Bloggers calling for donations or reader contributions like “buy me a beer” or “buy me a coffee” have been around for over ten years, as has the debate over whether they should.
Now however, with more mainstream media putting up paywalls, the growth of subscription based content providers and the rise of crowdfunding, is it a better time for bloggers to put their hand out too?
As an example, it appears Guardian News and Media (Guardian and Observer) is trying to monetize its content every which way. It produces a variety of content from outside parties, categorising it as either:
- ‘Supported by’ – editorially independent content, produced by journalists, funded by foundations and the like;
- ‘Paid content/Paid for by’ – produced by the paper’s commercial department not journalists; or
- ‘Advertiser content/from our advertisers’ – produced by the advertisers themselves.
Whilst they are earning money from advertisers and sponsors, the Guardian also asks its readers to ‘Become a Supporter’ (subscriber) or ‘Make a Contribution’ (donate).
Paypal has long had a ‘donate’ button you can put on your blog and even set up a recurring subscription-like donation. How would this go down with your audience?
Similarly, I’ve seen many bloggers disclose affiliate referrals to their readers as a way to ‘donate’ to help them keep the lights on or pay their internet bills.
Patreon claims to have sent over $150 million to creators using its membership model whereby your fans pay you a subscription amount of their choice. This model seems to be growing in popularity for creators of all kinds, but particularly podcasters and YouTubers.
Inklpay is a new player offering $0.10 micropayments either in the form of voluntary ‘tips’ or an enforced paywall per piece of content. Would this work for you?
At ProBlogger, we occasionally run blogging events and often receive feedback from attendees that we should charge more given the value of these events. We noticed that the event ticketing system Eventbrite now also offers a ‘donate’ option alongside its free or paid ticketing. This concept seems like those restaurants where they don’t have prices on the menus and instead ask you to pay what you think the meal is worth or what you can afford.
So, what about you? Have you ever asked for or received donations on your blog? What system do you use? Do you donate to others? Would a voluntary subscription fee, once-off contribution or a micropayment per piece of content work for you? More importantly, would your audience see value in that?
Please contribute to the production of this content by leaving your ‘tip’ in the comments below (see what I did there?!).