How to Set Up Donations on Twitch

Acceptance of viewers ‘ donations is a common way to earn revenue when streaming on Twitch. Despite its popularity, however, it is more difficult to set up a donation system than simply to allow a “donate” button on a Twitch user profile.

Users are required to think outside of the box and use apps such as Twitch’s first-party bits / cheers program or one of many third-party options made available by other companies. Here are the four most common Twitch streamers donation solutions, and how to use them.

Twitch Bits

Bits (also known as cheers) are the official program for Twitch donations. Though, they’re a little more complex than just sending some cash to a streamer with the push of a button and they’re only open to Twitch affiliates and partners. Bits are essentially a form of digital currency which is bought directly from Twitch using Amazon Payments using real-world money.

  1. Twitch enables Cheering automatically for all new Affiliates and Partners.
Twitch Bits

The settings for Cheering are under Dashboard > Partner Settings > Bits & Cheering.

2. Viewers can now use their bits in your channel by typing cheer and the number of bits they wish to use. For example, cheer5 would use five bits, and cheer1000 would use 1,000.

PayPal Donations on Twitch

One of the easiest ways to receive Twitch donations is through using PayPal. A streamer will ask viewers to directly send money using the email address associated with the PayPal account for the streamer. Simply set up a PayPal.me connection, which streamlines the entire viewer process with a clean design and easy-to-understand gui, is an easier option however. Here are some effective ways to get donations on Twitch using a PayPal.me address:

  • Verbally mention your full PayPal.me address during a stream.
  • Post your connection in chat with your channel. Not only will this attract the attention of your viewers but it will also be much more convenient, as the connection can be clicked from within the conversation.
  • Add your Twitch Channel page to a donation section by going to your channel, clicking on the Edit Panels button, and then clicking on the Giant + icon. Fill in the Title and Description fields of the panel and add your PayPal.me link to the description, along with a brief message describing why viewers think they should donate.

Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies

Because of their speed, protection and lower transaction fees, the use of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum to send and receive funds online continues to grow. Having a payment into your cryptocurrency wallet is as easy as sharing the address of your wallet with another person. Here’s how Twitch would make this work.

  1. Open up your chosen cryptocurrency’s wallet app. Bitpay is a popular wallet app for new users.
  2. Click on the Receive button or link. All wallets have this option regardless of currency or app maker.
  3. You will see a single line of seemingly random numbers and letters; this is your wallet’s address. Tap the address to copy it to your device’s clipboard.
  4. Create a donation section on your Twitch profile as described above in the PayPal section on this page.
  5. Paste your wallet address into the Description field, making sure you mention what the wallet address is for in cryptocurrency. Users won’t be able to send Ethereum to a Litecoin wallet or Bitcoin to an Ethereum wallet, so it’s incredibly important to correctly label that address.
  6. You should now be able to receive bitcoin using Bitpay.

Twitch Donation Page Services

Twitch streamers can interact with a range of third-party providers to their account, enabling additional features such as donations and notifications. Gaming For Good, Muxy, Stream Elements, and StreamLabs are amongst the most common. Each of these services creates a unique donation page for your website, which is hosted on their own site, to which you can direct your viewers to donate.

Here’s how to set up a StreamLabs donation page that has the most functionality, and is the easiest for beginners to use. The steps for creating a donation page on the other pages are very similar.

  1. From your StreamLabs Dashboard, click on Donation Settings.
  2. Click on the PayPal icon to connect your PayPal account to StreamLabs so that viewers can send donations directly to your PayPal account from the donation page. You also can add other payment options on this page such as Unitpay, Skrill, and credit cards, but PayPal should be the primary method you activate, given its wide usage among Twitch viewers.
  3. From the Donations Settings > Settings, select your currency and minimum/maximum donation limits. Setting the minimum donation to 5 dollars is a good idea to discourage users from spamming your account with small donations.
  4. Select Save Settings at the bottom of the page.
  5. The Settings page will display your donation page website address. It should look something like https://streamlabs.com/username. Copy this address and add it to the donation section on your Twitch Channel page.

Should You Accept Donations on Twitch?

It’s a very common practice to accept donations and tips on Twitch and neither streamers nor viewers frown at it. Donations are among the few ways in which small channels can earn revenue. Nonetheless, if you are gaining more followers and becoming a Twitch affiliate or partner it is important to learn about Twitch subscriptions. Twitch subscriptions have proved to be very popular, receiving substantially higher amounts than one-off contributions, and providing the potential to grow over time.

Are Twitch Donations Taxable?

Yes. Despite being referred to as donations, tips, or gifts by streamers, this money is considered a valid source of income, so you should claim it when filing a tax return.

How to Prevent Donation Chargebacks

Using PayPal can be an easy, trustworthy way of accepting donations, but it does have one major flaw that scammers often exploit;chargebacks. It occurs when someone who has paid for something online via PayPal files a lawsuit with the company claiming they never received the goods or services they ordered. When this occurs, PayPal reimburses the customer more often than not, leaving the seller without their product and with no money to show for it.

Sadly for streamers, there are growing stories of scammers and internet trolls contributing large amounts of money to Twitch channels only to have it all paid back a few months later. For PayPal, you can’t protect yourself 100 percent from this kind of fraud, which is why many seasoned streamers prefer to focus on bits (which are covered by Amazon Payments) and crypto-currency donations (which can’t be cancelled or charged back).

How to Encourage Your Twitch Viewers to Donate

Many viewers on Twitch are more than happy to support their favorite streamers, but if they don’t know it’s a choice, they will not think they can donate. Here are five simple ways of encouraging your audience to donate, without being pushy or spammy.

  1. Thank your donors verbally during a stream. This not only reminds viewers that donating is an option but also rewards donors with three seconds of fame.
  2. Add a Recent Donor widget that displays the names of the last few donors to your onscreen Twitch layout. Use the StreamLabs service and the OBS Studio program to do this. This won’t be an option if you stream directly from your video game console.
  3. Create a list of donors on your Twitch profile page.  This could become unwieldy for big channels, but this can be a great way to thank supporters for streamers with small audiences, and encourage those who have not yet given it a go. Many streamers also build their top five donor lists, which can promote rivalry among viewers.
  4. Create a goal. Viewer contributions are more likely if they know what their money is going for. Services such as StreamLabs will create a free progress bar which can be applied to the OBS Studio stream interface. This visualization is modified as people donate in real time, and can inspire an audience to work towards a target. Inside your profile, you can list donation targets verbally and.
  5. Use custom alerts. One of the best ways to recompense donors is by tailoring the warnings. Alerts are visual and audio signals which activate when a viewer follows, subscribes, donates, or tips with bits during a live stream. If you’ve seen an onscreen notification like, “Thank you for following!!,” you’ve already seen a warning in practice. With any animated gif and sound file, you can customize notifications inside StreamLabs. Entertaining variations continue to inspire viewers to donate to see the warning again.

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