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Patreon vs Kickstarter – Which one better for you?


Posted at:06/25/2021

Just a decade ago, you would have laughed at the silliness of the idea if someone had told you that you could fund any dream project or product with funds available on the internet.

Now fast forward to the year 2021. Crowdfunding, subscriptions, and membership programs are almost everywhere on the internet.

Additionally, these online platforms offer flexibility in terms of how the funds are acquired — many ideas, companies, and services currently demand consistent, long-term support rather than a major one-time payment to their cause. Kickstarter and Patreon, two giants in crowdfunding, the question is, which one is better? More specifically, which one is better for you?

We are breaking down their pros and cons in different aspects for your reference.

  • Raising Funds: Recurring Donations vs One-off Funding
  • Payment method and schedule: Regular vs Lump-sum
  • Platform fees: Both Takes a Cut-off Fee on Overall Donation
  • Highlighted tools and features: Both with All-rounded Supporting Tools
  • Freedom of content delivery: More Restrictions for Kickstarter Projects
  • Market and industry share: Kickstarter with Larger Customer base
  Patreon Kickstarter
1.     Raising fund Monthly subscription-based One-time: all-or-nothing
2.     Payment schedule and methods
  • Regular monthly payout
  • 3 payment methods: Stripe, Paypal, Payonner
  • Only if your campaign is funded successfully
  • Stripe
3.     Platform fees

5-12% Cut-off on overall donations

4.     Highlighted tools and features
  • Patreon app
  • Creator dashboard (includes analytics)
  • Patreon Lens
  • Public and gated posts, community feed, and messaging
  • Reward fulfillment tracking
  • Kickstarter app
  • Campaign dashboard (includes analytics)
  • Reward surveys
  • Kickstarter Live
  • Backer report
  • Private messaging
  • Project collaborators tool
  • Custom referral tags
  • And more
5.     Freedom of content delivery Generally liberal (e.g. nudity is allowed as long as flagged) Relatively stricter, need to be in 1 of the 15 creative areas and comply with the 5 set rules
6.     Market and industry size

2,000,000+ active patrons; 100,000+ active creators

15,000,000 total backers; 149,000+ funded projects


1. Raising Funds: Recurring Donations vs One-off Funding

There are great differences in their funding models. Before making the final choice, you should be thinking about the kind of business models you are opting for, which can be closely related to your frequency and styles of creation.

Patreon: subscription-based platform and ongoing support

For Patreon, supporters, usually named Patrons, pledge a monthly fee to view the content you have created. As a creator, you can therefore generate a recurring, periodic supply of funds. Yet, the flip side is that rarely strangers are willing to pay any money for your Patreon project. Put it simply, the platform is more suitable for well-established creators opting for ongoing nature of support.

Kickstarter: One-time project for a set funding period

Kickstarter is quite different in nature. Instead of continuous funding, it is designed for the funding of a one-off campaign with a particular goal to cover creators’ costs. Unlike the other two platforms, your project must meet its fundraising goals within a set period before you receive any funding. Therefore, you must consider marketing and promoting yourself to gain the edge over others in order to win the support of people who are extremely interested in your project.


2. Payment method and schedule: Regular vs Lump-sum

  Patreon Kickstarter
Payment schedule

Regular monthly payout:

  • Monthly You can manually withdraw your balance or have Patreon do an automatic withdrawal on the 5th of the month.
  • Deposits typically arrive within 1-5 business days, depending on your payout method.

Lump sum payment:

  • If the fundraising goal is met, you will get everything you raised in one, lump-sum payment 14 days after the campaign ends.
Payment methods
  • Stripe: Send money to your checking account
  • PayPal: Transfer the money to your bank. Alternatively, you can apply for a PayPal debit or credit card and use that to withdraw money at ATMs or make purchases online or at stores.
  • Payonner: Creators who live outside the United States: you can use Payoneer. It allows you to transfer money to your bank or use a Payoneer card to access your cash.

Learn more: https://support.patreon.com/hc/en-us/articles/203913709-Become-a-patron-of-a-creator 

  • Stripe: Send money to your checking account


3. Platform fees: Both takes a cut-off fee on overall donation

For both platforms, it is completely free to start off an account. However, both take up a certain percentage of monthly income creators earn.

Patreon Kickstarter
  • Platform fee: pick 1 out of the 3 plans; taking 5-12% of the monthly income creators earn
    • The cheapest plan has limited features.
  • Payment processing fees: Standard rate: 2.9% + USD 0.30 per successful payment over $3; or Micropayment rate: 5% + USD0.10 per successful payment $3 or less
For more information, you can refer to the official website.
  • Money only paid out if campaign meets the targeted goal and is funded successfully!
  • Platform fee: Kickstarter charges 5% of your earnings for services rendered plus payment processing fees
  • Payment processing fees: Standard rate: 3% + USD 0.20 per pledge; or Micropayment rate(Pledge under $10): 5% + USD0.05 per pledge

For more information, you can refer to the official website.

4. Highlighted tools and features: Both with all-rounded supporting tools

Patreon: All-rounded supporting tools and integration

Creators with a Patreon account can gain insight into and manage their campaign from a single dashboard. Data provided is linked to Google Analytics, so you can even see info on where your new patrons are coming from. The public-facing page has a place for your campaign description, reward tiers, private or public posts, and community interactions.

Example of Patreon dashboard

Discord integration is another highlighted feature of Patreon. Many creators discover that their fans/followers like gathering in a shared area to share ideas, hang out, and encourage one another. With Patreon's Discord integration, you can provide reward tiers access to a private Discord server. For example, at the $3/mo and higher level, you might offer access to all patrons.

Kickstarter: Private dashboard, reward survey and livestream promotions

Most Kickstarter campaigns promise tangible items delivery, which means you'll need to gather information like your physical address, phone number, and email address. While you may use any survey platform you like, Kickstarter offers a built-in survey tool that makes things a lot easier.

Reward Survey of Kickstarter

If you want to keep your backers updated, you can either post public or backer-only updates on your Kickstarter campaign page. Additionally, you may make use of Kickstarter Live to start a webcast and invite your backers to watch it. The live stream is being recorded (including any chat, Q&A, or other interactions that happen during the stream), which can be a tool to facilitate promotion of your projects and keep closely in touch with you supporters. 

5. Freedom of content delivery: More Restrictions for Kickstarter Projects

Unlike traditional content platforms like Youtube which contains stricter content guidelines and policy, creators usually enjoy more freedom on paid membership platforms. Yet, there are still restrictions in terms of content delivery on these platforms.

Patreon: Generally liberal

For patreon, creators basically a great extent of freedom:


  • Nudity (creators need to flag themselves as 18+ if their creations may be considered inappropriate for people under 18 years of age)

Not allowed

  • Pornographic material or sexual services on Patreon, which we define as "real people engaging in sexual acts such as masturbation or sexual intercourse on camera."
  • Glorification of sexual violence which includes bestiality, rape, and child exploitation (i.e., sexualized depiction of minors)
  • Doxxing, which is sharing an individual’s private information or aggregating their public information for the purpose of intimidating them through harassment
  • Bullying or harassment 
  • Hate speech, such as calling for violence, exclusion, or segregation. This includes serious attacks on people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or serious medical conditions.
  • Harmful and illegal activity
  • Creations that infringe on others' intellectual property rights
  • Politicians who cannot use Patreon to fund their run for office or to fund the political campaigns of others
  • Creator with a criminal past or harmful past, especially those who were caught in the act or convicted of making credible violent threats, committing violent crimes, child abuse, malicious doxing, coordinating nonviolent harm (such as fraud, money laundering, and gambling)
  • Dangerous Organizations: people with a dangerous criminal history or a known affiliation with violent or dangerous groups (including terrorist or cyber terrorist organizations, organized criminal groups, and violent hate groups)
  • Spam (posting repetitive comments or send unwanted private messages to other members of the community)

Kickstarter: Relatively strict

As compared to other paid membership platforms, there are more restrictions on Kickstarters.

Before a project goes live, Kickstarter reviews it to make sure it's appropriate for the Kickstarter community. They double-checks that each idea fits into the specified 15 creative areas, including Art, Comics, Crafts, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film and Video, Food, Games, Journalism, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology and Theater.

Further, Kickstarter also sets out 5 rules that every Kickstarter project must follow:

  • Projects must create something to share with others
  • Projects must be honest and clearly presented
  • Projects can’t fundraise for charity
  • Projects can’t offer equity
  • Projects can’t involve prohibited items
  • Kickstarter must approve all projects before they can go live. Approval can take up to three days.

In all, about 80% of the projects are approved by Kickstarter community.


  • Nudity (at least artistic nudity, but prohibits pornography)

Not allowed

  • Any item claiming to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent an illness or condition (whether via a device, app, book, nutritional supplement, or other means).
  • Contests, coupons, gambling, and raffles.
  • Energy food and drinks.
  • Offensive material (e.g., hate speech, encouraging violence against others, etc).
  • Offering a genetically modified organism as a reward.
  • Live animals. Projects cannot include live animals as a reward.
  • Offering alcohol as a reward.
  • Offering financial, money-processing, or credit services; financial intermediaries or cash-equivalent instruments; travel services (e.g., vacation packages); phone services (e.g., prepaid phone services, 900 numbers); and business marketing services.
  • Political fundraising.
  • Pornographic material.
  • Projects that promote discrimination, bigotry, or intolerance towards marginalized groups
  • Projects that share things that already exist, or repackage a previously-created product, without adding anything new or aiming to iterate on the idea in any way.
  • Resale. All rewards must have been produced or designed by the project or one of its creators — no reselling things from elsewhere.
  • Drugs, nicotine, tobacco, vaporizers and related paraphernalia.
  • Weapons, replicas of weapons, and weapon accessories.

6. Market and industry share: Kickstarter has a Larger Customer Base

While both Patreon and Kickstarter are market leaders in this field, there are 2,000,000+ active patrons and 100,000+ active creators on Patreon; For Kickstarter, there are 15,000,000 total backers and 149,000+ funded projects in total. Therefore, the size of Kickstarters are larger in scale and their targeted customers are slightly different. While Kickstarter cater for on-time crowdfunder, Patreon targets at the content creators with regular publication.

Brief Comparison between Kickstarter vs Patreon

Compare Kickstarter vs Patreon’s market size

More specifically, although they both paid membership platforms for content, their targeted markets are also slightly different. From the following table, it can be seen that Kickstarter has more customers from the marketing, social media, design industries, while Patreon has more customers in marketing, social media and design industries. You should definitely give this a thought before making your decision!

Compare Kickstarter vs Patreon customers by industry

Key takeaways

In short, both are excellent places to look at if you have a dream you want to involve the creative community in.

Patreon is certainly an avenue worth pursuing if you are already famous and/ or otherwise inaccessible creatives with fan bases who are willing to pay to fund your personal projects, or your content in which they are interested in. This is a good platform assisting you to fund and sustain your newer projects, particularly if they are related to social media and design industries.

Kickstarter is better if you desire crowdfunding for one-time creative endeavors, not continuous funding. If your project involves art, films, or games would be an even better match with their customer base. Not to mention, their total number of users is largest among all the platforms! However, you should know that Kickstarter vets crowdfunders fairly strenuously, so not everyone gets in. It’s a more exclusive platform than most of its rewards crowdfunding peers, which is a factor to consider if you’re a small-time creator.



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