Does Substack have a referral program?

Yes! With our 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 referral program? 

Navigate to your publication's Settings page and scroll to the Referral program section. Check the box next to "Enable referral program".


Once enabled, paid subscribers will receive an email with a link to a Gift Rewards page on their Substack account (similar to the below image).


On the Gift Rewards page, referrers can enter up to three names and email addresses of people they'd like to send a one-month gift subscription to.

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

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

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.


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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