Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
Ko-fi is a great platform if you’re trying to build a community around your content. Bloggers, musicians, writers, and more can generate a great deal of money from supporters. But, is it realistic to upgrade to a Ko-fi gold account?
I suppose that depends on just how far you want to take Ko-fi. In reality, the platform can save you quite a bit in the long run.
And since Ko-fi doesn’t take fees from donations, you can ultimately save a lot of money down the road while offering quality work to supporters.
Why Should You Upgrade Ko-fi to a Gold Account?
As opposed to some competitors, Ko-fi locks several key functions behind a $6 per month paywall. The counterbalance is that Ko-fi also doesn’t charge fees for anything you collect from patrons.
If you’re able to accumulate several supporters per month, this might be a valid system to use.
So, why should you consider upgrading to Ko-fi gold membership?
Integrating Google Analytics
I’m a huge dork when it comes to collecting data. And Google Analytics can do wonders for breaking down how people interact with your content.
When you upgrade Ko-fi to the gold membership, you unlock the ability to track user data. This can help you create content strategies to further boost interaction with supporters.
How are supporters finding your Ko-fi page? What content do they find the most appealing? How much time are they spending consuming your content?
All of these questions can be answered by taking a look at your data.
Monthly Subscription Income
In the free account for Ko-fi, you’re only able to accept one-off donations. By upgrading to gold, you can open the doors to accept monthly subscription donations from supporters.
This means that you can eventually generate enough income to supplement a full-time income. That is as long as you offer something people find valuable.
So, if you created a $5 per month membership and had two people become monthly subscribers, you more than make up the difference of what you pay for a gold membership to Ko-fi.
Ko-fi Shop to Sell Goods
The Ko-fi shop is essentially an eCommerce platform that lets you sell goods or services. If you use the free version of Ko-fi, you’ll pay a 5% fee when selling goods.
However, a gold membership removes those fees and you accept the majority of the income. You’ll still have to pay PayPal or Stripe fees after the fact. But, that’s true with most donation platforms.
For instance, I am debating on selling eBooks in the very near future. I could put them up on the Ko-fi shop and perhaps include a discount for monthly membership users.
Set Precise Amounts for Donations
By default, the donation amount for your Ko-fi is set to $3. But if you upgrade Ko-fi to gold, you can change this to any amount you’d like. And depending on what you offer, you can increase this amount quite a bit.
Personally, I prefer the $3 one-off as that is a bit less than what I spend on a cup of coffee. If someone wants to help me buy a cup, I’m completely fine with that.
But, I can see how others would increase the price depending on what they offer. Normally, I see musicians and other entertainers set it to around $5.
I guess it all comes down to your own personal needs.
Sell Commission Work without Fees
A lot of creators can make quite a bit by selling commissions of their work. Musicians, graphic designers, writers, and more can set up a commission page after they upgrade Ko-fi to gold status.
I’m not sure if I would use this as I don’t normally commission my work outside of a freelancer contract. However, other creators can make quite a bit of money from personalized content.
You can also show your commission page directly on social media sites, email, or links from your own blog.
Costs to Upgrade Ko-fi vs Buy Me a Coffee Fees
Let’s compare a few numbers to get a better idea of how much you’ll spend to upgrade Ko-fi. For this example, I’m going to pit Ko-fi against Buy Me a Coffee.
I’m also going to imply a certain number of one-off supporters each month.
With 5 supporters spending $3 each, you’ll pay about $0.75 in total fees to Buy Me a Coffee. This is because BMC charges about $0.15 per $3 transaction, or 5% of the donation.
So, in this instance, it’s far cheaper to go with Buy Me a Coffee compared to Ko-fi.
What if you get 25 patrons to your account? This comes up to $3.75 in total fees to BMC while still resting at $6 for Ko-fi.
If you can reach 40 supporters who give you the one-time donation of $3 each month, you’ll break even between Ko-fi and Buy Me a Coffee. On either platform, it will cost you $6 for that particular month.
Let’s say you grew to some of the sizes of bigger creators on the platforms. At 1,000 supporters, you’ll only pay $6 to Ko-fi. In contrast, you’ll pay $150 to Buy Me a Coffee.
The Downside to Upgrade Ko-fi Accounts
As you can see from our little test above, Ko-fi does have a massive drawback for new creators. Especially when you consider how platforms like Buy Me a Coffee have all the same features without locking them behind the paywall.
Unless you can draw in quite a few supporters every month, the fees may not be justifiable. But, let’s put this into a better perspective.
After upgrading, you can offer some amazing monthly subscription benefits. If you get at least two people to support you at $3 each, you’ll break even.
Where Ko-fi really shines is the attractive layout of the website and the $6 flat fee per month regardless of how big you become. Both of these together make the experience better for both patrons and users.
Even though you’ll pay more to Ko-fi in the very beginning, you won’t be penalized for growing. It’s a flat fee no matter how large you become on the platform.
If you have a good plan of action and know how to engage your audience, it’s possible to bring in enough from supporters to offset the cost to upgrade Ko-fi within the first day.
But, that means you really have to put in the effort to attract a following.
Personally, I find it difficult to think of things to offer supporters. But, I’m sure other creators can whip out ideas left and right.
The bottom line is that the Ko-fi fee might be higher if you start today, but it’s a fraction of what you’d pay on other systems by growing into a massive creator.
Upgrade Ko-fi and Dive Into Building a Community
Personally, I rather like the “social’ feel of Ko-fi. Backed with all of the things you get, you’ll have everything you’ll need to engage your audience and make a few extra bucks.
It’s all about building a community of supporters. And when you upgrade Ko-fi to a gold account, you get far more tools at your disposal.
Besides, most of us spend more than $6 per month on coffee at Caribou alone. Is it really that high of a fee compared to what you could be paying once you reach more than 40 monthly supporters?
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