Does Substack have a referral program?

Note: Interested in a feature where free and paid subscribers can refer their friends to your Substack and get rewarded? Check out the subscriber referrals program here.

Yes! With our gift subscription referral program, paid subscribers can bring new readers to your publication by gifting them access to your paid content for a limited time. 

How do I turn on the gift subscription referral program? 

Navigate to your publication's Settings and scroll to the Referral program section. Slide the toggle to the right next to "Gift subscriptions for paid subs".


Once enabled, you can customize an email that Substack will send out on your behalf to new and top paid subscribers.

  • Any new paid subscribers– will receive the gift subscription email fourteen days after their first payment.
  • Current top paid subscribers- will receive the gift subscription email on an ongoing basis based on their engagement with your publication.


Tip: The referral button is unique only to this email and is not the same as the "Gift a gift subscription" button found in the editor toolbar. The referral button is not available to be used in posts or email newsletters.

How can my subscribers refer their friends to my publication?

New and top paid subscribers will receive an email with a link to a Gift Rewards page on their Substack account.

On the Gift Rewards page, referrers can send up to three gift subscriptions (one free month of paid subscriber benefits) with a personal message and view who has accepted a gift subscription.


Note: Your paid subscribers may receive a referral email every six months but not more than once during that time.

What do gift subscription recipients need to do?

No credit card is required in order for the recipient to claim their gift and cancelling a subscription isn't necessary.

When a gift subscription is ending and the recipient hasn't added a payment method and converted to a paid subscription, they'll automatically become a free subscriber.

Tip: We'll send reminder emails to recipients before their subscription is expiring and nudge them to add a payment method to keep their paid access. A link to continue their subscription will be in these emails.

Where can I see who is sending gift referrals?

Head to your Stats dashboard and select on Gift Referrals. Click on each category to see least to greatest or vice versa.


You can also view on your Subscribers dashboard who the recipients in the referral program are. Set a filter as "Subscription type is Gift". These subscribers will appear as "Gift". Other paid subscribers will appear as well under this filter as "Monthly Gift" and "Yearly Gift".


Note: "Monthly Gift" and "Yearly Gift" subscribers are different from the referral program as these subscribers have been gifted paid subscriptions and count towards your ARR whereas recipients in the referral program have been gifted trials to your publication.

To opt of the Referral program, follow these steps here.

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