Over recent years we have written extensively about streaming on Twitch and the other livestreaming platforms. Although it is not solely gamers who have built streaming audiences, gaming is, without doubt, the niche that has taken most to the technology. Many gamers have gained avid followers, who are often happy to support their favorite streamers by donating on Twitch.
Thanks to their supporters ' donations, popular Twitch streamers can make a healthy income. Sure, in the beginning, they probably received a few dollars per week from their most avid followers wanting to support their favorite streamer. But in time, as their popularity and follower base grew, a few dollars became a few hundred dollars, then a few thousand dollars if they were lucky. By this point, the streamer would have begun to look at their game broadcasting as being viable as a career and may have given up their day job, giving them much more time to devote to their streaming activities.
For this to work, there has to be a simple way for fans to donate to their favorite streamers. This article looks at how streamers can set up their channel to receive donations on Twitch and how supporters can donate to streamers on Twitch.
How to Donate on Twitch: Supporting Your Favorite Streamers:
Ways to Donate on Twitch
If you're a streamer, you're going to want to make it as straightforward as possible for fans to donate to you. There are both official and unofficial ways you can encourage them to donate.
1. Twitch Bits (Official)
The first official way people can donate to you is by using Twitch's internal currency – Bits. Twitch users can buy Bits as a virtual currency and then use them to show support to their preferred streamers. They can "Cheer" with Bits in a chat message, using a combination of Bit emotes, with different emotes having varying Bit values. Whenever supporters Cheer in a channel, they earn Cheer Chat Badges for that channel.
When a Twitch viewer uses Bits in a streamer's channel, they effectively make a one-off donation to the streamer.
Bits don't give any tangible benefits to the viewer using them, apart from the ability to make chat messages unavailable to others. The streamer may also provide them with a shoutout during their stream. By using their Bits, stream supporters increase the interaction between the streamer and their audience.
2. Subscriptions (Official)
Subscriptions are more long-term than payments by Bits. They are a way for your community to support you regularly, and in return, you can reward them with exclusive perks. Supporters pay a minimum subscription of $4.99 per month to support your channel, either on a recurring or one-time basis.
Whenever somebody subscribes to your channel, Twitch sends you a notification to set up their "perks" and thank them for their support.
As with Bits, you have to be recognized as a Twitch Partner or Affiliate to receive Subscriptions.
3. Using a Third-Party Donation Service (Unofficial)
Even if you're not an Affiliate or Partner, you can still use a third-party donation service as a way to collect donations from your fans. You will find options from companies like Streamlabs or Muxy. In addition, you can add PayPal links to your streaming description. Some streamers even set things up so that their fans can donate to them using cryptocurrencies.
How to Setup Donations on Twitch
To accept official donations, either Bits or Subscriptions, a streamer must first be a Twitch Affiliate or Partner.
Twitch Affiliates - to qualify for the Affiliate Program, you must simultaneously meet the following requirements over a 30-day period:
- Reach 50 Followers
- Stream for 8 hours
- Stream on 7 different days
- Have an average of 3 viewers
Twitch Partners – these are a level above Twitch Affiliates. Twitch Partners are creators who stream a variety of content to a sizable audience. It is invitation only, so there aren't clear cut criteria, although Twitch has created a Path to Partner achievement which rewards your ability to:
- Stream for 25 hours
- Stream on 12 different days
- Average of 75 viewers (concurrent viewership excluding hosts, raids, and embeds)
Enabling Twitch Bits
Suppose Twitch has accepted your application to be an Affiliate or Partner. In that case, you can choose to enable Cheering in your channel (by default, Twitch enables Cheering for new Affiliates and Partners once it accepts them into the relevant program). Allowing your supporters to use Bit emotes in your chat stream can help them feel special, encourage them to increase their interaction, and in the process, reward you with income. In addition, users earn special badges displayed alongside their names in your stream's chat.
You will find your settings for Bits on your Affiliate (or Partner) settings section of your Dashboard. This section contains your channel's configuration and customization settings for Bits & Cheering. For example, you can set the minimum level of Bits you will accept for a Cheer on your channel, as well as the minimum sized Bit Emote people can use. In addition, you can upload, modify, or remove custom Bits badges for viewers that reach cheering milestones on your channel.
Accepting Subscriptions to Your Channel
Twitch subscriptions let your community support you regularly. You reward them with exclusive perks for doing so.
You can select up to three tiers of subscriptions for your channel:
- Tier 1 – costs $4.99 per month, and you will receive $2.50 for each sub on your channel.
- Tier 2 – costs $9.99 per month, and you will receive $5.00 for each sub on your channel.
- Tier 3 – costs $24.99 per month, and you will receive $12.50 for each sub on your channel.
Top partners can negotiate a higher percentage of the amount earned from subscriptions.
You will need to decide on the perks your subscribers will receive in return for their payment. Typical perks include:
- Subscriber-only Emotes that subscribers can use in the channel's chat
- Subscriber-only Discord channels
- The option for subscribers to play games with the streamer
- A Twitch panel listing subscribers' names
Adding a PayPal Donation Link
One simple way you can set up your Twitch channel of any size to accept donations is to add a PayPal link to your channel description. You do this by placing a PayPal Donation Button/ link onto your channel description that lives on the About tab of your channel.
To do this on the Twitch website, click on your channel icon on the top right. Then select "Channel" from the drop-down menu. You will see a button on the right-hand edge saying, "Customize Channel." Click on that button, and Twitch will open up your Creator Dashboard to the Channel section.
You can either place your PayPal donation link in your 300-character bio or put it in the Social Link section. Although PayPal isn't a social network, Twitch accepts PayPal links in this section.
You may need to promote that you are accepting PayPal donations. For example, you could verbally mention your PayPal.me address during a stream or highlight the PayPal badge or link you've placed below your stream box. In addition, many streamers insert their PayPal link in their channel's chat at regular intervals. This can be particularly valuable as it is a clickable link directly inside the chat.
Setting up Cryptocurrency Donations
Depending on your typical followers' technical knowledge and interests, you might choose to make it possible for them to donate to you using Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, or some other form of cryptocurrency.
To enable this, you will first need to create a cryptocurrency wallet if you haven't already done so. CryptoVantage gives instructions on how to do this. In short, you will need to go through five steps:
- Determine what kind of wallet you want to use (hardware, desktop, or mobile)
- Buy or download your wallet
- Install the software
- Set up your account and security features
- Deposit cryptocurrency
To enable cryptocurrency payments by your supporters, you will need to go to your chosen cryptocurrency's wallet app. Then, click on the Receive button or link. The app will show you a series of numbers and letters. Copy that address into your device's clipboard.
You then go to your Twitch profile (as we showed above when describing PayPal) and paste your wallet address into the Description field. Make sure you mention which type of cryptocurrency your wallet accepts. In some cases, you will have a QR version of your wallet address that you can add to your Twitch profile.
Setting up Twitch Donations Within Streamlabs
If you use Streamlabs OBS for your streaming, Streamlabs gives you additional options for monetizing your stream. One of these is a monthly tipping service. Viewers can set up recurring tips for their favorite creators.
You will want to set up a Streamlabs tip page. To do this, log into your Streamlabs dashboard and click on 'Settings' in the lower-left corner. Next, click on Donation Settings > Methods and choose your preferred Payment Processor, e.g., PayPal, credit cards, or one of the other selections. Then, go through the necessary steps to connect your account. You can manage a range of tip page settings from the Streamlabs dashboard.
You can either allow your supporters to tip what they want or set specific price points eligible for recurring payment.
These are similar to subscriptions, but Streamlabs Creator Subscription is open for anyone with a Streamlabs tip page, regardless of size or how often they stream.
How to Donate on Twitch to Your Favorite Streamers
Until now, we have looked at Twitch donations from the streamer's point of view. In this section, we will look at things from the viewpoint of a Twitch viewer wanting to reward their favorite streamers.
Cheering Your Favorite Streamer with Bits
A common way to support your favorite Twitch streamer is to buy Bits and spend them in that streamer's channel, in Cheer messages. Then, you use your Bits to purchase animated emotes. The more Bits you spend, the larger and more animated the emote.
If you incorporate one or more of these Bit Emotes in a chat message, Twitch calls it a Cheer. You can use any combination of Bit Emotes in your message unless the streamer has placed limits on what's acceptable for their channel.
Use enough Bit Emotes in a channel, and you'll earn a Cheer Chat Badge, although it is only visible in that channel's chat.
You can purchase Bits from within Twitch. You can do this by either clicking on the Get Bits button in the upper right corner of the video player or through the Bits icon in the chat message window (just to the left of the Emoticon button). In both cases, you will then see a pop-up offering various combinations of Bits you can buy. The more Bits you buy, the better discount Twitch will give you. Make your selection and finalize the purchase transaction using your preferred payment method. Once you've paid, your Bits are immediately available for you to use.
If you're using a mobile device, you purchase Bits by tapping the Bits icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the chat. Then, tap Get Bits to bring up the price list and follow the purchase flow, although payments will be processed by the Google Play Store or the Apple App store and may be more expensive than on a computer.
If you have Bits and want to Cheer your favorite streamer, you can do it by clicking the Bits icon in the chat entry window. At this point, select the Cheermote you wish to use, which can be one of the emotes we've shown above, a custom Partner Cheermote, or one of several Cheermotes based on popular global emotes. You then select the number of Bits you want to use from the resulting menu or edit the message to type in a custom amount of Bits.
Alternatively, you can initiate a Cheer by typing "cheer" into the chat, followed by the number of Bits you wish to use. You can also include a custom message. For example, you could type "cheer500 Love your stream!" If you type the wrong number by mistake, you have five seconds to correct it.
You can cheer anonymously if you prefer to hide your identity. In that case, select the Cheer Anonymously option in the Cheer card, and use the Anonymous Cheer Cheermote. In that case, the Cheer appears as being from "AnAnonymousCheerer."
Signing up for a Subscription to Your Favorite Streamer's Channel
You can officially support a streamer's channel by subscribing to it. You pay a set amount (a minimum of $4.99 per month) to support that channel. Subscribing gives you access to the channel's emotes and other benefits the streamer has defined.
Channels can offer multiple tiers, each giving better benefits.
You can either subscribe for payment or with your Twitch Prime subscription.
If you decide to subscribe to a streamer's channel, you will notice a large purple button on the right side of their channel.
Click on the Subscribe button, and you will see a screen listing the various subscriber options and subscription prices. Some channels only have one tier, while others offer more. Select the option you prefer and click on Subscribe to enter your payment details.
Twitch Prime includes a channel subscription that you can use on any Partner or Affiliate channel at no extra cost. In that case, when you click the Subscribe button on your favorite streamer's page, the first tab will show you if you can subscribe with Prime. If you can, select "Subscribe Free" to activate your Prime Subscription.
Donating with PayPal
Suppose your favorite streamer has a PayPal Donation button on their About tab. In that case, you can easily donate by clicking on this button and following instructions, assuming you have a PayPal account. If you don't yet have a PayPal account, you can set up one in minutes.
Paying With Cryptocurrency
If you have Bitcoin, Ethereum, or some other form of cryptocurrency in a digital wallet, you may be able to use it to donate to your favorite streamer. You will notice from the description near the bottom of the above screenshot that the streamer (Imperial Jedi) gives the option to donate with Bitcoin if you prefer.
You will have to look at the streamer's About page to see if they refer to accepting your preferred cryptocurrency. That may include a QR code or simply a seemingly random series of numbers and letters.
Although the exact process will depend on the cryptocurrency platform, you will usually need to go through the following steps:
- Set up a cryptocurrency wallet and acquire your chosen cryptocurrency.
- Find the streamer's cryptocurrency address (the letters and numbers)
- Go to your digital wallet and put the streamer's cryptocurrency address into the appropriate field
- Indicate the amount of cryptocurrency you wish to donate and press the payment key
Paying Using the Streamlabs Tips
Some streamers will use software called Streamlabs to assist with their broadcasting. It provides an easy way for streamers to receive tips from their supporters.
Depending on how the streamer sets things up, you can either choose how much you'd like to contribute each month or pay a set price.
If you pay a recurring tip, you will receive an email reminding you that you have a redeemable alert. This takes you to the streamer's tip page, where you can manually fire the notification to ensure the streamer is live and can thank you in the stream.
You will find a link to the streamer's Streamlabs donation page website if they have one on their profile. Follow the link and any instructions for donating on that page.
How Using OWN3DPro's Designs Can Encourage Increased Donations to Your Twitch Channel
OWN3DPro is a collection of more than 600 premium overlays and alerts that streamers can use to customize their channel's look. Using these overlays and alerts can help make your channel stand out from the thousands of other channels that all look the same.
OWN3DPro offers everything you need to operate a standout Steam channel:
- 600+ premium Overlays & Alerts in 9+ languages
- Stream event lists
- Stream labels
- Twitch chatbot
- Copyright-free music
It can be challenging to reach the level of support needed to monetize your Twitch channel. However, OWN3DPro graphics help set you apart from the vast number of competing Twitch channels.
You even gain a PayPal donation site with your OWN3DPro subscription, so you don't have to wait until you've achieved Partner or Affiliate status.