Recurring encouragement for your favorite creators, and more stable, reliable support from your fans.
We’ve always relied on our creators’ feedback to determine what comes next for Vocal. Since this past summer, we’ve been hard at work along with you, collecting that feedback via surveys and personal 1:1 interviews to get your take on our roadmap for the future. And as promised, there are some huge things we’re working on—all thanks to your input. Now, the first of these huge updates is finally here.
We introduced Tipping five years ago as a way for your audience to directly contribute to your creative journey. To date, we’ve seen countless readers decide to send small cup-of-coffee payments to complete strangers, just because they loved their stories—we’ve even seen creators receive tips as crowdfunding after tragedies and natural disasters. They’ve been more than just small payments —they’ve served as community support.
But we’ve also heard two resounding pieces of feedback from our research. Creators want more reliable, recurring methods of earning, and readers want more ways to provide direct feedback to creators. So we’re introducing Pledge: A recurring tip automatically sent as a monthly payment that goes directly to the creator’s Stripe account.
How Pledges work
Vocal+ members have the ability to collect $2.99/month Pledges from audience members who want to support their stories. As a Vocal+ member, you'll have the option to enable Pledges from your Settings page in the Creator Tools section. Once enabled, your account will be able to accept Pledges from your fans.
To Pledge your support to a creator, you can visit their profile or a published story. The option to Pledge will appear on a sticky bar at the bottom of the screen, right next to the options to Subscribe to and Tip them. Once you complete the simple, secure checkout, you’ll be a Pledged subscriber. Your $2.99 support payments will be automatically paid to the creator every month, and their stories will appear in your feed.
If you’d like to cancel a Pledge, you’re able to do so at any time. You can manage a pledge to a specific creator right from their profile - or, you can visit your personal Billing Dashboard, where all of your recurring monthly payments are kept track of. If you do choose to cancel a pledge, you're still able to continue Subscribing to the creator for free.
If you'd like to receive Pledges on your profile but you're not a Vocal+ member, you can sign up here to get started.
This is just the first version of Pledges, and we’ll continue to improve upon and expand the feature based on the feedback we receive. Future plans include tiered Pledge options, the ability to offer exclusive gated content just for your Pledged subscribers, and even limited messaging between Vocal+ creators and the subscribers who Pledge to support them.
We’re also working on some big changes to the way you create and read on Vocal, and how you’re able to interact with the community you build. Coming soon, you can expect makeovers for your Stats and Profile pages, giving you a more organized home for your stories, and more granular insights into how they’re performing. You can expect Read-next and Series features to help you control a beginning-to-end reading experience of your stories, so that you can recommend what your audience reads next, and organize the stories you create into personal series on your profile, making it easier than ever to discover more of your content. You’ll soon be able to collect Badges on your profile to indicate when you’ve reached a milestone or done something incredible.
And thanks to your feedback, you’ll soon also be able to engage with our most requested features since the launch of Vocal. You’ll be able to accept optional, controlled comments from your audience, so you can give feedback and encouragement to the creators who want it, and spark discussion of your own. And you’ll be able to download a Vocal app for iOS and Android, coming very soon.
Are there any fees?
Yes - Stripe charges processing fees for these transactions, and Vocal takes a small additional platform fee. Of the $2.99 contribution, 10% ($0.30) will go to Vocal, $0.39 will go to Stripe, and $2.30 will go directly to the creator.
What if a creator I’m Pledged to disables their Pledge feature?
In the event that you're Pledged to a creator and they decide they no longer want to receive Pledges, your payments will be automatically suspended. You won't pay for a Pledge that's no longer active.
How do I view all my Pledges?
You can see all the creators you're subscribed and pledged to right from your Feed; the creators you've pledged to will have a small "Pledge" badge next to their name. You can also visit your Billing Dashboard from your Settings to view all of your Pledge payment history and future scheduled payments.
How do I stop Pledging to a creator?
You can manage your payments altogether from your Billing Dashboard; or, you can cancel your pledge to a specific creator directly from their profile by clicking "Manage my Pledge" and choosing "Cancel."
Can I still support a creator without paying $2.99 a month?
Absolutely! Pledges are completely optional for those who have specific creators they want to monetarily support on an ongoing basis. You can support your favorite creators at no cost by subscribing to them for free, or reading and liking their stories. Or, if you want to give them a treat or buy them a cup of coffee, consider sending them a one-off Tip instead of a recurring monthly Pledge. There are countless ways to support the creators you love.