WordPress is a great option for a nonprofit company. It’s easy to learn, cheap to use, and doesn’t take much management. For a small team with limited resources, it’s a great way to get online fast. Using the CMS allows a nonprofit organization to save time and money and still have a professional online presence.
That said, simply adding a PayPal “donate” button can look dull and insecure. You need employ better solution to make sure people not only trust you as an organization but are excited to donate.
WordPress Takes Minimal Website Management
There are many complications you can run into while managing a non-profit website. Building the website itself it not as big a problem as making sure the donations can be easily made/received. You need to support standard payment solutions like PayPal and credit cards. PayPal gives you the ability to create and place donate buttons on your site.
Unfortunately, though, with the exception of accepting donations, such a button does not do much. There is more to accepting donations than that. A good solution should let you see donations collected over a period of time i.e. week, month or year. You should able to visually see the donations going up or down and there should be ways to improve the conversion rate.
With a static website, you need to manually code a donation-accepting application. This requires an advanced understanding of PHP and payment solutions, which may not be feasible for a nonprofit company. Luckily, there are several WordPress plugins that make the process of accepting donations easier, provide detailed reporting and do plenty more.
Having Control Over Your Donations Is Important
If you’re like me, then you need to self-manage your donations. You need complete control over your data and that control is what makes or breaks your cause.
You need a product that can handle it all. You need to be able to set up recurring donations, send receipts to donors, collect donor emails, and monitor donation progress reports. These are all real world problems. While there exist a lot of solutions for donations out there, I think all of them has one big issue, you lack control over your data. And there are commission charges, which you might want to avoid. That’s where WordPress can help you.
WordPress Donation Plugins Can Help
There are a variety of donation plugins that allow you the freedom to collect donations without worrying about setting up a custom button.
Give is one of the best and most configurable of donation plugins. It offers several intuitive and user-friendly methods to collect donations from your WordPress site.
When compared with other donation plugins, GiveWP is relatively new, but it has more than 160 five-star ratings. There is an incredible team behind GiveWP, Matt Cromwell, Devin Walker, Bridget Willard — all of whom are deeply involved with the WP community and are known for their contributions. In my book, that’s a big plus.
- General: Upon activation, you need to create a donation form. The forms are completely customizable, accept single, multiple levels or custom donation amount, enable goal-tracking, and more. The plugin is mostly self-explanatory but thorough documentation is available to help the uninitiated.
- Payment gateways: PayPal Standard and offline payments are the two free payment gateways. To support Stripe, PayPal Pro, etc., you will need to purchase addons.
- Tracking: Access information on how many donations you have, if there are certain days you get more donations, and more.
- Give is free: Give makes money off the sale of its premium extensions. Whatever amount you raise using Give plugin, you keep the entirety of it. There are no transaction charges.
- Premium Addons: With a bunch of incredibly useful paid addons, you can take more control over the donations then you could imagine.
As far as donation plugins go, Charitable proves its worth as a solid fundraising WordPress plugin. It is robust, developer-friendly, and helps causes and nonprofit initiatives raise funds in an easy-to-follow method. The core of the plugin comes free. However, to extend functionality, you will need paid addons.
- Easy to use: Charitable is a pretty straightforward fundraising solution for WordPress users. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how the plugin works. In a nutshell, you just need to create a campaign and starting promoting it.
- Payment gateways: By default, PayPal and offline donations are the two payment gateways. To support Stripe, Authorize.net, PayUMoney or PayFast, you will need to purchase addons.
- No fees: Unlike some donation solutions, Charitable lets you keep 100 percent of your funds collected. Plus, the plugin costs nothing. It manages to stay alive off income made from its paid addons.
- Paid addons: Like many plugins, Charitable monetizes itself by giving away core functionality for free and selling premium addons. These extensions extend plugin, for example, by supporting Easy Digital Downloads, Stripe, etc.
With almost 2000 sales on CodeCanyon, Total Donations for WordPress is another powerful rival in the market of donation plugins. It offers a strong and user-friendly interface for transacting donations. But it is not free. The base plugin is paid, as compared to the above two choices which are very much free and have paid extensions.
- Campaign goals: With Total Donations, setting campaign goals is possible. Such a campaign goal is visible to the audience and therefore helps increase the donations you receive.
- Recurring donations: Some expenditures like hosting charges and marketing budget are more or less regular in nature. So is the support of loyal fans and supporters of a cause. This feature allows you to let visitors donate automatically on a regular basis.
- Progress bars: Progress begets progress. That’s why Total Donations lets you show customizable progress bars, demonstrating to visitors how far or close you are to reach the fundraising goal.
- Drag & drop form builder: One of the most impressive parts of Total Donations is its intuitive drag & drop form builder. Add the fields you need i.e. textboxes, checkboxes, and radio buttons.
Seamless Donations is among the most complete donation-accepting solutions. By features like showing thank you notes and accepting anonymous donations, it is an appealing selection. It has more than 10,000 active installs.
- Recurring payments: Some causes need to be funded on a recurring basis. If you have loyal supporters, you can enable them to automatically send you donations on a regular basis. Visitors will just need to check a checkbox and that’ll subscribe them to the recurring donations.
- Anonymous donations: There are times when donors wish to remain anonymous. In those times, Seamless Donations comes equipped with the functionality to allow anonymous donations.
- Appreciate donors: With the Thank You Enhanced extension, you can send customized emails to donors, thanking them for their contributions. You can also display personalized ‘thank you’ pages.
- Extensions: As with most plugins on this list, Seamless Donations features can be extended with its premium extensions. For example, with Giving Level Manager, you can choose to suggest donation amounts, set the order of donation level suggestions and so on.
PayPal Donations is one of the most popular and oldest donation plugins. It eliminates the need to mingle with the complicated code supplied by PayPal for the donate button. You can set a default amount to be donated among a few other things. The plugin is free and has more than 40,000 active installs. But the functionality is pretty limited.
- Exceptionally simple: The plugin doesn’t overwhelm users with tons of options. Just input your PayPal ID, use the shortcode or widget to place the button. You can also configure the look of the button.
- Add in widgets: As soon as the plugin is activated, you will find PayPal Donations widget under Appearance > Widgets. Just drag & drop the widget per your liking, give it a title and description, which will appear alongside the button.
- Shortcodes: Want to embed the donate button within your posts? Just use the following shortcode: [paypal-donation]
These plugins are not necessarily for nonprofit organizations and work just as good for general-purpose fundraising. While each one of them is different, personally, I have heard good things about GiveWP plugin. The community involvement is always a preferable trait for a WordPress business.
What is your favorite donation plugin from the list? Is there any particular feature you’d want in any of them?