Voluntary Contributions Benefit Publishers AND Readers in the Age of Covid-19


The coronavirus Covid-19 is continuing to dramatically change the way we work and live. It’s impacting almost every person, in every corner of the globe, and in every industry - and it looks set to continue to do so for at least the next 6-8 weeks.

In these times people have a higher need for quality content, journalism and information from the sources they trust. That’s why so many publications are relaxing their paywalls for any content related to the spread of the virus. But this also puts publishers at a quandary - they too are feeling the impact of Covid-19, as well as impacts from the necessary efforts being made to prevent its spread.

With readers eager for information, now is the time to build a stronger, deeper relationship with your audience. That means focusing less on limiting access to your site and instead taking the opportunity to build a larger following that really appreciates the value of your content.

Leveraging Contributions

That doesn’t mean that the responsibility should all be yours - as the publisher - to keep the information machine running. In a time where we are hopefully all coming together as a community, it is entirely appropriate to offer your readers the chance to support your work and the quality content you provide. In other words, it’s okay to consider asking for voluntary contributions.

Contributions aren’t a new concept  - sites like The Guardian have been experimenting and succeeding with voluntary payments models for some time. But they’re even more important during times of uncertainty, or when your audience is fully engaged on a specific issue - such as the coronavirus. Your audience is already connected with the subject emotionally and, by focusing your efforts on building a closer relationship with readers, you are also helping them see the value in supporting your efforts, motivating them to contribute voluntarily.

Asking for contributions is a great way to generate revenues when you do not currently offer subscriptions, but it is also effective if you do. While some readers will show their support by committing and becoming subscribers, others may not be able to but would still like to contribute and share their gratitude to your publication. Making contributions enables your readers to promote and reward quality journalism. Just as they themselves are now more than ever looking for reporting that they can rely on, that they can trust, so it is entirely appropriate to encourage them to demonstrate that trust.

But you must ensure that the process of making a voluntary payment is as frictionless as possible. Your reader shouldn’t have to spend more time registering and making a contribution than time spent on consuming the content. We also encourage you to communicate your need for support - on your site, and in your marketing and social activities. You’ll see the best results with contributions when you remember to communicate why reader support is so important to you.

Contributions with LaterPay

With LaterPay, a contribution option can be added to any medium of media in order to help promote the content of any publisher, creator or journalist, without relying on the generally frustrating use of ads. It can be embedded in the bottom of an article or blog, in the body of a social media post, or even in the description of a video on YouTube or another platform. This means that you can, of course, apply the button across any page on your site, but you can also append it just to your coronavirus articles, adding a targeted call to action that references the virus and its impact on the industry and society as a whole.


“As we scale up news production to keep our communities better informed, many publishers - like other small businesses - are also feeling the impact of coronavirus. We added voluntary contributions on top of our existing model to enable readers to support This is Reno and our community. It was quick and easy to set contributions up, and we were pleasantly surprised by the response we've seen.”

Bob Conrad, Editor & Publisher, This Is Reno

It’s fast and easy to set up for creators, and the process is frictionless and requires little time commitment from the user. Within minutes, you can install a customized menu on your site that invites contributions from your readers while allowing them to choose from a selection of amounts, or even put in a custom value. Payments are processed immediately and paid out on a weekly basis.

At LaterPay, we’re exploring new ways to source contributions every day - click here for a full overview of the integration options available. Ready to get started? If so feel free to reach out to us directly to schedule a time to speak with a representative.

With the industry - and the country overall - facing a time of real crisis, we all need to work together to help support our communities and our businesses. You are supporting your readers, providing them the information they need, at the time that they need it. With LaterPay, they can support your publication, and the quality journalism you provide.