Accepting Tips/Donations as a Streamer (Blaugust #24)


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As many of you know, I have been streaming for a while now, but in the last few months or so I’ve become more committed and started following a much more consistent schedule. I stream three to four nights a week, at the same time on the same days. One of my personal favourite streaming days is Saturday, when I often do “Scaredy-Cat Saturday” where I play a horror game, preferably from start to finish like I did with both Outlast and it’s DLC Whistleblower.

This past Saturday was the first day I’d done that in a long time, and thanks to a suggestion from my friend Bren, I decided to change my follower and tip notification sounds to be horrible sound effects! My follower alert became a suspenseful music bite, and my tip notifications were tiered based on tip amount, with increasingly terrifying screams. The worst one I set quite high because honestly, I’d rather not see what my face looks like after that scream goes off while streaming!

After streaming The Evil Within for an hour or so, I’d received a tip from T who thought it’d be funny to try and scare me, and another larger one from a viewer. I was, and still am, incredibly grateful for the support, but something gnawed at me after the stream.

Being tipped felt…weird.

Again, don’t get me wrong, I really, truly appreciated it. But I wasn’t sure how to feel about it.

As a little background information for why I accept tips, I work full time, and am lucky enough to be able to support T and I by paying for our rent, bills and general living expenses. We are not struggling to survive. However, our cost of living is quite high due to working in a large-ish city, and I do have a hard time paying for the additional costs of streaming. For example, I’d really like to pick up a standalone microphone to improve my audio quality and also enable me to do vlogs without having to wear my headset. I also will need to replace my headset soon as it’s starting to die. Eventually, I’d love to get a greenscreen and a lighting kit. But these are all expenses that, at this point, I can’t justify. I can still stream as is, but if I want to up the quality, I have to make a monetary investment. I had still been on the fence about adding a donation/tip button, but after a few people asked me how they could send me a tip or support the stream in another way, I thought I’d go ahead and give it a shot.

So why, then, do I feel so weird about being tipped by viewers who are enjoying the stream? I don’t force them to do it, nor do I actively encourage it. I told them about the sound alerts during my horror stream so they knew what I was doing, but I didn’t push them to send money. Hell, I’ve even tipped various streamers that I enjoy watching or wanted to support. I’ve tipped people to scare them during a horror game. I’ve tipped them when they were working towards a goal to try and help them reach it. I’ve tipped them when they’ve fallen on hard times and lost their primary source of income. I’ve also tipped them for just being entertaining. So why does it bother me to do it? I even ranted about how having a donation button isn’t a crime!

I honestly think that there’s nothing wrong with accepting stream tips or stream donations, or whatever you want to call it. A lot of streamers do what they do out of genuine enjoyment — they like sharing or entertaining — but that doesn’t mean that they should shy away from making any money out of it, particularly when the costs of streaming can be quite high.

It just seems that when it comes to myself, I automatically worry that I didn’t do enough to deserve it.

How do you feel about streamers accepting stream donations or tips?

  • Pam

    If someone thinks you’ve entertained them enough to give you a tip, then… you do deserve it 🙂

    Though most people do these things as a hobby, there are still costs associated with it and I fully support streamers or video makers or writers accepting tips or donations for their work. People should get paid for their work because even though games are fun, content creation IS work.

    • I guess I need to think of it as entertainment value more. But it’s so hard!

      And the thing is, I totally agree with you! There are still costs associated with streaming or any kind of content creation, and I do feel people should be compensated fairly if the viewers/readers etc feel it warrants it. I apparently just double-standard myself super hard haha.