Let’s say you have your stream up and running and you have an overlay that really suits you and your gameplay. You’ve seen the other successful streams—the ones that get a lot of attention and donations are the ones that put a lot of effort into the stream itself, and if you put in the work you’re likely to get the same sort of attention.
It’s both the chicken and the egg. Unless your stream literally has single digit viewers, it’s pretty much never too early to start worrying about setting up donations.
You might think that it’s a little soon to be jumping the gun and worry about follower/sub alerts, donation alerts, and similar services. Try to ignore that voice in your head for now. The more effort you put into setting up your stream, the better. Bells and whistles aren’t going to do anything but make your stream look impressive, so long as the viewer can still see and enjoy the game. Having donations available shows that you are confident in your stream and believe it is deserving of donations.
Donation services for Twitch typically allow you to connect your PayPal to the service, which gives you a button to put on your stream page. When a follower clicks the button, they are taken to a donation page through the service where they can pay into your PayPal. All of the sites offer different packages. Here are some of the services that you can look at before you try setting up donations for your Twitch stream.
You might know this website from its original name—Twitchalerts. I see tons of streamers using this website for their widgets, often times more than one. The landing page for the website is kind of confusing, but click on “features” before you click “login to get started.”
The first thing you’re treated to is a collection of small video files showing you the kinds of widgets they offer. There’s the “alertbox,” with the jumping Meowth you’ve probably seen on dozens of streams. There’s the hastily made and hard-to-read chatbox. There’s the eventlist, which is decent, but it is pretty unlikely many streams will get a lot of use out of it. There’s also a donation goal bar that seems to automatically change its progress when you receive a donation. These are all customizable, of course, and they provide an API for custom development if that’s what you’re into.
It also has another widget worth mentioning. “The Jar.” It’s, uh… a glass container (you can select between jars, cups, and wine glasses)…that little follower and donation balls fall into. A lot of other services have started to copy this widget. Other than that obvious weirdness, the widgets are fine and easy to set up. They only work for Twitch and Youtube, but their website states they plan to add Facebook and Twitter functionality.
The service itself is free, and definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re a beginner. The landing page that followers are treated to when they click the “donation” button is well-made and comes with a text box for your followers to input a donation message. They don’t take a cut from donations, either—just be wary, like always, of a cut being taken through the payment processing.
Much like Streamlabs, Streampro markets itself as an “all-in-one” service. It has donation alerts, chatboxes, polls, and all sorts of other widgets. Even on the landing page of the website, it has a customer testimonial that states that they were sick of having a weird blend of programs to aid in their Twitch stream functionality.Streampro also emphasizes ease-of-use, offering a drag & drop editor to make the perfect Twitch overlay. Their ultimate goal appears to be user-friendliness, and they really succeed.
Like the previous entry in the list, this service is free to use and doesn’t take a cut out of the donations you receive. They also offer integration with non-Twitch (and non-PayPal) services like Teespring and Honeyledger.
From the name, you can probably already tell that this website is less focused on what goes on in the visual part of the stream and more focused on the donation aspect of it. It’s another free service with a highly customizable public API.
The service itself creates a tip page for you. When you make the page, you enter your payment information (usually through PayPal or a Bitcoin wallet) and a blurb for your followers, then link it on your stream. Streamtip has alerts, but other than that, doesn’t offer much else.
This is simple but worth checking out. It is incredibly easy to set up and link, and this is a great option if you’d rather all the bells and whistles on the stream itself be done by you or a service other than the donation link provider. Some people want a package, but some people want their donations to be from the donation specialist and their overlay to be from the overlay specialist.
Yes, this is the fourth entry in a row with “stream” in the name. It’s not only for Twitch—you can use it for Mixer and Smashcast, if you’re looking for anything aside from the biggest streaming platform.
Like some of the other programs, it’s a package-oriented service. They have overlays, alerts, chatbots (like BlipBot) and other integrations to go on your stream. Notably, they offer Discord integration. They also have a desktop app that comes with the platform to help you design your stream and run it the way you want. This might be the way to go if you’re more comfortable designing something through an executable program, rather than through the web.
It’s free and they don’t take a cut, but they’re in open beta, so you should be patient if you decide to use this service.
Chances are you’ve seen a streamer use a highly customized overlay from this service and assumed they made it themselves. This service might not be as popular as Streamlabs, but it’s incredibly easy to use and you can really make your stream stand out.
They offer a SceneCreator service that allows you to customize and move your alerts with simple drag-and-drop windows that can expand and minimize.
Unlike some of the other donation programs and sites, this service allows payment through PayPal, Visa/Mastercard, Paysafecard and more. They don’t take a cut, and they even have a chart under their FAQ page that shows exactly how much money gets taken out from the different donation methods.
Tipeeestream also offers 24/7 customer support—something a lot of these services don’t. They seem to recognize that they’re a business and their site is very professional.
Out of all the services listed here, this one is likely the least reliable and smallest. That being said, it’s worth including because of how unique it is.
They have a pretty weak overlay and alert package to go with their donation buttons, but what they really advertise is that your followers can order you food directly through Treatstream, with your address and name kept private. This is ideal if you live in a city or you’re streaming something other than videogames. Personally, I would never use this, but I figure this might be popular with artists streaming on Twitch, or people using the IRL category.
Treatstream also has its own messaging service called Pal Panel, but it seems very ancient and AIM-ish. I can’t imagine a lot of people are going to be using that to message a streamer directly.
Oh, yeah, and they keep a cut from Sponsorship transactions because they’re so small.
Maybe you already got your stream working just the way you want it to, and don’t want to change any overlays or alerts. Maybe you don’t want anything in your stream other than raw gameplay. You can make a donation button through PayPal itself and put it directly on your stream page.
If you go to “My Selling Tools” on the PayPal dashboard, there’s another option called “Choose a Button Type.” From there, you can change the appearance to match your stream, select the currency, and bam—ready to go. From there, you can just put it on your stream from the “Edit” command under Admin.
At the end of the day, there’s plenty of ways to set up donations for your Twitch stream. There are some other things to remember, though.
A good rule of thumb is to keep a donation floor—going through PayPal directly on your Twitch stream means that PayPal often takes 30% and 30 cents, making some lower donations an utter waste of money for both parties.
Be sure to remember your stream manners, too. You’re free to have a donation button, but try not to beg and plead with your viewers—it can be really offputting, and can actually hurt you in the long run. Put on a good stream, and people will come and donate!