked to rewards or product offers. As such, more commercially-oriented campaigns may struggle to gain traction with Liberapay. However, if you want to collect recurring donations on an open-source platform free of many of Patreon’s content restrictions, Liberapay is definitely worth a look.

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Bonus Option: Add A Donation Button To Your Website

  • No 5% platform fee, just payment processing fees
  • A simple way to solicit funds from those who enjoy your work

Here’s a crowdfunding solution that ensures you won’t have to pay a platform fee to anybody: You can just directly solicit donations from those who enjoy your work. Payment providers such as Square, Stripe, and PayPal have buttons you can place on your site for just this purpose.

These payment providers allow people to make recurring payments, so your fans can sign up to support you on a continuing basis (just as with Patreon). You won’t be getting any of the extra crowdfunding services you’d get with Patreon (reward distribution, patron management, analytics, etc.), so this funding solution will require more of your time and energy than Patreon does. Then again, you’ll get more of every pledge made to you. If you have an existing fanbase motivated toΒ pay up for your content and the ability to manage everything manually, this may be a crowdfunding route worth exploring.

Final Thoughts

Monetizing your work online has long been challenging. Thankfully, platforms such as Patreon and its various competitors have arisen to plug this market gap and help creators make money from the very people who consume and enjoy their content. No Patreon alternative is right for everybody, so check out these platforms (heck, check out other ones too if you want!) to determine which funding model makes sense for your particular needs.

Now go forth, create, and get paid!

In Summary: Alternatives To Patreon

  1. Podia: Best for selling subscriptions Patreon-style or selling online courses and digital downloads.
  2. Kickstarter: Best for one-time projects.
  3. Indiegogo: Best for a Patreon-style ongoing campaign option.
  4. Memberful: Best for selling subscriptions through your website.
  5. Liberapay: Best for an open-source donations platform.
Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers is a writer and cereal chef from San Diego. He graduated with a Political Science degree from San Diego State University in 2001. He's been writing about website builders, crowdfunding sites, online lenders, and credit cards for Merchant Maverick since 2015. Additionally, Jason can't eat raisins.
Jason Vissers

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17 Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Gerardji

    This article was written in internet business-speak, so I don’t understand any of it. I cannot tell the differences between one crowdfunder and another.

      Tami Duncan

      I was wondering if you knew anything about Subscription Star. I was about to sign up for Patreon but then discovered they have been censoring people. I don’t want to support that. I want to put my yoga classes, meditation classes, workshop up in a tiered membership with a big of social media capabilities.

        Jessica Dinsmore

        Hi Tami,
        It doesn’t look like we’ve reviewed Subscription Star yet, so unfortunately we can’t give an opinion one way or the other.

          Grace Carter

          I am a Creator on Patreon, and as in the beginning was nice and easy, these last months, it’s harder and harder. I get messages from my Patrons, telling me how challenging is to make a payment and/or to login. That’s why people give up, and- instead of me growing- my numbers declining. What a shame! Now I am facing a dilemma; What’s next?
          Thank you for letting me know about DRIP.
          Grace Carter

            This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

            Abelius

            I’ve just sent a message to Podia asking them to clarify some doubts I have. But it seems a damn fine solution for me.

              This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

              Jessica Dinsmore

              You can check out our 3.5 star review of Podia, if you’d like more info on them.

                This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                Mike

                Patreon is a failing platform, it’s support is non-existent, and currently, following a hard drive failure, I am now told that I am not known and they have sent a verification email to an address that I cannot access (long story, but I’ve lost my little black book and Google isn’t the most helpful of organisations), so, I can’t post content, nor will I be able to access the funding. The last time I contacted support, it took that long for them to reply, I had forgotten that I had actualy made the request in the first place.

                I am beyond frustrated, as a creator platform, the fact that a creator cannot access their account should be pretty high on the list, but they don’t seem to care in the slightest.

                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                  Bill

                  I agree. Patreon is growing too quickly or something. While it was originally a great idea, there’s no way 60 employees can service 50,000 creators. I waited over two weeks for a support email reply.
                  I’m sure they’re all wonderful folks but the growing pains have me pretty scared to trust them with my fans.

                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                    Frank

                    Unfortunately these crowdfunding platforms are designed to help those that don’t need it, they are
                    mostly professionals who already have a huge following and have money, while it’s extremely
                    difficult for non-professionals who don’t have a following and money, I know, I tried them and
                    did not get a dime out of it!

                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                      Roo

                      That’s exactly my story now. However the work we do is extremely important |we discover and protect rare or unique trees in Thailand |now its trees of Rudraksha, unique kind which could be found just here| and creating shareable concepts to apply them worldwide|, I couldn’t receive any support = not from that crowd sourcing, nor from various funds. Now all spare time we prefer to forward to our own websites and products, and spread it among the friends, who supporting us with very nesessary funds.

                        This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                        George

                        Why isn’t Ko-fi on this list? It has quite a large cult following among young artists and content creators.
                        Many of my artist friends love it. It’s free as a tip jar. There’s no transaction fees. It also has a Gold (“patreon-lite”) offering

                          This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                          david

                          Thanks for this tip about Ko-fi. It’s exactly the alternative we need. <3

                            This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                            Rees

                            Ko-fi is paypal only so it’s on borrowed time. Paypal is unscrupulous and very merchant/creator unfriendly.

                              This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                              Pietro Bernardi

                              Very nice article, just what I was looking for. You have spared me the time to search for alternatives. Thank you.

                                This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                HearszAM

                                These are great options for some, but for those that are Adult Game Creators, there doesn’t seem to be a realistic or safe option, even a few months after the new rules by Patreon came into play.

                                Paypal and Stripe don’t openly support Adult games, and most fans use the former to pay for their monthly subscription.

                                So who would you recommend for an Adult Game Creator to use, that has a similar monetization system, with the same re-occuring monthly payment options that Patreon has in place?

                                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                  Jason Vissers

                                  Hello! The problem is that in terms of services that are roughly equivalent to Patreon (recurring monthly payment in exchange for content), most are *more* restrictive of adult content than Patreon, not less. The one crowdfunding option that appears to cater to adult game creators is Kimochi Red Light. It’s been around for about a year, and it doesn’t look like they host crowdfunding campaigns with recurring payments — the campaigns seem to be Kickstarter/Indiegogo-style one-time deals. However, it appears to be the only legit crowdfunding site currently in existence that serves adult game makers.

                                  As a less-convenient alternative, CCBill is an online payment processor that caters to adult businesses. It may be worth going directly to them to arrange a monthly subscription service.

                                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                    John Laing

                                    If you’re going to include “coming soon,” what about http://www.sponsorion.com/ ? They claim to be catering to adult content creators specifically, as a competitor based directly on Patreon’s model. Personally I know nothing more than what’s stated on that website, but it does seem relevant if there really are so few options.

                                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

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