When we talk about eCommerce with WordPress, we’re typically talking about businesses that sell physical or digital goods to customers. However, there are other kinds of sites that needs to accept payments online, such as non-profits or sites for charitable causes that accept donations. Many eCommerce tools are relevant to these sites as well, as they’ll need ways to accept funds and communicate with “customers” or donors.

Whether your charity is preparing for the year-end giving season, or you are fundraising for a cause, you can easily collect donations with WordPress. Plugins like Easy Digital Downloads can help set up a lightweight online store, and there are extensions available that can allow visitors to choose an amount to donate.

However, there’s another great tool available if your site specifically accepts donations: Give is a free plugin that allows you to create a donation form for your WordPress site, and does not take any commission from the donation.

That means you keep 100% of the amount donated. You may still have to pay a percentage for payment processing based on your payment gateway, but you won’t need to then also pay your donation platform for every transaction as well.

Accept Donations with WordPress: Give Plugin Overview

Many hosted donation or eCommerce platforms will set up donation forms and payment processing in exchange for a fee per transaction, which means that every donation or charitable contribution will cost your store money. What if, instead, you could use a WordPress plugin to handle donations? This way, you only have to pay processing fees and not transaction fees to the eCommerce platform itself.

The Give plugin, built by WordImpress, aims to lower the cost of fundraising and donations by charging no commissions. The plugin creates a donation form on your WordPress site. This means you can better integrate your fundraising pitch with the form, without asking donors to go to third-party websites. This creates a more seamless user experience.

Since users are kept on your site, you can also easily use additional integrations, such as MailChimp or other add-ons, to subscribe donors to your mailing list. You’ll keep your donor information and be able to handle all transactions, making it clear where donor money is going and keeping you in contact with your donors.

The free core plugin comes with the PayPal gateway, along with options for test and offline donations. You can purchase a number of add-ons for Give to add payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal Pro, and other services like MailChimp, Constant Contact, and more. You can also purchase an add-on for sending donors a PDF of the tax deductible receipt.

Here is demo site, and below is a short video by Give about the core plugin:

You can install the plugin from the WordPress.org library. The quickest way to do this is by selecting Plugins –> Add New in your WordPress dashboard. Once you install and activate the Give plugin, it will take you to a welcome screen that provides an overview of the plugin. You can also subscribe to the newsletter to stay updated about the plugin.

Accept Donations with WordPress: Create a donation form

To start, create a donation form and customize its settings based on your campaign. You can have multiple donation areas collecting money on your site. Each donation form generates a unique shortcode that you can place in different areas of your site – pages, posts, widgets, etc.

To create a new donation form, click on Add Form under Donations in your dashboard.

new form donations on WordPress

Create a new form to build your donation campaign

Once you name your campaign, you can select a number of options to suit your needs. The first area in the form is the Donation Options. In this area you can:

  • set whether you want only a single donation amount, or create multiple amounts that users can choose
  • select how the different donation amounts are shown if you have selected the Multi-Level Donation option
  • choose whether users can donate a custom amount
  • create a goal, and display a goal progress bar in the donation area

If you do select the Multi-Level Donation option, you can select what each level is called, and what is the default donation amount selected when a user arrives on the donation area.

donation options for donations on WordPress

Select the donation options that suit your campaign

Generally, don’t make the lowest amount as your default. Many people tend to go with the default amount as it signals your expectation for the donation. If the amount is too high for someone, then they can choose a lower amount.

If you are using the donation form in multiple places on your site, you can place content on the form itself about why people should donate. You may not need this if the form will be used on one page that has a well-crafted pitch about your fundraiser.

form content for donations on WordPress

Add form content if the form will be displayed in different areas of your site

You can change a number of display options. These allow you to:

  • select how the payment fields are displayed. These can be always shown as part of the form, reveal on the page when users click the donate button, or open in a modal window when users click the button
  • select the payment gateway for the form
  • select whether users have to be registered on the site to donate
  • create instructions for offline payments in case a user chooses to mail a check

Last, you can set whether or not people have to agree to Terms and Conditions before they donate. You can fill in the terms and conditions. This creates a checkbox that users have to select before the donation can be processed.

Once you have completed the form settings, click on Publish, copy the shortcode, and paste it on the area you want to display the form.

front end of donations on wordpress

Donation form displayed to a user

You can continue to change the settings as needed. Each time you update the form, the settings are applied to each area using the shortcode for that form.

Accept Donations with WordPress: Customize the Give settings

The Give plugin creates three additional pages that users are redirected to based on their interaction.

  1. Donation Confirmation: when a donation is processed successfully
  2. Donation History: for users to see a history of their donations when logged-in
  3. Transaction Failed: if a transaction is not processed

You can customize these pages as needed to add a personalized message based on the scenarios. The plugin also makes it easy to keep track of your donations and provides analytics.

Under the Settings area of the plugin, you can set a number of options based on your preference.

settings for donations with wordpress

Settings allow you to customize the look and functionality of the forms

Under settings, some of the things you can change include:

  • select the pages users are redirected to based on their interaction with the plugin
  • base country and currency, and the formatting of the currency
  • set up different payment gateways, including the Offline Donation option (see below)
  • global display options
  • email settings and templates
  • session and API settings

The Offline Donation option allows you to collect contact information from a user, and provide instructions on how to make the offline payment.

offline donations on wordpress

Create instructions for offline donations

This will mark the payment status as Pending, and you can mark it complete once you receive the donation.

Accept Donations with WordPress using Give

Give is an easy-to-use plugin that helps you collect donations on your WordPress site. The plugin is a fork of the Easy Digital Downloads plugin (so it’s got great foundations), and is customized to be centered around donations. As donation sites typically don’t need order fulfillment workflows or different types of products, Give provides a super-simple way to accept donations.

Give has a number of options that can help you customize how the donation form works without touching any code. Give also provides documentation for developers who want to customize beyond the settings available in the dashboard. It’s also got a growing ecosystem of available add-ons along with several add-ons in development or on the idea board to support several types of donation sites.

Give makes it easy for fundraising or donation sites to accept payments without per-payment fees from the platform, enables site administrators to easily keep in contact with donors, allows sites to own their data, and provides an excellent alternative to a more full-fledged eCommerce solution.

Cover Photo Credit: torbakhopper (CC BY-ND 2.0 license)

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Posted by Jai Sangha

Jai is a regular contributor to Sell with WP, and helps merchants improve their WordPress eCommerce businesses with plugin reviews, marketing or customer service tips, and tutorials.

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