Looking for Patreon alternatives that better fit your creative and financial goals?
This guide highlights key players in 2024 offering more favorable terms, diverse functionalities, and lower fees, giving you the control and flexibility you need. Read on to find your perfect platform match.
What we will discover together:
Patreon has experienced significant growth with creators facing platform fees ranging from 5% to 12%, plus payment processing fees, which can impact net earnings.
Creators are seeking Patreon alternatives that offer more favorable terms, unique features, and support for diverse content formats, with Disco, Ghost.org, Buy Me a Coffee, and others making notable advancements.
Direct community engagement, control over content, and a diverse range of monetization strategies are key benefits when considering building a custom community platform, despite the challenges of audience transition.
What is Patreon?
Patreon, launched in 2013, is a popular crowdfunding platform that enables fans to provide ongoing financial support to their favorite artists and creators. With more than 210,000 creators and over 6 million patrons, the platform has seen its patron numbers triple and its creator count increase by 18.39% since September 2020.
The highest-earning creators on Patreon are:
Video producers, who make the most money overall
Podcasters, who generate the most revenue relative to their number of creators
However, Patreon is not without its shortcomings. For instance, creators are billed for platform fees ranging from 5% to 12% upon earnings withdrawal. This pricing model, while initially cost-effective, can become quite costly as a creator’s income grows.
Disadvantages of Using Patreon
❌ Apart from the platform fees, Patreon also charges payment processing fees, which include an additional fee of 2.9% + $0.30 per successful payment over USD3, further eating into creators’ earnings.
❌ The platform’s donation-based model primarily appeals to a small segment of a creator’s following, with an average conversion rate of 0.15% to 0.75%, which can limit potential income and reach.
Other challenges apart from pricing and potential earnings:
❌ Limited support for alternative content formats, which could limit creators looking to diversify their offerings
❌ Censorship issues lead to subscriber losses and payment processing complications, particularly with revoked PayPal authorizations.
❌ Users express dissatisfaction with the absence of bidirectional communication features in the community platform, highlighting a need for improved interaction capabilities.
❌ Criticism is directed towards the app's organization, particularly for users trying to access posts beyond the most recent. The lack of options to customize the view order and filter posts based on visibility status is perceived as a significant inconvenience.
❌ Concerns are raised about the high cost, with implications for donors contributing $1, potentially losing a substantial portion of their support.
Additionally, users note that installment payments for producers may not offer significant benefits. These reviews collectively point to challenges in affordability and perceived value for both supporters and content creators on the platform.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Patreon Alternative
Several factors should be evaluated when considering a Patreon alternative.
✔️ One such factor is whether the alternative operates on a percentage revenue cut or a flat fee model, with the latter potentially offering more cost-effectiveness as your revenue expands. Some platforms, such as Gumroad, charge a flat fee of 10% on transactions, while others, like Disco LMS, don't charge any transaction fees when you use their platform, only a subscription fee.
✔️ Look for platforms with distinct features, such as Disco's learning suite with built-in community-building features and monetization tools.
✔️ Also, examine the platforms for integrated payment options like Stripe and PayPal, and ensure they have robust content protection if offering exclusive or premium content.
✔️ Finally, consider the ease of use; selecting a platform that offers user-friendly interfaces and simple tools will benefit both creators and supporters, compared to other platforms.
Top 8 Patreon Alternatives in 2024
There is a vast realm of the best Patreon alternative platforms to explore, many of which have gained traction among creators in 2024. These platforms cater to a wide array of creator needs and preferences, offering unique features ranging from one-off donations to comprehensive membership models.
In the subsequent sections, each of these platforms will be discussed in detail, showcasing their key features, benefits, and comparison with Patreon. Regardless of whether you’re an artist, musician, writer, or educator, you will likely find a platform that suits your specific needs and objectives.
#1. DISCO - The #1 Patreon Alternative for Digital Creators
Deservedly taking the top spot as the #1 Patreon alternative, Disco offers an ultimate platform with top features. Specifically designed to host learning communities, boot camps, academies, and micro-schools, Disco is an ideal platform for digital creators, coaches, consultants, and educational entrepreneurs.
A few features of our platform include the following:
Member Management, User Profiles, and Membership Database:
Excels in streamlining membership plans by providing robust tools for member management, user profiles, and a comprehensive membership database.
This feature ensures seamless administration, enabling community operators to efficiently organize, track, and manage their members. The streamlined process enhances user experience, fostering a sense of community and belonging.
Community Engagement Tools:
Offers an array of community engagement tools, including discussion boards, messaging, channels, threads, and live events.
These features create a dynamic and interactive space, encouraging meaningful interactions among community members. The diverse set of tools caters to different communication preferences, ensuring a vibrant and engaged community experience.
Engagement Reports and Analytics:
The engagement reports and analytics feature by Disco provides valuable insights into user activities, helping community operators understand member engagement patterns.
This data-driven approach empowers operators to make informed decisions, optimize community strategies, and enhance overall community dynamics for a more impactful and engaging user experience.
Customization Options and Integrations:
Disco stands out with its extensive customization options, allowing community operators to tailor the platform to their specific needs. From discussion threads to direct messaging, the platform offers flexibility for customization.
Integration with multiple tools ensures a seamless user experience and provides community operators with a well-rounded solution that aligns with their unique requirements.
AI-Powered Tools and Automation for Content Creation:
AI Co-Pilot feature is one of Disco's advanced features harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and automation to expedite content creation. This innovative tool assists community operators in generating content efficiently, saving time and effort. The integration of AI-powered tools ensures a streamlined content creation process, enabling operators to deliver fresh and engaging content to their community members effectively.
Disco offers a 14-day free trial to digital creators, influencers, and Patreon users to create their own communities while keeping 100% of their revenue.
#2. Ghost - Perfect for Running a Media Business
If you’re a journalist or content creator, Ghost.org offers an all-in-one platform designed for running a media business without charging fees on revenue generated from subscribers. Ghost.org’s content creation experience is calm and focused, with an intuitive content interface and a robust editor capable of integrating various rich media formats.
Despite its focus on content, Ghost.org has some limitations in complex membership package customization, especially when it comes to offering exclusive content. However, it positions itself as a valuable tool for establishing and growing independent editorial brands.
Pricing for Ghost.org:
Like Disco, Ghost does not have transaction fees and relies on a subscription model. Ghost provides an integrated platform for creative businesses, consolidating publishing, newsletters, member management, and payments in a single solution.
The pricing plans cater to diverse audience sizes, with the STARTER plan at $11 per month for 500 members, escalating to the BUSINESS plan at $249 per month for up to 10,000 members. Each tier offers distinctive features, making Ghost a flexible and scalable option for businesses seeking a comprehensive and tailored publishing platform.
#3. BuyMeACoffee - Ideal for Donations and Memberships
Buy Me a Coffee is a digital platform that allows creators to receive monthly or yearly donations and memberships. The platform supports one-time payments in addition to regular membership contributions, making it easy for supporters to contribute without the need for an account.
Buy Me A Coffee offers the following features:
Charges a transaction fee of 5% for the support processed through their platform
Creators can offer benefits to their subscribers
Creators can build personal profiles to share their work
Creators can sell memberships with built-in marketing tools
The platform operates on a free-to-use model, with a 5% transaction fee applicable only when withdrawing funds, making it a cost-effective solution for creators.
Pricing for Buy me a coffee:
Buy Me a Coffee operates without imposing a monthly fee; all features, such as publishing and emails, are accessible to users free of charge.
The platform sustains itself through a 5% transaction fee, ensuring creators retain 95% of their earnings. Importantly, the service remains ad-free, and user data is never sold, upholding a commitment to privacy and a seamless user experience.
#4. Substack - Ideal for Paid Newsletter-based Memberships
Substack is a platform designed specifically for independent writers who write regular blog posts and newsletters. Writers on Substack can grow their revenue by monetizing content through a paid newsletter system, offering various subscription tiers and corresponding benefits.
Substack empowers writers with content ownership, including their email list and payment relationships, and provides benefits such as:
Direct promotion to avid readers
A committed fan base
A simple setup, allowing writers to import existing mailing lists to quickly kick-start their publications and grow their audience within Substack’s writer-reader ecosystem.
Pricing for Substack:
While Substack allows creators to start for free, they implement a 10% fee on transactions once you begin utilizing their paid membership services.
#5. Gumroad - Perfect Platform to Sell Digital Products
Gumroad is a platform that allows people to sell digital and physical products, with a focus on digital assets like music, ebooks, and coaching sessions. The platform enables creators to sell almost anything easily, catering to various types of digital and physical products.
Gumroad includes public landing pages with built-in marketing features and offers flexible pricing options for members, with integrated e-commerce functionality to enhance the customer experience. Therefore, if you’re a creator looking to sell a diverse range of products, Gumroad could be your ideal Patreon alternative.
Pricing for Gumroad:
Like Substack, Gumroad has a tiered transaction fee structure starting at 10% for every sale.
#6. Sellfy - E-commerce Platform for Digital Assets
Sellfy provides creators with a dynamic e-commerce solution tailored for selling both digital and physical goods. It stands out with features that include a customizable online storefront, options for digital subscriptions and print-on-demand products, as well as the ability to sell video content and handle physical item sales.
This versatility in revenue streams positions Sellfy as an attractive choice for creators seeking to diversify their monetization strategies.
Pricing for Sellfy:
Charging a flat monthly rate rather than a percentage of sales, Sellfy can lead to more revenue efficiency for those who sell digital products. The platform’s paid plans begin at $29 per month, allowing creators to choose a pricing option that suits their needs and budget.
#7. Podia - Sell Online Courses and Memberships
Podia stands out as an all-in-one platform enabling creators to sell online courses, memberships, and digital downloads. The platform enables creators to engage with their audience on multiple levels, selling unlimited courses and digital products, with membership options and promotional features like coupon codes.
Pricing for Podia:
Podia’s pricing model starts at $0-$33/month with 10-5% transaction fees on sales, making it a cost-effective solution for creators. This platform assists content creators with email marketing, webinars, and other aspects of their business in one platform, catering especially to entrepreneurs and solopreneurs on a budget.
It serves as a conduit for the exchange of knowledge and creativity on your own website, offering various content delivery tools including ebooks, audio lessons, and webinars.
Tips for Transitioning Your Audience to a New Platform
Moving your audience from Patreon to a new platform can be intricate. Nevertheless, the transition process can be streamlined by:
Keeping your audience informed about the change
Elucidating the benefits of the new platform
Guiding them through the steps of the transition
Maintaining transparency about any concerns
Identifying and cultivating relationships with highly engaged community members, as they can help encourage others during the transition.
Holding regular feedback sessions with community leaders can maintain their commitment and keep them informed on the impact of their contributions. Additionally, adopting simple community management tools can:
Craft a welcoming environment
Minimize additional accounts for engagement
Provide clear participating instructions
Break down projects into manageable tasks for easier onboarding.
Creators can migrate their entire community, including members, content, and payment information, without the hassle of manual data transfer. The benefits of using Disco's migration tool include minimal disruption to your community, continuity of membership subscriptions, and the retention of valuable historical data.
This streamlined approach ensures that creators can swiftly embrace Disco's comprehensive suite of features to enhance their community's learning and engagement experience.
Supercharge Your Learning Community
A step-by-step guide to build and grow a thriving learning community.
Take Advantage of Disco's 14-day Free Trial Without Transaction Fees!
As creators continue to explore avenues beyond Patreon, the search for platforms with lower fees, diverse features, and better engagement tools has become paramount.
In 2024, alternatives like Disco, Substack, Ghost, and others have risen to prominence, each providing distinct advantages for creators looking to monetize their content and connect with their audience.
Among these alternatives, Disco stands out as the superior choice for creators seeking to do more and earn more. With its comprehensive membership platform, creators benefit from a competitive pricing model devoid of transaction fees, a suite of community engagement tools, and AI-powered content creation assistance.
Take advantage of their 14-day free trial to experience the full range of features without any transaction fees. You can also try our interactive product tour on our website!
The Learning Community Playbook delivers actionable insights, innovative frameworks, and valuable strategies to spark engagement, nurture growth, and foster deeper connections. Access this resource and start building a vibrant learning ecosystem today!