With the demand for Patreon alternatives rising, new platforms are popping up every other day. Lucky us. Now, the marketplace for platforms to build up and monetize your subscriber base has something for everyone.
We’ve done the work for you in this article to help you make the right choice. This post compiles a curated list of the 12+ best Patreon alternatives available today, comparing use cases, features, and pricing.
So sit back, get cozy, and read on to find the best Patreon alternative platform for you in 2020.
What’s Patreon? The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Patreon is the OG platform for creators to monetize their subscriber base. But increasing prices have sent some users running for the hills.
Meanwhile, due to claims of censorship, Patreon has felt the heat from high-profile Patreon creators like Jordan Peterson making their losses public and Sam Harris closing his account.
Best For: The majority of creators on Patreon are artists, vloggers, musicians, and podcasters. Because Patreon is one of the oldest platforms, the creator base has grown very diverse. It’s basically made for creatives of all kinds.
- Works well for established niche creators that have passionate fans
- Built-in email and patron-only posts to communicate directly with the audience
- Flexible funding goals
- Consistent and reliable payments
- No promotional tools and limited user support
- It’s difficult to build your community on the platform and the discoverability of creative projects is low
- Creators of political content and certain content genres have experienced crackdowns in 2019 due to new and fuzzy content restriction policies
Patreon is free to get started, but they take a flat 5% fee once you start earning (along with the industry-standard rate for processing payments).
They’ve recently launched three different pricing tiers: Lite, Pro, Premium. These tiers have 5%, 8%, and 12% flat fees respectively.
The processing payment rates apply to all tiers and are as follows: 2.9% + $0.30 per successful payment over $3 and 5% + $0.10 per successful payment of $3 or less.
The 12 Best Patreon Alternatives in 2020
Without further ado, here’s our curated list of the best Patreon alternatives:
- Buy Me A Coffee
Let’s dive in.
1. Heights Platform
Source: Heights Platform
Heights Platform is geared towards helping you create and sell online courses using your own branded platform and a custom domain. It’s one of the best customizable e-learning platforms.
Best for: Solopreneurs, coaches, and consultants who want to sell their expertise through online courses.
- You set your own course fees
- Built-in payment processing, content management and analytics
- Unlimited courses, content, and students
- Supercharged student engagement with points, badges, projects and forums
- White-labelling to customize with your own branding
- No built-in email marketing. But this shouldn’t be a problem if you already prefer working from your email provider
- It’s missing a few features that other bigger players have (e.g. test/quiz creation)
Standard subscription plans start from $39, $79, or $399 per month. But you set your own course fees, and get to keep it all. Standard-industry transaction fees of 2.9% + $0.30 apply per payment. We had a lifetime deal available on Appsumo.
Tribe is a cloud-based community platform that lets you engage and connect with your followers.
It’s awesome for harnessing the power of social connection to better understand your customer base, acquire and retain customers, and boost conversions.
Best for: Marketers and agencies who want to build a community along with WordPress users that want simplified Google Analytics inside WordPress.
- Cloud-based and fully customizable
- Includes simplified Google Analytics
- Automatically email analytic reports to your clients
- See your highest performing marketing campaigns & pages
- Build a thriving community and grow your customer base
- Users have reported minor bugs
- No mobile app
Paid plans start from $85 and $249 per month or more for large enterprises or those in regulated industries. Tribe also offers a free plan for individuals or smaller businesses. We also had a lifetime deal available for Tribe on Appsumo.
Podia is an affordable, all-in-one marketing platform that helps you sell digital products, online courses, and memberships.
Best for: Start-ups, solopreneurs, and anyone on a tight budget selling memberships, downloadable digital content, and online courses. Similar to Zipsell.
- Affordable pricing
- Affiliate program
- Built-in email marketing
- Embedded checkout
- Video hosting support
- 0% transaction fee on sales
- Email builder lacks customizable fields
- Membership feature only comes with higher-priced plans
Monthly plans start at $39 and $79. Payment processors also charge a 2.9% + $0.30 fee, which may vary based on your location.
4. Buy Me a Coffee
Source: Buy Me a Coffee
Buy Me a Coffee is a donation-based membership platform that accepts one-off and monthly support from your fans.
Best for: Artists, creators, and anyone with an audience to get tips.
- Allows one-off donations
- Ability to sell digital downloads and share exclusive content
- Payments are transferred automatically to your account
- Not suitable for larger businesses or anyone looking to scale up
There are no monthly fees or paywall features. The platform charges a 5% transaction fee and standard PayPal and Stripe payment processing fees.
Memberful is a membership plugin for WordPress. It lets site owners sell memberships and customize the customer experience. Plus, it integrates with Stripe, WordPress, and Mailchimp.
- Custom branding
- Email newsletters
- Coupons, free trials, and gifts
- Intuitive membership management
- Members-only content and forums
- Analytics and conversion tracking
- Not as many features as most other platforms
Starts free with a 10% transaction fee. Paid plans start from $25 monthly with 4.9% transaction fees.
At Ko-fi, you can share your work, and fans can support you for the price of a cup of coffee — or more. You can set up donations and commissions on a one-time basis or monthly.
Best for: Jar-tipping for artists, writers, cosplayers, podcasters, etc. Similar tools include Flattr.
- Easy, fuss-free user experience
- No supporter sign-up required
- Ability to offer memberships, paywall content, and personalized commissions
- Minimum donation of $3
- No built-in marketing tools
Other than the standard payment processing fees, Ko-fi takes 0% of your donations. Paid premium features come with the Gold plan at $6 per month.
Liberapay is a platform for recurring donations. Donations are capped at €100.00 a week per donor to prevent outside influence.
Best for: Creators who produce continuous work – content or software – and maintain the upkeep. Similar to Open Collective.
- No platform fees
- Teams feature
- No obligation to give rewards
- Supports multiple languages and currencies
- You can integrate your accounts on Twitter, GitHub, Mastodon, and nine other platforms
- Hard to make long-term projections
- A small and relatively new company, so you may not get enough exposure
Liberapay charges 0% platform fees. You’re subject to standard transaction fees from your payment processor.
SubscribeStar is an independent membership platform catering to educators, musicians, and visual artists.
Best for: Celebrities, vloggers, entertainers, coaches, teachers, radio hosts, gamers with streaming experience, individual preachers, event organizers, and clerical organizations.
- Liberal content policies — any legal content is allowed
- Built-in stats and analytics tools
- Post editor
- Anti-scraping and anti-skimming content protection
- Advanced integration options to third-party suppliers
- No PayPal or Stripe
- Restrictions on payment withdrawal
- Freedom with content policies means the platform has some association with more extremist ideologies
Charges a 5% flat service fee on every pledge, and a 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee on successful payments. If you request a payout, you’ll be charged a payout fee (minimum $3) that varies based on the payout frequency and amount.
Kickstarter helps breathe life into projects. It’s ideal for films, music, arts, theaters, games, comics, designs, photography, and so on.
Best for: Developers, designers, support specialists, writers, musicians, painters, poets, gamers, robot-builders, and many more
- Suitable for one-time projects
- All projects are carefully vetted before publication
- Not all projects succeed
- Not suitable for crowdfunding for charity as well as personal use
- You only receive the funding if you meet your fundraising target
- No monthly recurring subscription model
- In case your project is successful, you’ll have to give physical rewards to your backers
If your project doesn’t meet its goal, you pay nothing. But if it succeeds, you’ll be charged a 5% fee, separate 3% to 5% payment processing fees, and $0.05 to $0.20 per pledge.
Indiegogo supports entrepreneurs working to bring their dreams to life. It offers crowdfunding for both creative and charitable projects in tech and design before they go mainstream.
Best for: Charitable crowdfunding for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business ideas
- No fees for charity campaigns
- You can opt for either all-or-nothing or keep-it-all funding
- Campaigns are not pre-screened, so you’ll have better prospects of success without an approval process
- Allows for both rewards and equity crowdfunding
- Less traffic and visibility than Kickstarter
- No options for a monthly recurring subscription
- Communication between campaigners and their backers is limited
No monthly costs except for a 5% to 8% platform fee across all crowdfunding campaigns, and a 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee
Gumroad is an e-commerce tool for content creators selling books, courses, music, and film.
Best for: Individual artists and content creators
- Simple to use
- Free starter plan
- Membership platform
- Works well for both digital and physical products
- You can embed Gumroad on your website
- No A/B split testing
- Does not support ApplePay
- Email support only
- Limited help center
Free starter plan and a paid creator plan for $10 monthly. Standard transaction fees of 3.5% or 5% + $0.30 per charge apply.
12. Anchor Listener Support
Anchor, the super simple mobile podcast production and distribution app, has a Patreon-style subscription service called Listener Support. Anchor creators can activate Listener Support to receive recurring donations from fans.
Best for: Podcasters who use Anchor.
- Cash out whenever you want – Anchor sends out money right away
- Low fees
- Supports Apple Pay & Google Pay
- Clear community guidelines
- Only available for Anchor users
- Not available globally (only available for US Anchor creators)
- Low discoverability on platform
Free to use. Anchor takes a flat 4.5% fee (waived for 6 months from April 1st), alongside Stripe’s standard 5% +$0.10 processing fee.
Sticking with Big Tech: Facebook & YouTube
Big players like Facebook and YouTube have launched their own monthly subscription plans.
Facebook lets audiences support pages with recurring monthly donations in exchange for badges, exclusive content, and personal interactions. But sadly, only pages that have been invited can use fan subscriptions. You can learn more about the service here.
Once you hit 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time, you can apply to the YouTube Partner Program. For more information, see here.
How To Pick The Best Platform For Yourself
What is the best Patreon alternative for you or your business?
Clearly, there’s no one-size-fits-all platform. The better question to ask is, what works best for your use case?
- If you’re looking to sell an online course, go with a platform like Heights Platform or Podia. Both have the community aspect as well as features built around online education.
- If you’re a marketer or solopreneur looking to build your community, you might opt for a platform like Tribe.
- If you just want to fund your side-hustles or passions, look into Buy Me A Coffee or Ko-fi.
You have the vision. Check out what works best for you and most importantly, enjoy the creative process.