For most people who use the online space to monetize from their creative ideas, a little bit of funding can go a long way. The money can be used to buy tools, pay for logistics or even as simple as maintaining a website. If you belong to this group of people and wondering how to set up a donation page, here’s Ko-fi to the rescue.
Ko-Fi at a Glance
Using the metaphor of buying someone a cup of coffee as a treat or a token of appreciation, Ko-fi has come a long way since the days when it was just an embeddable button. Today, it’s a simple page builder that allows one to grow a loyal audience and collect funds to support their online ventures.
This sort of tip-jar program is widely used by creators and niche bloggers in some of the following categories;
- Food and Drink
- Health and Fitness
- Science and Tech
- Video and Film
For large scale crowdfunding like a startup project or private donation drive, however, people tend to use other platforms which I will mention shortly.
The tool is basically free to use and it doesn’t publish any third party ads on your page or take a cut from your donation. To get more advanced page customization, you can upgrade to a Gold membership that cost $6 per month (or $59 per year) to enjoy the following features;
1 – Supporter-only posts – Post any type of exclusive content that can only be unlocked with one-off or monthly donations from supporters.
2 – Create monthly income – Provide the option for supporters to donate on a monthly basis, so you can receive recurring funds to keep your creative work going.
3 – Commissions tools – This section allows you to provide additional services for people who like your work. It’s similar to promoting on Fiverr except that the gigs are more exclusive and professionally priced according to your skills and schedule.
4 – Set donation price – The default donation price is $3, but with this feature, you have the flexibility to choose between $1 to $100 dollars in US, Euro, British, Canadian and Australian currency.
5 – Change coffee to something else – If you aren’t a big fan of the coffee metaphor, you can switch to other words like pizza, beer or anything that you like.
6 – User a shorter username – Shorter names are generally easier for people to remember. With the Gold membership, you get to set a five character Ko-fi name that will be reflected in the donation page URL.
7 – Clickable social links – With Gold, your social profile links will be made clickable which makes it easier for supporters to follow your project activities online. Website link, on the other hand, is accessible in both basic and Gold users.
8 – Extra gallery space – This feature will allow more storage space to upload higher quality media for the benefit of the supporters.
9 – Analytics insights – Connect your donation page to Google Analytics to track the visitor’s engagement, conversion and make the most out of the link.
10 – Get access to new features – Ko-fi is constantly developing new tools to improve on the program’s usability and as a Gold member, you’ll get to try them out immediately.
Like mentioned before, there’s certainly a lot more stuff going on with the latest version compared to the previous one so let’s see how you can get started.
How to Create and Share a Ko-fi Donation Page
Before diving into Ko-fi, the first thing to do is to set up a PayPal account if you haven’t already done so. It is a very secure method to be paid through PayPal, but keep in mind that the system takes 2.9 percent of the payment plus 30 cents per transaction, before putting the money in your account.
That means, for every $100 received from Ko-fi, you are actually making $96.80 while the remaining goes to PayPal. Setting up an account is free and you only need an email address as the common link. After you’ve done that, create a user account with Ko-fi either through Google (Gmail) or a Facebook profile.
Inside the dashboard, there is a tab that says ‘Start a Page’. Click on that and follow the instructions to fill out the following details;
- Profile picture
- About Me page
- Cover photo
- Social links
- Gallery images
Upon completion, the page will look something like this;
Now, you can easily share the page link via Twitter or Facebook. However, if you truly want to build a long term engagement with the audience, it’s best to do it through a website or a blog. Ko-fi offers three methods for this purpose;
- Share via a button which can be customized according to the color theme of your site.
- Share via an image of Ko-fi, pretty much the same as a button, but just limited to 5 color choices.
- Share via a text link which is basically a hyperlink to your donation page.
Alternatively, you can also use their WordPress plugin to generate a personalized button to be placed anywhere on a website. Such versatility is one of the reasons why I highly recommend using WordPress as a publishing platform. If you are in the midst of getting a site, here’s an opportunity to build one for free.
What Do I Like about Ko-fi
Ko-fi is a great tool and retains much of their fundamental elements since I discovered it several years ago.
- Firstly, it’s ridiculously easy to set up a page. The instructions are intuitive and simple to follow, even a non-techie can do it.
- The easy customization feature makes it look more presentable on any type of websites. Alternatively, you can also use their pre-made buttons, stickers and logos directly on your blog.
- It’s FREE to use – Ko-fi doesn’t take any cuts from the donation – so this is a good way to support the funding of low-budgeted creators, solopreneurs and niche bloggers who are just starting out on their online projects.
What Can Be Improved
If there’s one thing lacking with Ko-fi, that would be the absence of a Pinterest profile link. I know there are many creators who are active in this space so it would certainly offer more audience exposure if they could set up a clickable link to this social platform.
What Ko-fi Shouldn’t Be Used For
As a free donation tool, it’s easy for people to abuse the purpose of Ko-Fi and use it for something else. So here are the things that you should avoid doing;
- Asking for donation WITHOUT providing any values or content creation. In other words, you shouldn’t post your link all over social media, soliciting funds without showing people what you are actually offering through your knowledge or skills. It’s almost like online spamming and people generally don’t like that.
- Use the tool to promote INAPPROPRIATE materials or for personal gains. Doing these can lead to distrust and tarnish your reputation as a creator or a blogger.
- If your project involves bigger brands and requires a larger amount of funds, then it’s better to go through professional fundraising tools that can offer better donor experience and more customization features.
Some of them do come with platform fees so make sure you know how much it would cost at the end of the day. Here are some programs to look into further;
- Go Get Funding
My Overall Thought about Ko-fi
In conclusion, Ko-fi is a simple and friendly way to ask for donation support online. Even though it is not as powerful as other type of fundraising tools, it can still collect a minimal fund for creators who are looking to make a mark in the online world.
The team has proven to be innovative and user-friendly so I am pretty sure that we can anticipate more good stuff to come in the near future for Ko-fi. So, make sure to keep an eye.
By the way, besides learning how to set up a donation page, would you also be interested to take your passion and talent to the next level? If the answer is yes, then check out my recommended training platform to see how you can start a profitable online business without having to rely on donation all the time.
Hope to see you inside and if you have any thoughts or questions about this topic, feel free to leave a comment below.