Internet content is like walking down Mission Beach in Cali with all the street performers (stay with me...). There's so much going on, good and bad, whose hat do you toss your quarter in? A 'donation' system would work so much better if it's promoted as more of a tip. Having recognizable icons we could click on and select amount to tip. These tips would build up until a 30 day cycle and charged to our card. The tip process could show our current tab each time we click the icon. No for some hypothetics (is that a word?):
Out of everyone who watches/reads/plays something online, say 20% will drop a 'tip in the jar' after enjoying it, probably only 3% of those would have opted for the prepay method (leaving 97% passing by without making eye contact, including me). We have to get over the fact that potentially 80% of the people will enjoy it and walk on by without tipping.
It needs to be an easy process. I followed the first few episodes of "Starship Irregulars" on www.icebox.com until they started the prepay micropayments. If they had an option of 'tipping' I know I would (and have in the past through Amazon) watch a few of their shows and give a little something. I remember giving 'beer money' to Drew over at Fark a long time ago because he asked for it and I enjoy what he's created! There's just something off-putting about prepaying for the unkown. That feeling's amplified when doing it online.