Earlier last year, Fortnite streamer Chaotic received a record-setting, five-digit donation on his Twitch stream.
That’s $75,000 more in his bank account in one night!
Donations of that size are extremely rare, and would surely make any streamer’s day receiving what most people would earn in a few years!
Heck, give me 50 bucks, and I’ll already be feeling like a king!
With that sort of money being thrown around, the little wheels in my head excitedly started to turn. How exactly do you set up donations on Twitch?
After sifting through an Everest of research, I discovered there are many ways to set up donations on Twitch, from PayPal, Donorbox to Bitcoin. And we’ll be talking about them all in this article.
- Why you should be accepting Twitch donations now
- A detailed guide to setting up donations on your Twitch channel for Paypal Bitcoin and 3rd party donation systems
- How to encourage your viewers to donate
- Then, we’ll wrap it up with a few tips on what you can do next
So now you know what I’ll be talking about in this article, let’s step right in and take a look at why you absolutely should be accepting donations…
Why You Should Accept Donations
Twitch is the world’s leading live streaming platform for gamers.
It’s also an avenue for gamers to earn an income by doing what they do best: Streaming.
In fact, Twitch has racked up an impressive collection of streaming Hall of Famers who take home over $100,000 annually from streams alone!
And most of that money is made through donations from loyal fans and viewers of channels.
This is why you too should be accepting donations.
Plus, not only is it a fantastic way for your viewers to express their appreciation for your awesome content, but it also allows you to spend more time creating awesome content.
It’s a win-win!
Things To Watch Out For Before You Get Started
There are a few things that you should know first before setting up donations on your Twitch channel.
First, it’s important to remember that donations technically are not gifts. Regardless of the country you live in, donations are considered as taxable income.
This means that you should be treating donations as payments for services you’ve rendered (i.e. streaming), which in turn would also mean that you need to keep a record of them for tax purposes.
And yes, that includes your Bitcoin.
Second, you’ll be needing an online payment service. At a minimum, make sure that you already have a PayPal account ready.
If you prefer your transactions in cryptocurrency, then you’ll need a cryptocurrency wallet.
Apart from setting up your payment system, there are several other things you need to be aware of.
Always, and I mean always be careful not to divulge too much personal information on the internet.
For instance, normally if you’re accepting donations through PayPal, you would have to disclose your full name in any transaction. Aside from divulging personal details, this could result in an email leak as well.
For that same reason, you might want to consider setting up a business account on PayPal instead. Also, before you go live with your donation button, make it a habit to double-check the link before you send it out to the world.
Also, note that you are solely responsible for chargebacks.
To avoid any legal issues, it’s best you avoid any non-Twitch approved donation process. Should chargebacks occur, the only real possible way to counter them is to always have a small fund set aside that you can easily replenish through donations.
Now we’ve got the ‘warnings’ and the ‘I told you so’s’ out of the way, let’s look at how to actually set up donations on your channel using multiple payment methods.
Setting Up Twitch Donations: Twitch Bits
Think of Twitch Bits as mini-donations from your viewers.
It’s essentially a type of virtual currency that you can spend on your favorite gamer’s profiles. Fans can purchase Bits directly from Twitch through Amazon Payments.
Twitch pays its partners and affiliates one cent for every Bit fans use on their channels. That means a Twitch streamer earns $1 for every 100 bits used during their stream.
What do fans get out if? The more a viewer chats in a channel, the more Bits he spends, and over time he can earn a better Cheer Chat Badge.
Top donators also gain access to other perks including private chat rooms.
Sounds simple? Not really.
Not every channel and streamer can receive Bits. Only Twitch partners and affiliates can enable these donations on their channels.
Here’s how you can start receiving bits on your stream:
- Step 1: Locate the Partner Settings tab on your dashboard.
- Step 2: Scroll down to the Cheer section and click “Enable Cheering with bits”
- Step 3: On the Cheer section, you’ll see configurations for how you want to set up the Cheering experience on your stream.
- Step 4: After clicking save, your viewers can now use Bits to “cheer” you on. Using Bits also triggers visual and audio alerts to appear on the fans’ screens.
Setting Up Twitch Donations: PayPal
I personally like using PayPal. It’s widely accepted, it’s easy to use, and it’s safe.
You can just simply ask your viewers to send money to you directly using the email address associated with your PayPal account, or use a PayPal.me shortened link for a cleaner look.
However, if you’d rather not put out your email address for everyone to see, you can also set up a business account on PayPal as well.
Just a reminder: Donations processed through PayPal require you to pay a transaction fee which you can read all about here.
How to set up a PayPal Donation Button on your Twitch channel
Step 1 Go to PayPal’s website and log in to your account. Next, you need to create a PayPal.Me link.
Step 2: Click on “Send & Request” located on the top menu of your PayPal account.
Step 3: Press “More”, then click the “Get Started” button located below “Manage your PayPal.me profile.”
Step 4: Turn on your PayPal.me link to allow anyone to see and send money to your PayPal.me. The button should turn blue once you enable it.
Step 5: Copy your PayPal.me link, then log in to your Twitch profile.
Step 6: Click on your Twitch channel profile picture located on the top right corner of your screen to open the drop-down tool. Next, scroll down your channel and turn on “Edit Panels”.
Step 7: Click on the giant “+” button on your Edit Panels page.
Step 8. Paste your copied PayPal.me link on the “Image Links to” section. You can also customize your donations button by adding an image in the “Panel Title” section on your “Edit Panels”.
Step 9: Once you’ve done all that, all that’s left to do is hit the “Submit” button, and you’re all set up!
After your PayPal donation button goes live on your channel, your viewers will now be able to donate to your streams through PayPal. The PayPal donation button will then redirect donors to your PayPal profile.
Setting Up Twitch Donations: Bitcoin And Cryptocurrency
The cool thing about Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is that there are no chargebacks. This means no hefty chargeback fees, penalties, suspended accounts or fraudulent donations to deal with.
Since online payment services like PayPal are not available in many countries, more and more people are now turning to cryptocurrencies for online transactions.
Plus, you have full control of how you use your cryptocurrency wallet since no third parties are involved with your transactions which means that donations will go straight to your Personal Wallet.
Here’s how you can link your Cryptocurrency wallet with Twitch:
- Step 1: Open your cryptocurrency wallet app and click on the “Receive” button. Don’t worry, all crypto wallet apps have this option.
- Step 2: Copy your crypto wallet’s address. This would is like a bunch of random numbers and letters all in a single line.
- Step 3: Navigate to the “Edit Panels” section on your Twitch profile and click on the “+” symbol.
- Step 4: Paste your wallet’s address on the “Image links to” section and don’t forget to add an image indicating what cryptocurrency the wallet address is for.
Setting Up Twitch Donations: Donorbox And Other 3rd Party Services
There are a few third-party services that Twitch streamers can use to accept donations.
Among the most popular are Streamlabs, Donorbox, Muxy, Gaming For Good, and Stream Elements.
These third-party services provide tools and software allowing live streamers to engage with viewers, monetize their broadcasts, and grow their channels.
They are are all easy to use, and the steps for setting them up are pretty much the same.
Donorbox is a good choice for beginners like you. It’s really simple and it allows you to accept donations by credit card, PayPal, and low fee ACH bank transfers.
You just have to link a secure Donorbox donation page to your Twitch channel and your good to go!
Here’s how to set up Donorbox
Step 1: Choose an image for your donation button. To customize the size and color of your Donorbox donation button, make your way to your Donorbox dashboard and click on the “Donate button” and press “PNG image buttons”.
Step 2: Go to your Twitch channel and scroll down until you see the “Edit Panels” section. Turn it on and click on the large “+” sign.
Step 3: Click on “Add a text or image panel” and type in the title that you want for this panel. You can just put “Donate here” if you like. Next, add an image to your Donation button by uploading the donate button you used for your Donorbox.
Step 4: Go back to your Donorbox dashboard and copy the link to your secure donation page.
Step 5: Paste the link on the “Image links to” section, hit “Submit”, and you’re done!
How To Get Your Viewers To Donate
Never start Twitch streaming thinking you’ll make money from it or you’ll doom yourself before you start.
It takes a lot of hard work to build an audience before you can monetize it.
Wait for viewers to start asking if you’ll start accepting donations, then decide if you want to add them or not.
However, there’s nothing wrong with wanting Twitch donations on a regular basis. But keep in mind that you are only likely to receive repeat donations if you consistently create good content for your audience to watch.
This brings us to another point: what exactly can you do to get your fans to spend money on you?
While it’s important to keep your viewers engaged in conversations during your stream, there are also several things you can do to get them to donate.
Here are a few tips…
Thank Your Donors Verbally
Give them a quick shoutout or have their username displayed during your stream. Fans love that!
Show them your appreciation by thanking them publicly, as well as encouraging potential donors to give.
You can even create a “Hall of Fame” for fans who have donated the most.
Not only is this good for startup channels like yours, but it will also likely increase your chances of having repeat donors.
Set Up Custom Alerts
Fans like to see how you would react to their donations so you might want to add a customized alert during your streams.
This also allows you to see donations coming in on your stream.
Talk To Your Viewers
Keep your viewers engaged.
Find a topic relevant to your channel and brand, and talk to your audience.
You can go on a mini-rant about how your day went, or maybe you can do a review of a game that just came out.
Ask them questions. Share with them the latest pop culture or political news that they might be interested in.
The point is by conversing with them, you’re already creating a sense of community in your channel and your viewers will feel more inspired to donate.
Set Up A Goal
Your viewers are more likely to donate when they know that they are supporting a good cause.
Perhaps you can tell them about your goal to purchase new equipment or a new game. By sharing this information with the audience, you’re making them feel involved at the same time.
Twitch has more than 15 million daily active users as of today.
Now imagine every single one of them donating to your stream. One can dream…
On the surface, Twitch may look like a basic video-streaming site. However, at its core, Twitch serves as a social network for gamers.
It has in fact truly become one of the leading platforms for people to share their content with millions of viewers while making money at the same time.
If you’ve now arrived at a point where you want to monetize your content, then Twitch donations are one way of doing so.
Do Twitch streamers get taxed?
Yes. Donations are considered as income, and by principle, all forms of income are taxable. Donations are can only be considered tax-free for non-profit organizations.
Do I need to become an affiliate to apply for a Twitch partnership?
You don’t necessarily need to be an Affiliate to apply for Partnership. Twitch Partnership is for top-performing creators who are serious about broadcasting, have already built up a sizable audience, and are ready to take it to the next level. If you meet the requirements, then you can apply immediately.
To what extent are streamers responsible for their community?
Streamers are content creators who serve as leaders and models of the communities that they’ve created and fostered around them. Much like celebrities and other public figures, streamers must consider the consequences of their actions and statements, as well as how their viewers behave.