You’ve worked hard to build your audience.
You know that developing and launching a product will take time—but you want to get paid for your hard work sooner.
(Read: for the dozens or hundreds of hours you spent creating blog posts, newsletters, videos, podcasts, and other hyper-valuable resources.)
The way to make it happen? By setting up a tip jar. It’s the easiest way to get paid for building an audience, even without a product. And the best part is that you can have a tip jar ready to go in about 10 minutes—all you need is a free ConvertKit account.
If you want to create your own tip jar, but aren’t sure how to position it, this guide is for you.
Why you should set up a tip jar in ConvertKit
There are plenty of services offering a tip jar feature, but we’re (naturally) biased towards the one ConvertKit offers.
In case you’re deciding between a few tip jar options, here’s why we’re rooting for ours:
- It’s available to all ConvertKit users, including free accounts. You don’t need to pay a monthly fee to get paid through ConvertKit Commerce. This means that no matter how small your audience is right now, setting up a tip jar in ConvertKit is risk-free.
- People who tip you will be added to your email list. In other words, receiving a tip will only be the start of your relationship with a new supporter. You can stay in touch and create even more value for them in the long run.
- You can tag people who give tips. You can use ConvertKit’s visual automations to automatically tag fans who tip you. Later on, you can re-engage with these subscribers and show extra gratitude.
- Commission is only 3.5% + $0.30 per tip. Some platforms take between 30% and 50% for each tip you receive. With ConvertKit, you only pay a standard payment processing fee—the rest goes directly to you.
- People who don’t buy your product can support you through Tip Jar. When you launch products, there will be subscribers who won’t be able to afford it or who don't need that exact product. A ConvertKit Tip Jar allows them to show support for your work regardless.
9 creator examples to inspire your tip jar
1. Ask for support for free content: Weaving Lessons
One of the easiest ways to get started with your tip jar is by adding it to your cornerstone pieces of content. If you create YouTube videos, add it to your video descriptions. For blog posts, add it to the blog sidebar or at the bottom of each blog post.
Kelly Casanova is a great example of both! She is the creator behind Weaving Lessons—a YouTube channel with over 37,000 subscribers and a website with free and paid weaving resources.
In her video descriptions, she asks viewers to leave her a tip if they’re enjoying her content.
On her blog, she links to her tip jar with a simple “Buy me a coffee” note at the bottom of each article.
And her tip jar page completes the message by emphasizing the value of her content, even though it’s free.
2. Place your tip jar on every important page: The perfect French with Dylane
Even if you have a range of products—books, courses, digital downloads—your audience can buy to support you, a tip jar is worth adding to the mix.
One reason is that you may not offer a product that matches their needs yet. The other is that those who want to donate can choose as little or as much as they want to pay you. If your product is $100, but they don’t need it at the moment, they can still support you by sending you a $30 tip!
Dylane Moreau teaches French through The perfect French with Dylane. She does so through free blog posts and videos, free downloads and courses, and paid books. Her YouTube channel has over 33,000 subscribers, and her Instagram following is 50K strong.
Her website has a “Support my work” tab in the main menu. On it, she encourages visitors to either buy her books or send a tip through her embedded tip jar page.
She links to this page from her emails and YouTube video descriptions. On her Instagram, she uses the profile link to send followers to her link page.
Her link page lists many of her free resources and a direct link to her tip jar page.
Dylane makes it easy to support her work no matter where her followers and subscribers interact with her the most.
3. Get paid for a free service: Help a B2B Writer
Do you have a creative side project that isn’t monetized (yet) but brings massive value to your audience? This is a perfect tip jar use case.
Take it from Elise Dopson, a freelance writer who runs Help a B2B Writer. It’s a service that connects B2B writers with quality sources for their articles. The service is completely free for both sides: sources sign up and choose their areas of expertise, and writers submit one-off requests for the topic they need expert insights on.
On her tip jar page, Elise mentions the cost of running the project—which is what makes this such a great tip jar example.
The first place Elise points to the option to tip Help a B2B Writer is the website footer, linking the “Buy me a coffee” text to the tip jar page.
Then, daily emails with requests for sources end with a tip jar link with a reminder that the service is free for writers and sources.
And an email that goes out to writers right after they submit a request for expert contributions does the same.
Writers and sources that use this service often do so multiple times per week, so these are great recurring reminders of the free value of this service and a way to show support.
4. Replace YouTube ads with a tip jar: Charli Marie
You can use your tip jar to improve your audience's experience when consuming content. You don’t really have control over what happens on third-party platforms that host your content, including algorithms, ads, and rules.
For example, “YouTube ads are out of control” is searched for frequently enough to show up among top recommended searches for YouTube ads.
Charli Marie, a design YouTuber and podcaster (and ConvertKit’s creative director), has set up her tip jar to deal with this issue. She has disabled ads on her YouTube channel several years ago and instead links to her tip jar page in her YouTube video descriptions.
This is an excellent way to position a tip jar page because it shows that the creator cares more about the viewing experience than about monetizing video views.
5. Raise funds for a dedicated project: Making Stories
Tip jars can be a great fundraising tool for limited-time projects. Instead of figuring out another platform and integrating it with the tools you already use, you can keep using ConvertKit and raise funds with your Tip Jar.
Take it from Making Stories, a one-stop shop for sustainability in knitting, run by Hanna Lisa and her team. It sells books, magazines, and sustainably produced yarns. Making Stories reaches its large audience through blog posts, podcast episodes, and weekly newsletters.
With each issue of the bi-annual magazine, the team creates Easy Read versions for non and partially sighted community members. In an Instagram post, they’ve stated they need to raise €3600 (~$4,080) to produce the entire Issue 7, or €300 (~$340) for each pattern.
Fundraising happens through a ConvertKit tip jar page. Making Stories invites their Instagram followers to check out the link in bio, which leads to a link page. One of the links on the page is the fundraising tip jar page.
The tip jar page again emphasizes that any donation helps towards the goal of making the magazine accessible to every maker.
Making Stories also posts updates about the number of patterns the donations made possible so far, encouraging people to donate if they haven’t yet.
6. Collect tips on your lead magnet landing page: Science Mom
Landing pages can act as mini websites, even when you already have a full-fledged website.
For example, when you offer a free lead magnet in exchange for a subscriber’s email address, you can link to additional resources—one of which can be your tip jar.
Science Mom is a great example of this. Science Mom taught weekly science lessons at elementary schools before starting a YouTube channel. The channel now hosts hundreds of videos about science, math, and nature made for families and has more than 45,000 subscribers.
Science Mom also runs paid courses, one of which is Earth Science. More than 140 pages of notes and activities that accompany the course are available as a free download, along with links to buy the course, sign up on Patreon, or leave a donation in the tip jar:
This shows visitors that the content they’re signing up for is so valuable it could be a paid product—and gives them an option to support it.
7. Get support for your podcast: The Post Concussion Podcast
If you want to get more specific with your tip jar page, your podcast is a brilliant way to do so. Set up your tip jar as an obvious option for listeners who want to support your free podcast financially.
That’s what The Post Concussion Podcast does. It’s a podcast about life after suffering a concussion. The main call to action on the podcast page is the “Support the show” button that takes listeners to the tip jar page.
The podcast also has its own Instagram page with a link page added to its profile. This page also links to the tip jar page, alongside other podcast-related links.
There’s another crucial place the tip jar link appears on: the show notes for each episode. Each show notes page links to the website homepage, the podcast page, a consultation scheduling system, and the tip jar for those who want to support the podcast.
The tip jar page is short, straightforward, and effective, emphasizing that all donations go towards covering the cost of producing the show.
8. Offer your tip jar as an alternative to recurring paid subscriptions: Martijn Van Zwieten
Recurring subscriptions are a great way to monetize your creativity. They’re easy to run and scale, and they give you the stability and peace of mind you crave as a creator.
If you give your subscribers an option to support you through a recurring monthly or yearly payment, adding a tip jar is a great one-time payment alternative. Some subscribers might prefer this option and will appreciate the opportunity.
He links to this page from his newsletter page, where he makes it clear that the newsletter will always be free of charge but that payments help ensure its sustainability.
From the recurring payment page, he links out to his tip jar—he calls it a coffee fund—for subscribers who prefer the one-time donation option.
9. Make your tip jar an integral part of your website: StartAStudio
No matter what products or services you offer (now or in the future), you always have the option to get your audience used to the consistent presence of your tip jar.
When you do this, you normalize the notion of paying the creators for what they create, teach, and give out for free. It reminds your readers or viewers that this is your job—one that you want to keep doing sustainably instead of burning out.
Jon Draper is the creator behind Start A Studio, a website packed with articles, videos, courses, and a job board for those who want to run a successful animation business.
Jon embedded his tip jar link at the top right corner of his website, as well as at the banner section of his YouTube channel.
On the tip jar page, Jon reminds his audience of the breadth of resources available under the Start A Studio umbrella. With free video courses, checklists, quizzes, and dozens of articles and
YouTube videos, sending a tip seems like a no-brainer.
Get paid through your Tip Jar today
No matter where you are in your creator journey—brainstorming your first offer or launching your fifth—you can start monetizing your content and influence today by setting up a Tip Jar in ConvertKit.
With these nine use cases, you now know you can use a tip jar in many different ways. Get paid for free content or a free service you run, fundraise, offer alternatives to paid subscriptions, encourage listeners to support your podcast, and so much more. Your options are endless!
Grab your free ConvertKit account to set up a tip jar you can start sharing right away.