Founded in 2012, Ko-fi has gained popularity and reputation as a website for independent creators to accept donations, memberships, and sales directly from their supporters. There are many benefits but also drawbacks to Ko-fi and that is what we will explore in this article.
What are the benefits of Ko-Fi
In the last decade, we have seen many individuals switching from regular jobs that pay an hourly rate into self-employed roles such as content creation, such as video creation, writing, and drawing. Start-up creatives and freelancers tend to struggle to find their first few consecutive paychecks due to either a lack of recognition or because there is no medium for creators to seek payment for their work when they first set out. When they do find a platform to use, such as Fiverr, they have to contend with those same platforms charging a fee for their use. Fiverr, for example, takes a cut of 20% from each order that a freelancer on their website sells. 20%!
Ko-Fi functions as a platform where you could advertise yourself to receive donations, memberships, and sales, easily and all in one place without charging any fees. You read that right. Ko-Fi takes no fee from your donations, other than the processing fee of up to 3.4% + $0.30. They make their money only from a 5% fee on commissions and shop sales taken through the site. Ko-fi provides the struggling creators which a great source of income to fuel their creativity.
Another benefit to using Ko-fi is the versatility it brings. For example, as a writer, most monetised writing sources force you to carry out all services via their platform to make money. You are forbidden to try and get the customer to message you directly. Ko-fi, on the other hand, can be used anywhere. Ko-fi allows you to link your donation site to any profile on any website. This allows you to relieve yourself of the hassle of being forced into writing somewhere where you don’t want to and allows you to make money from where you already write.
What are the drawbacks of Ko-Fi
On the flip side of the coin, there are some drawbacks to using Ko-fi as your primary source of income. Firstly, the technology for Ko-fi is simplistic and there are better platforms in terms of technology. In terms of blogging, there are many features that you would expect to have on the website but they are simply not there. Many people desire more options for their posts and Ko-fi falls behind on that.
Secondly, the platform offers most of its features and services for free but to access the more advanced items such as the commission feature, changing the name of the donate button and analytics, etc. a subscription is required which comes around to $9 per month under the gold plan. Not everyone is willing to subscribe to those especially new creators with fewer fans and followers.
To conclude, should you join Ko-fi? It is definitely one to think about. We feel it is a great starting site to begin building a fan base, as you can do so without fear of fees. Ko-fi provides a great service to creatives and freelancers but is prepared to out-grow the site. We would recommend that you plan for this and diversify early so that you do not find yourself using Ko-Fi as our only source of income. However, you plan to use Ko-Fi, have fun, and good luck!