How to Create a Ko-fi for Your YouTube Channel
On the path to monetizing your YouTube channel, creating a Ko-fi page is a solid option for a subscription and tipping platform. Your fans can leave you one-time donations – after watching a particularly amazing video of yours, for example. Or they can subscribe on a continual basis, providing you with a sweet passive income stream.
Like in our recent Patreon guide, we’ll walk you through the process of creating a Ko-fi page in this post.
In addition to tipping and subscription services, Ko-fi now offers a storefront. That means you can set up an online shop via the platform with a minimum of hassle. Whether you sell physical products like craft items, or digital ones like e-books and online courses, Ko-fi can act as your monetization hub.
A slight drawback of this platform, though, is that many functionalities – such as analytics – only become available at Ko-Fi’s Gold tier, which costs $6 per month. However, in return, the free Ko-Fi plan does not take a cut of any of your donations – unlike Patreon and Buy Me A Coffee.
If you think that this is the right platform for your channel, here’s our step-by-step guide to setting it up.
Ko-fi – Basic Setup
Let’s get right to it!
Ko-fi’s homepage makes it really simple to get started: just claim your preferred custom URL right in the center box, or hit Start a page in the top right corner.
Either way, you end up at the registration form. Create an account with an email address and password, or connect your existing Twitter, Google, or Facebook account.
Success! Hit Confirm and let’s move on.
On the next screen, you’ll want to tell Ko-fi that you’re Here to make money. Should you ever change your mind about monetizing here, you can change the account type later.
Now – if you haven’t already – pick your custom URL. You can change it later, anytime. By the way: Gold members get to set one shorter than 5 characters.
As a next step – though you can skip it for now – set a profile pic. Ko-fi will show only a circle of it, but lets you change its size and position.
Next, select your niches – this tells Ko-fi what you’re all about, and helps you get found on the platform itself. Choose as many as needed, but keep it to the point.
Pick a display name and provide a little bio. They’ll show up on your final page.
Your basic profile is done!
Let’s have a look at how the page looks now. There’s already a default donation — one that suits the Ko-fi name: Coffees, priced at $3 a pop.
Our Ko-fi page is now live and accessible – you don’t have to specifically launch it.
This concludes the basic set-up. So let’s now move on to the reason we’re setting up the Ko-fi page for our YouTube Channel in the first place: Payment and monetization options.
Setting up Payment and Donations
As soon as your basic profile is done, Ko-fi will prompt you to set up your payment methods.
You don’t have to do this right now, but you obviously can’t monetize with any of Ko-fi’s features unless you do. So let’s go!
You can accept PayPal donations — just connect a PayPal account — but also credit cards and Apple Pay, if you set up or connect a Stripe account.
Both services will, of course, apply their own transaction fees.
Check out the Payment tab in your page settings – we’ve successfully connected our method for accepting payment.
That done, you can check out more donation settings. Ko-fi uses $3 “unit” donations by default, a metaphor for however many cups of coffee somebody wants to spring for you.
You can set the currency you’ll accept donations in. Both Stripe and PayPal will convert other currencies for you, of course (conversion fees will apply).
While you’re at it, why not set up a thank-you message?
Finally, it’s possible to change Ko-fi’s unit donation approach to a more classical “choose your amount” at the bottom.
At this point, your page is ready to accept donations. But what if you want to offer rewards in return for regular fan investment?
Let’s go to the next step: Ko-fi memberships.
Ko-Fi Memberships and Tiers
Memberships amount to a monthly subscription that your supporters pay you in return for goodies. Ko-fi lets you set up tiers so that you can offer more fan benefits for a higher amount.
However, it’s absolutely possible to set up a simple monthly donation without tiers – as the screenshot below shows.
The feature is a relatively new one, and you can find it in the left sidebar under More Ways To Earn.
If you do go for tiers, here’s how to set them up. First, change the Membership Mode to Membership Tiers, then add tiers to your liking:
You pick a name, a picture, a monthly price, and choose from a range of members-only benefits.
There are quite a few options for what you can offer by default – and in a recent blog post, the Ko-fi team itself lists over 40 ideas. Some of the more popular ones, of course, are exclusive content, Discord access (which Ko-fi can integrate with), or merch (which you need to take care of yourself).
You’ll also be able to limit how many people can subscribe to a given tier. This doesn’t just prevent time-consuming benefits from piling up on your plate, it also lends some exclusivity.
There are a few other monetization options Ko-fi offers, which we won’t go into more detail in this guide. One of them is selling commissions – a limited number of slots to create something for one supporter. This is typically artwork, but you might also use this to offer 1:1 sessions.
Lastly, you can also set up a shop for merchandise or anything else you might care to sell.
In both cases, you’re responsible for the actual services, so while it’s simple to sell digital goods with it, you’ll have to create and ship physical items yourself.
Ko-fi’s pricing is extremely simple. There is only one paid plan, Gold. It’s currently a flat $6 a month – $4.50 if paid annually. The main benefit is that it removes the 5% platform cut Ko-fi takes on the free plan for things other than donations, notably memberships, the shop, and commissions.
The ability to offer exclusive content is an important Gold extra, as it strongly encourages donations and subscriptions. There are a few other additions, too:
Gold also lets you do a lot more customization. You get to pick the highlight colors and change the “coffee” metaphor to something else.
For example, Finanwen – who created her Ko-fi page for the YouTube channel we saw at the start of this article – chose purple and $5 Milk Teas:
There is another way to get access to those customizations (and the ability to post member-only content). By choosing the Contributor option, you can get the same perks in return for a 5% fee on donations, too.
Ko-fi is an attractive alternative to other subscription platforms. One reason is the low platform cut on the free plan – and none, even, on straight donations. Creating a Ko-fi page for your YouTube channel is also very straightforward, as we’ve shown in this guide.
Lastly, Ko-fi is constantly adding more features: With a storefront, commissions, and membership tiers, it’s a great yet simple platform for monetizing your channel.