Getting started with Twitch donations

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • 1

    WHAT ARE TWITCH DONATIONS?

  • 2

    WHY DO PEOPLE DONATE ON TWITCH?

  • 3

    HOW TO SET UP A DONATION BUTTON ON TWITCH?

  • 4

    EXAMPLES OF A WELL DESIGNED DONATION BUTTON

  • 5

    HOW TO SET UP PAYPAL FOR TWITCH DONATIONS?

  • 6

    WAYS TO ENCOURAGE YOUR COMMUNITY TO DONATE

  • 7

    PREVENTING DONATION CHARGE BACKS

  • 8

    HOW TO SPOT FAKE DONATIONS?

Introduction

Donations is a way for streamers can earn money while they run their channel. This method is common around small channels with a small but loyal community, however even the top streamers put a lot of emphasis on donations. If you are wondering how to set up donations on Twitch then this guide is here to help.

How do Twitch donations work?

As a streamer grows his/her’s channel and viewership they may look for several ways to begin monetizing their stream.
Streamers typically create a Twitch donation button that is added to a panel and displayed on their channel’s bio. The goal of this button is to grab a viewer’s attention and convey to them why they should donate money.

Why do people donate on Twitch?

A common reason why people donate on Twitch usually is due to them discovering a streamer whom they enjoy and wish to see their channel grow by supporting them.
Streamers who create and maintain a positive community and seem to have a bright future on Twitch tend to earn a good amount of donations as viewers wish to further help them improve the quality of their content.
At times a streamer may offer additional incentives for their viewers to donate. This may include merchandise which viewers can earn when they donate, donation tiers with special privileges on their stream, and even fundraisers or charity events for good causes.
Moreover when receiving a donation the streamer keeps the majority share of it unlike other revenue channels where he split the revenue with Twitch, so for small communities who would really like to support the streamer this is probably the best way to make sure the streamer will enjoy their support.

How to donate to Twitch Streamers

If you’d like to donate to a streamer to see how it works you’ll first need to look in the stream channel’s bio and find their donation button. Reading the provided information should allow you to understand what payment method they accept. You may also click it which will bring you directly to the payment option. 

Step 1 – How to set up a donation button on Twitch

In this guide, we will be showing you how to get started setting up donations with Donorbox on your Twitch channel.

Setting up your button with Donorbox

1. Save your custom donate image for Twitch or use the provided Donorbox button.

2. Head to Twitch and go to your channel where you’ll need to click on “Edit Panels” to create your Twitch donation panel.

3. Click on the large “+” sign and upload the chosen image for your button.
4. Head to Donorbox and copy the “secure donations page” link which is located under the “Campaigns” section.

5. Paste the link into the “Image Links To” field and type in a description and title.

6. Save it and you are ready to go!

How to make your donation button look good

A donation button should be eye-catching and communicate a convincing message to viewers on why they should donate.
Having basic photo editing and design skills can help you create a great and free Twitch donate button! However, if you do not have these skills you may want to ask a friend to help you design one or hire a freelancer on Fiverr.
You can also head over to NerdorDie and Behance which offer free Twitch donation button design packs to help get you started.

Examples of free twitch button design packs. Source: NerdorDie.com

Be sure to set audio to your donation alert box to delight your donors. There are several alert boxes that display customizable text on your stream if a viewer does a certain action such as follow or donate.
To add audio to your alert box first locate where the “alert box widgets” are. Then locate the box for the specific action you want to edit, for this example edit the donations alert box.
You should see an option to edit the audio for this alert box, click on it and load your custom audio file, save it and you are all set.

Examples of a good donation button

A finished donation button panel will typically look similar to the one in Pewdiepie’s bio below.

This button really pops out and communicates a thoughtful message.

Here is an intriguing background design along with text right in the graphic

A bit of a simpler design but with an attractive background that matches the channel’s theme.

Step 2 – Setting up PayPal and other methods for donations on Twitch

If you wish to use PayPal for your donation option then in this section we will show you how to set up a PayPal donation button on Twitch.
To begin first head over to PayPal and create an account if you do not have one.
Once you have an account you have two routes you may proceed with:

  1. Putting your associated PayPal email into your channel’s description 
  2. Creating a Paypal.me link which can be set up with your button

A Paypal.me link allows viewers to donate money without going to the main PayPal site to wire money to you, which is what they’d need to do with your email address.
The PayPal.me link has a simpler process along with easy-to-follow directions. During your streams be sure to mention your PayPal option for donations and where it is located in your stream’s bio.
When adding your custom button to your channel’s bio be sure to switch on panel editing and upload the button graphic to the new panel. Then fill out the panel’s title and description fields along with adding the PayPal.me link to the “Image Links To” field.
Viewers that notice the button and click it will be brought to PayPal to complete the transaction.

Pros

  • No need to give out personal banking info.
  • Only an email is needed to send and receive funds after an account is made.
  • PayPal.me link allows for faster transactions. 

Cons

  • Vulnerable to chargebacks.
  • Has a commission fee (2.9%) when payments are received.

 

It is also possible for viewers to donate on Twitch using Bitcoin, Ether, and other crypto currencies. With the growing popularity of crypto currency, some viewers have preferred to use the digital currency as an alternative method to PayPal.
Crypto currency may make certain individuals feel safer when making transactions due to there being fewer paper trails and risks of having their identity exposed.
At one time Twitch allowed Bitcoin and other crypto currencies to be used as donations to streamers. Twitch has since removed this option.
It is still possible for streamers to receive crypto currency payments by putting their wallet address into their stream’s bio (more on that below).

Setting Up Crypto Donations On Twitch

First, you will need to get a virtual wallet. A few options include Coinbase, Bitpay, and Jaxx wallets.

Locate your wallet’s address which will be a random string of numbers and letters. Copy the address and head to your Twitch account.
Your wallet’s address will be a series of numbers and letters similar to this one: 

Paste the wallet address under your donation section and provide the accepted crypto currencies in the description. It is important to let viewers know what crypto currencies are accepted because if an unsupported currency is sent to your wallet it will fail to transfer.

Twitch Bits and cheers

Cheers are a virtual currency that is purchasable on Twitch using Amazon Payments. Some individuals may prefer this method due to not having to transfer money directly to a streamer.
Streamers have the ability to turn on cheer donations once they reach partner status.
A viewer can donate to a streamer by sending them cheers which are valued at 1 cent per cheer. Twitch will allow the streamer to cash out 100 cheers at a time (1 dollar per 100 cheers).
To read more about Twitch Bits read our complete guide for Twitch Bits.


Try to do:Try not to overwhelm your viewers with lots of payment options by just sticking to one

Pros

  • Limited paper trails that cyber criminals can retrieve. 
  • Your identity is better protected.
  • Growing in acceptance and popularity.

Cons

  • If your wallet is hacked there is little to no methods of retrieving your funds.
  • Many retailers and businesses still do not accept it as a form of payment.
  • Considered unstable in terms of value.

Step 3Ways to encourage your audience to donate

Mentioning your donation options might not always be enough. You need to use certain tactics to help convince users to donate.
Keep some of these tips in mind to not just get donations but also keep your donors happy:

  1. Create incentives for viewers to donate like donor tiers, special chat rooms, and exclusive merchandise
  2. Thank donors live on stream
  3. Add widgets that show the last donors on your stream 
  4. Have a list of donors on your stream
  5. Create a goal that you are trying to get funded using donations and display the progress through a donation bar or counter on Twitch
  6. Add custom alerts when a viewer donates 
  7. Make sure the message in your donation panel will convince viewers to donate. 
  8. Hold fundraisers and events for a good cause

Pro tip:Always be transparent with what you intent to do with the donations you receive from your community

Step 4 – Managing your donation activity

Donations is a common practice on Twitch and viewers or streamers should feel fine with accepting or sending donations.
Donations are a key way for small channels to earn revenue, so giving donations really helps small channels start to grow.
Once a streamer becomes a Twitch Affiliate or Partner they can then get started with enabling Twitch subscriptions.
A subscription to a channel allows for the streamer to earn a concurrent source of revenue, while the subscriber can earn perks, such as exclusive emoticons.

Are twitch donations taxable?

As a streamer you are considered a sole proprietor, making you responsible for paying any taxes on the donations you earn.
Streamers in the USA have a progressive rate of tax, which means that the more you earn the more you will have to pay. Each country will have its own differing system so it is important to research how much money to set aside to pay.

Conduct your own research regarding your country’s taxation laws in order to determine how much of your donation money you’ll need to pay tax on.


Pro tip:Have your taxes for your stream prepared a month in advance.

Disclaimer: Please be aware this website is not advising you on your taxes or how to file them, Be sure to consult with a professional.

Step 5 – Preventing donation chargebacks & spotting fake donations

A chargeback occurs when a donor transfers money to a streamer using PayPal. The donor will then rescind their payment by filing a complaint against the streamer requesting their money back.
Since the payment made to the streamer was as a donation and not for a good or service it tends to be easy for the donor to receive their money back.
These “fake donations” are a type of trolling that viewers with bad intentions do. This trick involves a large sum of money, sometimes in between $1,000-$100,000 , being sent to a streamer only for the charge-back to be filed. This results in the streamer losing that large sum of money within a few weeks to months.
Some precautions a streamer may want to consider to prevent chargebacks from occurring would be to not use Paypal but to accept donations through Twitch Bits (cheers) or crypto currency.
If you wish to use PayPal as your means to accept donations it would probably be best to immediately refund any large donations that seem sketchy to you, especially if they came from a viewer you are not familiar with. 


Try to avoid:If you’ve received a donation which seems out of the ordinary don’t ask about it in front of your whole community, try and check it with before you go ahead and tell people about it.

Conclusion

Creating a donation button is only a small part of the process. You, as a streamer, need to articulate the value you can offer to your audience to convince them to donate.
Being aware of the various payment methods at hand and potential risks of receiving donations will make you a much more savvy streamer.
If you are prepared to help other streamers learn more about donations then be sure to share this article. 

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