Since its launch in 2015, Discord has rapidly grown into a healthy userbase. With more than 19 million active servers, people are connecting with people over their favorite games, hobbies, and more. Many servers manage thousands of community members who wouldn’t mind paying a little bit each month to help keep the server afloat.
Unfortunately, the free features on Discord are a bit limiting when it comes to generating passive income (or any sort of income) on the platform itself. That being said, there are some ways you monetize your server so that you can earn a little extra on the side.
This post will cover how you can monetize your Discord server and give you some advice to help you along the way.
A Premium Discord server allows some owners to earn money from their community members through subscriptions. Discord allows these server owners to set up different “tiers” that will give different benefits to the server members who subscribe.
Benefits may potentially unlock new channels, special Discord emojis, and additional perks set up by the admin. These benefits can be customized per tier so that those donating a little more each month can enjoy more.
Once subscribed, members will be charged monthly until they cancel or change their subscription status.
This system appears to be very similar to the premium servers allowed on Guilded. In fact, some streamers and gaming communities have left Discord for Guilded due to these advanced options.
Who Can Create a Premium Discord Server
According to Discord, Premium servers are still a closed experiment that is only available to select community members. We hope that they can get through the BETA process quickly enough so that other servers may benefit from having paid members.
While they haven’t stated as much, it is likely that Discord is working with partnered server owners in testing this program. The platform hasn’t given a date when other Discord server owners will be able to start monetizing their servers, but we expect it to happen within a year or two.
How to Know a Discord Server is Premium
If you happen across a premium server, you will be able to see a small blue star next to its name. When launching into them the first time, you will be greeted by a home screen that explains that it is a premium server, how much it costs, and what you might expect to receive at each tier.
How to Make Money With Your Discord Server
While you may not be able to transform your community into a Premium Server, for now, there are other ways you can earn money with your Discord server. It will just take a little manual setup.
Monetize Through Integrations
While you won’t be able to accept donations through Discord, you can set up integrations through platforms that do. You can integrate those accounts into your server if you create YouTube content, stream on Twitch, or have a Patreon account.
After integration, you’ll be able to create unique roles for your community members who support you on any of those platforms. The integration will automatically sync the roles with those who have subscribed, allowing you to offer value to financially supporting members.
You can even direct people to these platforms from your Discord server so that they know how they can unlock additional content.
Monetize Through Donations
Whether you create a link to your PayPal account, use a donate bot, or accept donations through another 3rd party, some people may support you to keep your Discord community going.
Some bots may allow adding additional features to your Discord server, but it is important for you to always do your research and only work with highly-rated bots. Bots may also take a portion of your donation for your services.
You can also charge for specific channels in your server, but unless you use one of the integrations mentioned above, you will likely have to handle each subscription independently.
Sponsorships and Affiliate Revenue
If you are a streamer, business, or influencer, you may be able to earn some extra income through sponsorships or affiliate programs. The best way to earn from these avenues is to choose products and services that your community members would be interested in using.
While you won’t want to promote products constantly (as you don’t want your community to leave or mute your server), some well-placed sponsorships or affiliate codes could earn you some passive income over time.
This works best if you have a popular niche community.
Create a Discord Ad Network
While you can’t join advertising networks in the traditional sense, if you have a popular server, you may be able to sell advertising possibilities to other servers or business partners. You would need to work with interested parties to find a strategy that works for both of you.
That being said, there is a fine line between running a great server for your Discord users and “selling out” that server for paid ads. Some people may not like it, but others will understand your methods and won’t mind a little advertising.
You can also charge to promote other Discord servers. Many server hosts wonder how to find members for their own communities. Just be sure to choose servers that a reasonable person in your Discord would enjoy joining.
Run Paid Tournaments
If you have a lot of gamers on your server, you may be able to run paid competitions to earn a little extra money. With a little luck, you may be able to even entice other Discord servers to join you, finding more people who may want to battle it out on the same server.
Unless you are really well known amongst video game players, you should start out with a reasonable entry fee and clear guidelines on what people should expect from the tournament. Offer some monetary prizes for tournament winners (though keep some of the earnings for yourself and your moderators so that you can continue to host competitions in the future).
If you can create a great tournament system, you will likely make money with every subsequent competition.
Offer Paid Services
If you are especially good at a particular game, you may be able to offer coaching services. YouTubers with editing skills could offer the best gameplay video editing online. You may be able to market your skill to other users on your Discord server.
When offering services, write out a detailed explanation of what a user may be able to receive, then make sure you deliver. You don’t want them having a bad experience, then telling the entire server about it.
Use Your Discord to Support Your Brand
Whether you run a blog, open a small business, launch a Kickstarter, or release a weekly podcast, you will likely benefit from offering a free community to your supporters. Whether you have a small or large community, creating an area for you to communicate with them will help you generate brand loyalty, which could generate you money over time.
While you can incorporate some of the above money-making methods (such as creating private channels for paying members), a totally free server is often the best solution for a brand.