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 "Send gift subscriptions to paid subs".

Screenshot 2023-12-12 at 7.45.56 PM.png

Slide the toggle next to "Send emails" and Substack will send emails about this program to your paid subscribers about the program. 

Screenshot 2023-12-12 at 7.59.01 PM.png

  • New paid subscribers– Some, not all, 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.

Screenshot 2023-12-12 at 7.58.15 PM.png

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. If they send out the initial three offerings and they're redeemed, the referrers may receive an additional three gift rewards to give away.


If you'd like to disable referrers from receiving a re-up of gift subscriptions once their initial three gift rewards have been shared, slide the toggle next to "Enable re-up referral emails" to the left. 

Screenshot 2024-02-26 at 3.42.16 PM.png

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.

Was this article helpful?
17 out of 27 found this helpful

Articles in this section

See more
Need more help?
Submit a request to our Support team and we'll be glad to help!