It’s no great secret that the vast majority of nonprofits operating today live and die by the amount of support they can garner in the form of monetary donations. And it’s also no great surprise that the organizations most successful at raising money are those that give supporters the ability to donate directly via their website, with an easy-to-use form that visitors can quickly and intuitively utilize.
Of course, the quickest way to grab donations from your site would be to add that all-too-familiar Paypal button, but that’s not always the right choice for everyone as the options for customizing the form are nearly non-existent, meaning your donation page will look exactly the same as millions of others. Therefore, consider building a wholly unique form that gathers only the information you need and provides options for subscribing to newsletters, using a variety of payment processors and more, all the while having the ability to merge with multiple add-on software designed to keep donors on your own page rather than redirect them to a third-party payment system.
Thankfully, for those organizations that work from a WordPress-based website, it turns out it’s incredibly easy to add elements to their pages that allow for monetary donations: the trick is knowing how to set them up and customize them for a unique look that adds appeal for their specific cause or charity.
To begin—as it is with so much in WordPress world—grab yourself a plugin. WPForms, a drag-and-drop application, is certainly one of the most widely used as it’s great for beginners, offers an easy-to-use and understand interface and comes with pre-built templates that include multiple choices for donation forms. Additionally, you’ll need to install an addon to WPForms that allows you to process payments—the aforementioned Paypal is always a good choice—as well as Stripe or others.
Once you’ve installed and activated the plugin, it’s time to create your custom form. Click on “WPForms, Add New” and select a name for your form at the top of the page. Then you’ll see a nice list of the pre-designed templates to pick from. Hover over the template you want and click “Create A Donation Form.” Here you can fill in the fields you want to, such as name, email, donation amount, comment or message etc. Also, you can add “Multiple Items” to any field, especially useful under the “Payment Field” if you plan on accepting donations in specific amounts or giving users the ability to choose their own amount. Once you’ve completed this section, be sure to save your changes.
While still in the form edit screen, click on “Payments” and choose what integration service you want to use (Paypal, Stripe etc.) Input your settings on the right side, enable the payments and enter your Paypal or Stripe email address before selecting “Donation” in the “Payment Type” dropdown menu.
Lastly, create customized notifications—usually done through an email sent to donors after they’ve completed the donation process—by clicking on “Settings, Notification” then “Add New Notification.” After this, click on “Show Smart Tags” and scroll down to customize the message you want donors to receive. Now you’re ready to place the donation form on your site: do this by placing a donation widget in your page’s sidebar or footer or by going to “Pages, Add New” and clicking on the “Add Form” button. Then, when you’re ready and everything looks good, simply click “Publish.” And be sure to add the new donation form page to your navigation menu so visitors can find it quickly and easily.