Donations/tips (whatever name you want to give it) have been a fundamental thing for streamers, of all sizes, for a very long time. I don’t doubt for a second that there’s a lot of money in allowing tips and donations. I’m also for streamers making money and being able to sustain their streaming by monetizing their stream. However I’m going to outline why donations and tips might not be your number one solution for someone that’s looking to grow their stream.
- Why not do donations/tips?
- What do you value the most?
- What to do then?
- But everyone else is doing it…
- Can you do it?
Why not do donations/tips?
I’ve heard it thousands of time “my viewers wanted payback so I started to accept donations”, and you might think that it’s great thing. You’ve made it! You’re going to roll in money! Yes people want to payback for you giving them entertainment and there’s nothing wrong with that. However when you accept donations you accept that they have now paid back for you giving them entertainment. It now ends right there and it’s not going to go anywhere from there. You’ve finalized the train, you give your time and they give you their money.
Now ask yourself what that did for your channel. Did it make your channel grow? The fact is that when they’ve done that transaction you have fulfilled the give and ask train. They can now feel good about not having to talk about your stream with their friends, they don’t need to share that you’re a streamer etc. After all they’ve given you money so there’s no reason for them to do anything besides that. They can feel good about it but at the end of the day your channel got nothing from it for the long run.
What do you value the most?
It all comes down to how you want to treat your stream. Is it for the long run? Or is it for the short run? If you’re going to the short run then yeah take the money, it’s not like you are about actually growing your stream anyway so why even care? However if you want to actually see growth then instead of donations, even when someone asks, ask them if they can’t instead share the stream with friend or share it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or whatever platform they use.
Another thing you might miss out on is the engagement. Maybe that opening conversation about donations and you saying that you rather have them share it with a friend (or whatever you want to say) allows them to start a conversation. Never step away from engagement even if it’s something really small. You have to value the person that takes their time to send you even the shortest messages, because the fact is they didn’t have to and they could have sent it to any of thousand other streams instead.
What to do then?
When you have your donations setup there’s no added value to the value given. They’re not getting anything but more entertainment and yes that’s good thing and they might keep doing BUT keep in mind that there’s no reason for them to talk about your stream. So to get added income on your stream you’re going to have to start looking in different, and better directions, and it’s something as simple as merchandise or having Patreon/GameWisp setup that are added value (not just another way to do donations). That will keep everything going. You’ll get value and they’ll get added value. Does that mean there’s more for you to do? Yes. If you want to grow your channel you’re going to have to put the hours into it. Not just while streaming but after you’ve turned your stream off and before you turn it on. You need to focus on getting a business plan ready and figure out how to monetize when you’ve grown a audience, there’s no need to rush it.
But everyone else is doing it…
Yes other people do accept donations/tips and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. But they’ve accepted that for many that’s the end of the transaction (or maybe they haven’t thought about it). You’re not going to get anything else from that person during that year. You have to be fine with that and if you are then great! There might also be other things behind their decision, there’s great examples of non-profit companies that are all donation based but they also employ a 100% transparency and 100% of the donations go to their cause. They also use other means to generate income to actually pay their employees that’s not donation based.
Can you do it?
You could grow to a size where donations makes sense but when starting out I, at this moment, don’t really see a point in taking in small sums that’s not going to generate anything for you channel that you otherwise can’t save up your own and make apart of your story line. If you’re going to accept donations/tips work it into a business plan and don’t tack it on as a “everyone else is doing it” thing.
The business side of things is something I’m going to push hard next year. Not only because it’s an important aspect of streaming on a professional level but also that treating it, and having that mindset (even if it isn’t a official business) isn’t a bad thing. There’s also the fact that I’m going to start writing a book (read a bit more why below).
Do you need Twitch branding done the right way? I’ve work with both partnered and non-partnered Twitch streamers and done so for over 3 years. For me this is full time and I’m dedicated to my clients and my craft. I do both branding, visual branding and brainstorming based on understanding you, your community and your channel. If that sounds interesting to you then you should check out my Twitch services/portfolio/client list and contact me right away.Twitch branding and consulting
Getting closer to the end of the year and I just came back from getting food poisoning on the 25th. So I haven’t been able to write any posts or answer e-mails. But I’m back at it today since I just got my appetite back!
Besides that I’ve written a looong list about certain goals I want to reach next year so that starts next week as well. Nonetheless it’s going to be a very interesting year if even only half of the goals are reached.
Want to follow me strange journey and see me rage about the struggle? Then you probably should follow me on Twitter @visiblespeech