In the context of websites, donations are a specific type of eCommerce with its own subset of technical needs.
Some non-profits take donations as a one-off transaction, or regularly as part of a membership or subscription. Regular donations are a little more technically complex, but are a preferable way for non-profits to receive money as they have guaranteed funds to make plans with. Savvy non-profits that want to encourage potential donators to sign up for regular donations, should give donators some sort of buy-in. Typical examples of this are regular news updates, statistics and information on initiatives their donations are funding.
A popular donation schemes is ‘pay what you want’. This is where the donator can choose what they pay. This is also used in profit scenarios but is a perfect fit for donating. A riff on ‘Pay what you want’ is buttons where different increments are selected. A more granular option is a slider for selecting specific amounts.
Visitors to your website should have the opportunity to donate from any page and do so with as few barriers as possible. You’ll want to put buttons wherever you can. You should also allow users to progress through checkout with as few page loads as possible.
Implementing Donations on your Website
We usually handle donations using WooCommerce, an eCommerce plugin for WordPress. Subscription donations can be built using the WooCommerce subscriptions extension. This option is great for donations handled within the website, but some non-profits also use third party donation handlers. Website owners sign up for these third-party handlers then embed a form or link in their website. Some third-party donation handlers include Inspire Pay and Paypal Donations.
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