There’s never been a better time to be a content creator. Not only is it more affordable than ever to create awesome content, but it’s also easier for people to support your work. All of this is thanks to the power of online community membership platforms where creators charge for paid subscriptions.
Many creators have been drawn to Patreon, but it isn’t the only option on the market. There are plenty of Patreon alternatives that offer much more for creators to experiment with.
Ahead, we’re exploring what Patreon is all about, and then offering suggestions for the best alternatives to Patreon on the market.
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In this article...
What’s the deal with Patreon?
Patreon is an online crowdfunding membership platform founded by Jack Conte (a famous YouTube musician) and Sam Yam in 2013.
This duo started the platform after struggling to make money off of their music for several years. They believed that creators could find financial freedom if their fans have a direct path to supporting their work monetarily.
On Patreon, fans can become members (or “patrons” as they are called on the platform) of a paid subscription for their favorite creators. A patron’s subscription will get them added benefits like exclusive content, access to community features, and more.
Where Patreon excels
Patreon didn’t become a popular platform for nothing. The platform has made it incredibly easy for creators looking to monetize their content on their own terms without much oversight.
Creators can build their tiers for their membership each with different degrees of rewards of exclusive content. Additionally, they can charge for content monthly or by project which gives some flexibility.
Where Patreon stumbles
Of course, nothing in life is free and Patreon takes a 5% cut of any revenue that creators make from their membership fee and an additional 5% goes to other fees. On top of that, compared to some Patreon alternatives, while they do have some community features, they are fairly basic without many of the engaging aspects some might expect from other platforms.
While Patreon doesn’t get in the way all that often of creator’s freedom, they do have some policies which restrict certain kinds of content. With some alternatives to Patreon, creators can make money off of the content they produce without restriction in subject matter.
Finally, it can be hard for a creator’s Patreon page to be found because there aren’t great discovery tools in place for potential customers to find your work without paying first.
What to look for in Patreon alternatives
So, now that we’ve talked a bit about where Patreon excels and stumbles, you’re probably wondering what you should look for in a Patreon alternative. Let’s explore some great features to consider.
Robust community features
An important part of paid membership sites for many people is the ability to interact with the creators they are supporting and their community. While it might seem like an obvious feature to have on a platform that is all about bringing people together with a shared interest, many platforms (including Patreon) have fairly basic options to connect members.
The best alternatives to Patreon will give you all of the features you and your members would expect on social media platforms like Facebook, but tailored to your specific needs. The best online community platforms allow creators to build their own private social networks for their members.
Having the ability to post discussion boards, live and recorded videos, gated content, and subgroups are just the tip of the iceberg.
A problem that Patreon has that some Patreon alternatives have solved is the issues around native features for creators. When you build a paid membership site through Patreon, you won’t have many native options to build a great experience for your members. This is because a lot of Patreon’s model relies on utilizing integrations if creators want to do more than make a text-based blog post.
Patreon, in many ways, is a supplemental service for creators who utilize another platform to post their content. The best alternatives to Patreon give creators a space to build their brand from the ground up and offer all of their awesome work under the same roof while having the ability to monetize.
Every creator knows that it doesn’t matter how amazing your content is if you’re unable to tell people it exists. Marketing tools are one of the key pillars for any online content creator today.
Patreon doesn’t have many features for creators to market the awesome bonus content they are creating. That means that you’ll be left preaching to the choir, so to speak, because the people who will know about your Patreon are most likely already supporting it.
The best alternatives to Patreon will give you the tools to build awesome marketing material in the form of emails, landing pages, reminder notifications, and more.
What are the best alternatives to Patreon?
So, now that we’ve explored what to look for in a Patreon alternative, let’s take a look at some specific platforms that are doing interesting things.
1. Mighty Networks
Mighty Networks is a cultural software platform that brings together community, courses, content, and commerce. It gives creators a bunch of ways to create and monetize their work through focusing on community building. Mighty's flexible Spaces mix features like live streaming, member management, courses, live events, and content options.
Plus, Mighty allows creators the capability to make their own network effect akin to social media platforms like Facebook. How? By giving them the tools to create their own private social networks that evolve with their business.
Unlike many alternatives to Patreon that act as supplemental platforms for creators to monetize their work. Mighty Networks is packed with the tools and features needed to foster a thriving community, host all of your content, and market it to the world.
Pros of Mighty Networks
- Mighty Networks is an all-in-one platform that allows independent creators to build and own their own community. There you can create robust content, build online courses, livestream in your network, host events, and charge for it all in one place.
- There are multiple options for monetizing and marketing your work. You can build beautiful landing pages, paid membership sites, charge over $1,000 for online courses, market your work through emails, and more.
- The platform gives a wide array of member analytics to creators that will help with uncovering the kinds of content and experiences your supporters love.
Cons of Mighty Networks
- While Mighty Networks has a plethora of tools for creators to market their content and community, there currently isn’t a discovery tool on the platform.
The bottom line: Mighty Networks has revolutionized the world of online community building over the last few years. The platform is a great alternative to Patreon because it has robust community building tools, an emphasis on native features so you aren’t juggling multiple platforms, and strong tools to market your business to new and existing members.
Podia is an alternative to Patreon that offers creators the ability to sell online courses and other forms of digital content as standalone products. But in 2017, they entered the realm of paid membership sites by offering creators the ability to charge subscriptions for content. Podia offers a good amount of options for creators interested in dipping their toes into paid memberships.
Pros of Podia
- You can charge for online courses, paid subscriptions, and standalone products.
- Podia doesn’t take any of the revenue acquired from your members’ support (although you pay a monthly subscription fee for the service).
Cons of Podia
- The paid membership service package is $79/month and you’ll need to spend an additional $39/month for marketing services and the ability to sell online courses and digital content.
- Limited analytics data and not much functionality for community management.
The bottom line: Podia is an interesting Patreon alternative that offers creators a few ways to monetize their content. Unfortunately, there are quite a few catches to their service like expensive pricing, and limited data for creators to make decisions around their business.
Ko-Fi is another alternative to Patreon that leans in on a friendly, low-stakes support model for fans to support creators. Much like the name suggests, they like to think of paid member support like ‘buying a creator a cup of coffee.’
The platform is free to get started on and allows creators to organize work into simple albums to share with their supporters. You can write blog posts, create support goals, and have gated content behind monthly subscriptions. Unlike Patreon, Ko-Fi doesn’t charge a fee on member donations either. Additionally, you are paid whenever a fan subscribes or donates instead of a lump monthly sum.
Pros of Ko-Fi
- There is no platform fee on Ko-Fi for donations. You can accept payment through Stripe or Paypal.
- It is easy to get started and creators can utilize simple tools to create blog posts, content albums, and charge for subscriptions.
Cons of Ko-Fi
- Ko-Fi doesn’t have the best options for analytics or community management.
- It’s largely a supplemental experience for creators who post content elsewhere.
The bottom line: Ko-Fi is a good low-stakes Patreon alternative for creators, and especially artists, who want to offer a virtual tip jar experience. The platform isn’t equipped to be the main space for a creator to build a community around their work, but similar to Patreon it offers a supplemental way to monetize your following from other platforms.
The best alternative to Patreon? Mighty Networks
Patreon helped provide a new way for creators to make money doing what they love, but the platform hasn’t evolved to address the news of modern creators. Mighty Networks is the best Patreon alternative because it is a platform that allows creators to build their own private social networks around their businesses.
This is so important because community is the fuel that will keep a creator’s business going long after the latest piece of content is released. When you utilize paid membership sites like Patreon, Podia, Ko-Fi, or others, you’ll constantly be pressed to create new work to satiate your audience.
A Mighty Network allows you to create a space for your supporters to connect, form relationships, and keep the conversation going. That means you can spend more time creating awesome content instead of simply creating constant content. On top of that, a Mighty Network simply gives creators more options to work with to build and monetize their business.
Here are a few features we love:
- Offer paid memberships.
- Have your own branded app that is accessible in the App Store and Google Play store.
- You can livestream and post recorded videos, images, and audio clips.
- Create polls, discussion boards, quizzes, and Q&As.
- Build fully customizable online courses with dedicated community spaces.
- Host virtual events.
Sounds pretty awesome, right? Let us help you get started!