How to accept donations on your WordPress website

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Setting up your WordPress website to accept donations can be confusing as there are 100s of options, plugins, 3rd party services, and processors to choose from. This post will guide you through a simple effective, reliable donation system that is easy to set up by using WooCommerce and WordPress. This set-up also allows for the sale of other products such as event tickets, shirts, hats and any other products your non-profit could sell.  One important part of this set-up is to keep your WordPress set-up as streamlined as possible.  By using the WooCommerce e-commerce plugin addition for WordPress with an add-on that allows for unlimited payment amounts all yours payments are displayed in one place.  It is easy to clutter WordPress with tons of plugins that perform various functions and this can get our of hand and make the site run very slow.  By keeping the donation process simple by using WooCommerce this will allow you to keep the door open to other sales on your website as well. This post assumes you already have a working self-hosted WordPress.org install. This post has not been tested with WordPress.com installs.

Here are the steps in a nutshell and what you will need for this process:

  1. WooCommerce Plugin (Free and available from the plugins menu in your WordPress install.)
  2. WooCommerce Pay Your Price ($20.00 one-time fee purchased from CodeCanyon)
  3. Checking Account Number with routing number
  4. Stripe.com account (Free to setup)
  5. Stripe Complete for WordPress and WooCommerce ($28.00 one-time fee purchased from CodeCanyon)
  6. Create your donation as a product
  7. Add your donation product to a page or widget

Step 1 Install WooCommerce

In the WordPress dashboard click on the Plugins tab on the left side and then Add New.  In the plugins search bar type “WooCommerce”.  Click the “Install Now” button, then click on the blue “Activate” button.

installing-woocommerce-plugin

WooCommerce will walk you through some settings, more which will be obvious such as currency type.  Since you are only accepting donations, you will not need to set-up shipping at this point.

Step 2 Install WooCommerce Pay Your Price Plugin

This plugin allows you to create a product in WooCommerce that allows for the user to set the price.  This is how the donation is made.  The donation is counted as a product, just one that does not exist. This plugin is a paid plugin which typically are the best type plugins. By using premium plugins you reduce the chance you will use a plugin that contains spam, bad code, or random links pointing to author websites.  You will want to download the plugin from CodeCanyon here.  Once you have created an account and downloaded the plugin you will need to unzip the file.  With most computers you can just double click the file and it will unpack the files and display the folder.

Once you download the file and unpack the contents you will want to once again navigate to the “Add New” of the Plugins tab but this time you will click the “Upload Plugin” button, then open the folder with the files you just unpacked.  In this folder will be a .zip file named “pyp.zip“. This will upload the plugin and then ask you to install. Click “Install Plugin“.

Step 3 Create a Stripe.com account

How you accept payments for you donations is up to you but you will need a payment processor to deposit the payments to a bank account.  If you are already using Paypal or another payment processor for WooCommerce, then you can skip this and the next step. Stripe is a very straightforward and easy to use payment processor which is why we suggest using it over Paypal. It also allows for the user that is donating to say on the website without leaving the site to pay on a 3rd party website.

To create a Stripe.com account, navigate to the website, create your account and add your bank account.  You will want to click the switch from “Test” to “Live” once you add and confirm your bank account.

The most important part of this process is to obtain your API test and production keys. To do this click on the account settings in the dropdown upper right (Click on your email address or username displayed there.) A window will pop-up with options. From here, select the “API Keys”.  Scroll down under the test keys and copy the “Live Secret Key” to your notepad. Keep this key for Step 4.

 

Step 4 Install Stripe Complete for WooCommerce

To install this plugin you will need to navigate here to Codecanyon, download it, unzip it, and upload the file named “fpstripe.zip” similar to installing the plugin in step 2.

You will need to navigate to the settings and enter your API keys that you copied above. Go to WooCommerce > Settings > Checkout > Stripe Complete Regular. The last two menu items for this are located top middle and not in the left sidebar if this helps. Make sure the box is checked and paste the Live Secret Key in the field.  You will also want to change the dropdown of Type of Charge to “Charge Immediately“. Click “Save” at the bottom.

Step 5 Create your donation product

Now navigate to products > add new in the WordPress dashboard. Name the product as “Donation” or “General Donation”. You then need to scroll down to set this product up as a virtual, pay your price product. Scroll down to the “Product Data”  section.  Here are the important settings you will need to set:

  1. Check “Virtual”
  2. Set the SKU to number of choice
  3. Set the price to 0
  4. Enable Pay Your Price
  5. Check off Hide Min Price and Hide Max Price

Once this is completed, click the blue publish button on the right side.

pay-your-price-settings

Your settings for the donation product should look the same as above

Step 6 Add the donation product to your website!

You can now add the product as a shortcode to any page or post or simply link to the actual product for people to donate. If you view the product you will now see a box to add an unlimited amount.  The user will then checkout the same as if they were purchasing a product on your website.  There are a number of small adjustment you may want to consider to make this look and work exactly how you like.  Here are some suggestions:

  1. If you link to the donation product itself, you will want to add a “featured image” otherwise you will have an ugly filler image to the left of the donation field.  Just add a logo or an image with the word donate made up in Photoshop can work well.
  2. The user will get an email receipt that is an out-of-the box email assuming you bought a durable product.  Navigate to the WooCommerce email settings to customize these messages.

 

Jason Houston
Jason Houston
Jason Houston is a web developer at Complete Web based on the island of Nantucket Massachusetts. He actively monitors the status and health of over 20 accounts to maintain position in search and to ensure each business is doing everything possible to increase revenue. Feel free to ask Jason a question at: jason@mycompleteweb.net