10 Best Patreon alternatives for monetization in 2023 (free & paid)
All YouTubers, podcasters, influencers, writers, or other digital content creators at some point start thinking about monetizing content. And I’ll be damned if Patreon isn’t the first thing that pops into your head.
But, even though Patreon is a great platform for offering members-only content, is it really the best (or the only) way to monetize your audience?
The short answer is:
That’s why we’ve decided to gather a list of the best Patreon alternatives for different types of creators and business models. Whether you’re an influencer looking for a way to share exclusive content, a YouTuber looking to launch your online course, or anyone in between, this article will help you find a solution that’ll fit you best.
What percentage does Patreon take?
While Patreon does a great job helping artists and creators build a consistent income stream from their content, it still has a few noticeable weaknesses. For example, even though Patreon doesn’t have a subscription fee, it doesn’t mean that it’s free to use. Currently, it charges a flat 5%, 8%, and 12% on top of the payment processing fees of your total monthly income, depending on the plan you pick.
There are other reasons why you might start looking for a Patreon alternative:
- Patreon has more than 200K active users, which creates a highly competitive environment.
- Patreon has a long-lasting censorship issue. Its content restrictions may affect various niches (especially political content).
- It’s difficult to categorize your content on Patreon, which makes it quite problematic for your patrons to look for older posts on your page.
- Patreon lacks essential promotional tools, which makes it challenging to promote your exclusive content.
- Patreon has monthly pay-outs, which means that you don’t get instant access to your earnings.
All this sums up to a pretty good reason to at least look into possible Patreon alternatives that might be better at suiting your needs.
10 Best Patreon alternatives
In this article, we’ll show you the 10 best Patreon alternatives, and prove that choosing the best membership platform isn’t a black-and-white decision. We’ll cover key functionality, explain whom they suit best, as well as cover how they differ from Patreon.
There’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s dig right in.
1. Sellfy — best Patreon alternative for selling your products
Sellfy is an all-in-one eCommerce platform for creators, artists, and anyone in between looking for more freedom and various possibilities to monetize content. You can sell anything with Sellfy — digital downloads (including online courses), subscriptions, physical goods, custom print-on-demand products, as well as raise money for your creative projects.
One day, Nils Jansons and Kaspars Alksnis listed their short documentary called “Mind Your Step” on an online store built with Sellfy. They’ve used a pay-what-you-want pricing scheme to raise funds and donated 10% of the proceeds from digital downloads to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Patreon vs. Sellfy: features
- Sellfy is an excellent option for creators who are looking to monetize their content by selling digital and physical goods, online courses, services, subscriptions, or custom merchandise.
- With Sellfy, you can create a custom-branded online store for your products.
- Sellfy is incredibly easy to use — you can build your own online store in less than 10 minutes.
- Sellfy’s online store offers a much better user experience than a Patreon account.
- You can list various products at different prices, including freebies.
- Sellfy offers every tool you need to launch and grow your online business, including email marketing, discounts & coupon codes, upselling, cart abandonment, and even pay-what-you-want pricing.
- Sellfy has PayPal and Stripe integrations to receive payments from a global audience.
Patreon vs. Sellfy: pricing
Unlike Patreon, Sellfy doesn’t charge transaction fees. Instead, Sellfy offers four affordable subscription plans:
- The Starter plan is $22 per month.
- The Business plan is $59 per month.
- The Pro plan is $119 per month.
Is Sellfy right for you?
Sellfy is an excellent alternative to Patreon for artists, bloggers, and digital creators looking to sell digital downloads and services as well as offer exclusive content.
2. Substack – best for monetizing newsletters
Substack markets itself as a Patreon alternative for bloggers, podcasters, and, most importantly, all sorts of writers. In essence, Substack is an independent newsletter platform that allows you to get paid through subscriptions and monetize your email list. It offers a set of tools that will help you launch your newsletter, manage payments and subscriptions, communicate with your audience, etc.
Patreon vs. Substack: features
- Substack allows you to offer annual memberships and choose appropriate pricing for your newsletter subscriptions.
- Substack offers built-in promotional tools for attracting more subscribers.
- Free trials and discounts are available to members who sign up for your newsletter.
- There’s a useful analytics tool for following your newsletters’ click-through rates.
- You’ll get payouts within 48 hours of each transaction.
Patreon vs. Substack: pricing
Similar to Patreon, Substack doesn’t have a platform fee. However, it will take 10% of everything you get paid for. It means that if you decide to send out your newsletter for free, the tool will be free to use.
Is Substack right for you?
Substack is a great tool for anyone who’s looking for an effortless way to launch a newsletter subscription.
3. Ko-fi — Patreon alternative that allows fans to buy you a coffee
In essence, Ko-fi is a platform where people can donate money to support their favorite creators — podcasters, bloggers, artists, etc. You may think of Ko-fi as a virtual tip jar. Unlike Patreon, Ko-fi offers you an option to create your own Ko-fi Shop to sell physical and digital products. Plus, it’s super easy to set up — you just need to pick a username, add a photo and bio, and connect a payment source like PayPal or Stripe.
Patreon vs. Ko-fi: features
- Unlike Patreon, Ko-fi offers instant and direct payments to creators.
- Ko-fi supports subscriptions, one-time donations, fundraising, and sales of products and services.
- You can use Ko-fi as a virtual tip jar.
- Ko-fi allows you to track your data through Google Analytics.
- You can integrate the Ko-fi button on your existing website.
Patreon vs. Ko-fi: pricing
Ko-fi doesn’t take a percentage from donations. But, whenever you sell something (a subscription or a product) you’ll be charged a 5% fee per transaction. There’s an option to remove the transaction fee by subscribing to Ko-fi Gold for $6 per month.
Is Ko-fi right for you?
You’ll find Ko-fi a great tool if you’re looking for an effortless way to crowdsource your creative business.
4. OnlyFans — best for monetizing adult content
OnlyFans is another example of the content monetization platform. In general, OnlyFans is very similar to Patreon, the main difference is that OnlyFans allows creators to offer adult content. Apart from that, OnlyFans provides more ways to engage with your audience and deliver content. Such flexibility makes OnlyFans one of the most popular players in the adult entertainment industry and beyond.
Patreon vs. OnlyFans: features
- Very liberal content policy.
- OnlyFans offers more freedom in managing your sales by offering bonus content and creating special offers.
- OnlyFans page looks like a social media feed behind a paywall.
- OnlyFans allows you to create monthly subscriptions, charge separately to unlock messages and for additional content on your feed, and integrate your Amazon wishlist.
- You can interact with your audience via texts, photos, and voice messages.
Patreon vs. OnlyFans: pricing
There is one (quite big) downside to all this flexibility that OnlyFans offer. They’ll take 20% off everything that you make. The fact that you have to part with such a big chunk of your income might explain why so many creators choose to have accounts on both Patreon and OnlyFans.
Is OnlyFans right for you?
If you’re creating any type of adult content, OnlyFans will give you everything you need. Compared to Patreon, it’s a more user-friendly and far more liberal platform.
5. SubscribeStar — a cheaper (but less capable) alternative to Patreon
Just like Patreon, SubscribeStart is a subscription-based membership platform that allows you to monetize your content by putting it behind a paywall. When compared to Patreon, SubscribeStar is known for being more independent and forgiving towards the published content. Sure, there are still some guidelines, but they are far more liberal.
Patreon vs. SubscribeStar: features
- Fewer content restrictions — any legal content is allowed.
- Built-in analytics section to track your performance.
- You can set up monetary goals and motivate your followers to help you achieve them.
- You are free to limit members’ access to some of your exclusive content.
- You can enable the Captcha test and two-factor authentication to protect your page from bots.
Patreon vs. SubscribeStar: pricing
There’s no subscription fee on SubscribeStar. But, there’s a 5% flat platform fee on every pledge and a 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee for each payment. Plus, if your card is not issued in the US, then an additional international transaction fee of 3.5% will be applied.
Is SubscribeStar right for you?
Even though SubscribeStar is a great alternative to Patreon, it’s still not as feature-rich. It’s a better fit for aspiring creators with a low to a medium number of followers.
6. Kickstarter — best platform for funding one-time projects
Needless to say that Kickstarter and Patreon are two platforms most people think of when it comes to crowdfunding campaigns. But even though they have some things in common, they are still pretty different. With Kickstarter, you have to set a funding goal for your project or campaign. While you can offer something in exchange for people funding your project, you’ll only get the money if you hit the target.
Patreon vs. Kickstarter: features
- Great tool for crowdfunding one-time projects.
- You can upload videos and post exclusive content right on your Kickstarter page.
- You can enable comments from your supporters and members of the public.
- You can use Google Analytics for your crowdfunding campaign to monitor your traffic sources.
- Before a project goes live, Kickstarter reviews it to make sure it’s appropriate for the Kickstarter community.
Patreon vs. Kickstarter: pricing
If the fundraising goal is met, you will get everything you raised in one, lump-sum payment 14 days after the campaign ends. Kickstarter will take a 5% platform fee plus payment processing fees (3-5%).
Is Kickstarter right for you?
You will like Kickstarter if you’re a creator who’s looking to crowdfund a one-time project, not continuous funding.
7. GoFundMe — best for running fundraising campaigns
Even though GoFundMe is considered an alternative to Patreon, I must admit that both platforms cater to different audiences. In essence, GoFundMe is a donation-based crowdfunding platform. Similar to Kickstarter, GoFundMe allows you to raise funds for creative projects and other purposes. Moreover, GoFundMe gives you the option to add rewards for donations.
Patreon vs. GoFundMe: features
- GoFundMe allows creators to raise funds and keep all the money they raise.
- You don’t have to set a deadline for your campaign.
- GoFundMe gives you access to useful fundraising tools.
- There are no time limits for campaigns you can run.
- You can raise funds in exchange for content and digital files.
Patreon vs. GoFundMe: pricing
Another perk of GoFundMe is that it doesn’t take a fee to create a fundraiser or any kind of mandatory contribution. There’s just a 2.9% + $0.30 deducted for each donation.
Is GoFundMe right for you?
Generally, GoFundMe is used to raise money for emergencies, charity, personal fundraising campaigns, and various creative projects. On the contrary, Patreon is more suitable for artists and content creators that are looking to earn a sustainable income for their work.
8. Mighty Networks — the best tool to build a closed community
Mighty Networks clearly stand out among other Patreon alternatives. It was initially developed as a social media platform to help people build and manage online communities (something similar to Facebook Groups, but on your own website). But with time, it became more than just an online community builder as they’ve added tools for selling memberships, subscriptions, and online courses.
Patreon vs. Mighty Networks: features
- With Mighty Networks, you can create your own website and connect your domain.
- You can offer both free and paid memberships.
- Mighty Networks has a Zapier integration.
- With Mighty Networks, you can create and sell online courses.
- Mighty Networks offers networking features that are far more advanced than Patreon’s.
- Mighty Network’s Ambassador program allows your followers to refer friends to your program.
Patreon vs. Mighty Networks: pricing
Even though Might Networks offer two paid plans, there’s also a possibility to use it for free. But, in this case, Mighty Networks will charge 5% of each transaction.
Is Mighty Networks right for you?
Mighty Networks is meant for teachers and businesses that are looking to create closed communities.
9. Memberful — best membership plugin for WordPress
Technically, Memberful is no longer a Patreon alternative as Patreon bought the platform back in 2018. In essence, Memberful is a WordPress plugin that allows you to sell memberships on your own website.
Patreon vs. Memberful: features
- Memberful allows you to offer various subscription plans (monthly, yearly, etc.).
- Memberful offers a solid set of promotional tools like coupons and discounts, free trials, group subscriptions, gift purchases, and referral programs.
- Memberful allows you to offer subscription content on your WordPress website.
- Memberrful supports integrations with services like MailChimp, ConvertKit, Discord, Zapier, etc.
Patreon vs. Memberful: pricing
Memberful offers three paid plans (including a free one). When it comes to payment processing fees, there’s a flat platform fee of 10% on the Starter plan and 4.9% on the Pro and Premium plans.
Is Memeberful right for you?
You’ll find Memberful to be a great fit if you’re a creator looking to sell subscription-based content from your WordPress website.
10. MemberPress — best software for building a membership website
Similar to Memeberful, MemberPress is a WordPress plugin that allows you to post exclusive content (including digital downloads) on your website. Moreover, MemberPress allows you to sell online courses as it integrates with payment gateways like Stripe.
Patreon vs. MemberPress: features
- You can integrate MemberPress into your existing WordPress website.
- MemberPress allows you to choose which content your users can see based on their membership status.
- Member press offers some community-building tools.
- Payment integrations with PayPal, Authorize.net, and Stripe.
- With MemberPress, you can build dynamic pricing pages.
- MemeberPress allows you to integrate various marketing tools.
- MemberPress allows you to create a video membership website.
Patreon vs. MemberPress: pricing
MemberPress doesn’t have a free plan. Instead, they offer three pricing options:
- The Basic Plan is $179 per year.
- The Plus Plan is $299 per year.
- The Pro plan for $399 per year.
Is MemberPress right for you?
Even though MemberPress is definitely a pricy solution, it’s a robust and feature-rich plugin that can help professionals build a membership website.
Is there a better Patreon alternative?
As you can see, there’s a handful of services and software that can compete for the title of the best Patreon alternative. However, choosing the right membership platform isn’t a black-and-white decision, and highly depends on what you are looking for:
- If you’re looking to sell digital downloads, online courses, or custom merch as well as gather donations you should definitely go with Sellfy. Sellfy offers every tool you need to start monetizing your content and build an online business from scratch.
- If you’re community-building features, you might opt for platforms like MemberPress and Mighty Networks.
- If you’re just starting as a creator and think that you deserve to get tipped for your work or get funding for your next creative project, you can try Ko-fi, Kickstarter, or GoFundMe.