WordPress can be a practical choice for non-profit and charity organizations to set up online donations. At this place, we’re going to explain why and how your charity website would start taking donations with WordPress. Note that, there are also various non-profit WordPress themes designed for fundraising organizations. To begin, let’s brief you on the top reasons to accept online donations through WordPress.
Why Make Online Donations via WordPress?
WordPress is more than a simple blogging platform, which allows you to take donations and do almost everything you like. Also, you can also build a “one stop shop” without having to keep track of extra login information and websites. Most importantly, its solid and vibrant community is what sets itself apart from other online solutions.
Honestly speaking, there are many benefits you can expect from making online donations. Perhaps the biggest advantage is that you’ll be able to minimize barriers in accumulating online giving and offer your donors instant transaction and processing. Besides that, it’s also a great way to encourage your members to set up recurring donations on a weekly, monthly or annually basis. Plus, your fans can donate at any hour of any day, and you can capture member data and donor list without much effort.
How to Create a Donation Page within Your WordPress?
In this section, we’ve pulled together a comprehensive guide to make a donation page on your WordPress powered website. Generally speaking, the process mainly covers how to add PayPal donate button and create a donate form to collect payments. For practicality and succinctness’s sake, the “PayPal Donations” and “Donation Form” plugins are instanced in the following parts.
Part 1 – Embed a PayPal Donation Button to Your Website
To convert your WordPress website into one that accepts online donations, you should firstly add a PayPal donation button. The mentioned “PayPal Donations” makes this process a piece of cake with powerful options menu. On top of that, this all-in-one plugin gives you the option to setup your PayPal ID and choose between default and custom PayPal buttons. Its newest 1.8v is available for free download through the following URL.
Download Address: https://wordpress.org/plugins/paypal-donations/
Get Started with PayPal Donations
Generally there are multiple ways to get this “PayPal Donation” plugin installed in WordPress. If you prefer to use a quick and painless method, you can take the following steps for reference:
- Log onto the dashboard of your WordPress, and then jump into “Plugins” > “Add New”.
- From the next screencast, just search and select the “PayPal Donation” plugin from the results. To proceed, press the “Install Now” button and follow the prompts to accomplish the installation and activation process.
- If done correctly, the newly-added plugin will be accessible from this “Installed Plugins” section. As you may notice, this WP plugin can be edited and deactivated depending on personal needs.
Display PayPal Donation Button as a Widget
To display a PayPal donation button on the frontend, simply navigate to “Appearance” > “Widget”. From the left “Available Widgets” area, you can easily find the “PayPal Donations” option. To add your donation button as a widget, you can drag and drop it to the right “Widget Area”.
Once done, you also need to create a widget title, descriptive text that would show up above this button and customize “Purpose” and “Reference” to change the default settings. Do remember to check the blue “Save” button to take effect.
Add Button to Your Posts/Pages
If you want a simple donation button appear in a post/page, you should go to “Posts”> “Add New” and then put this shortcode into the post body. Note that, this is the simplest option that includes all optional and default settings.
To create a customized button for a specific purpose, you shall add more extra options as below. Beware that, the “Reference” and “Purpose” options can be further configured.
[paypal-donation reference="Charity Community" purpose="First Giving"]
Important to Note: It is also possible to add a PayPal donate button via your PayPal account. This process is not as intimidating and difficult as you may suspect, which is well-documented in this PayPal setup tutorial.
Part 2 – Set Up Donation Form inside WordPress
Often times, you may find the donate button is not enough for your nonprofits. At this place, we would walk you through how to set up an attractive contribution/donate form for a non-profit. The introduced “Donation Form” can be the best supported donation plugin that adds a simple-yet-powerful payment form and donation tab integrated with PayPal. Note that, it works well with the current version of WP and is free to download through this URL.
Download Address: https://wordpress.org/plugins/donation-form/
Important to Note: Given that you’ve downloaded this plugin file to the local computer, you can upload this installation package to the “Plugin Directory” via the WordPress dashboard or a FTP client. From this “Add Plugins” page, just click to “Browse” your .zip file and then press the “Install Now” button to perform the installation task.
Create an Account with ContactUS.com
If done correctly, a new “Donation Form” tab will be added to the left sidebar as follows. Just click on it and you will be prompted to “Create Free Account” with ContactUs.com, a company that develops this plugin. If you already have an account with this company, it is also possible to “Login” your account out there. Keep in mind that your website URL and password are also required during this creation process.
Note: After the completion of registration, it will give you an option to select a sub-category that best describes your website among various choices. Here, you’d better choose “Non-Profit or Community Group”.
Configure the Donation Forms to Your Liking
After that, a user guide will automatically appear onscreen, and you can take an overall look at the customization options. For the purpose of this tutorial, we will provide you a basic navigation to configure your donation forms. Here is a quick checklist of what you need to do.
- Firstly, hit this “Forms” tab and you will be taken to this “Form Settings” page. The “General Settings” provides you the ability to name the donation form and add “Donation Options” of your requirement. By the way, the “Min Amount” and “Max Amount” are also editable.
- This “Design” option allows you to make configurations to both “Template” and “Background Logo”. Note that, the design template can be changed at any time, and you can use a “Custom” template to get more font and color customization options.
- From the next “Fields” tab, you can set the phone number format to “US Only” or “International”. In the meantime, you can see a preview of the donation form the right-hand pane.
- To explain your proposition to your sponsors and supporters, you can edit the text within the “Call-To Action” area. The below “Button” is also an important section to configure, and buttons that say “Get a Quote” are more likely to capture readers’ attention and dollars.
- If you have the need to display a “Confirmation Page” after a donor submits the form successfully, you can click the radio button next to the “Enter Thank You Page Content Below” option. Alternatively, you can choose to redirect users to a custom “Thank You Page”, and this can be a great form of marketing.
Note: In addition to the “Forms” option, there are more choices for you to use, such as “Chat”, “Contacts”, “Calls” and “Calendar”. Each of them comes with descriptive function explanations, and you can also refer to the “Documentation” library if you get lost.
Best Practices to Make Online Donations
It can be a daunting task for new comers to manage and operate a charity website smoothly. To save you lots of headaches down the road, we’ve listed the best practices to take online donations with WordPress in below.
- Keep the donate form simple and convincing. It’s great to display a simple donation form for your guests to register or log in. To make your non-profit website trustworthy, you can show links related to financial accountability information.
- Answer your supporters’ questions. As the donation is all about transparency, you should handle questions and confusions with online donations in a positive way. Also, it’s important to let them know where donations will go and whether they are tax deductible.