How to Use a WordPress Donation Plugin as a GoFundMe Alternative

Colin Newcomer / May 15, 2019

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If you’d like to accept donations for your charity or cause through your website, using a donation button can help you receive charitable contributions with lower fees and more flexibility compared to services like GoFundMe.

In this post, you’ll learn why the duo of WordPress.com and PayPal are a great way to accept donations, and how you can create your own website and start accepting contributions today.

Understanding GoFundMe’s fees

While GoFundMe recently removed its 5 percent “platform” fee for new fundraising campaigns in the USA, Australia, UK, and some other European countries, they still charge a 5 percent platform fee for other locations on top of their payment processing fees.

Additionally, even in locations where GoFundMe has eliminated the 5 percent fee, they still charge a payment processing fee of 2.9 percent + $0.30 per donation.

The 2.9 percent + $0.30 per transaction fee is the standard payment processing fee for commercial businesses, but if you’re running a charitable organization, there are lower-fee options.

WordPress.com and PayPal: Lower fees for charitable donations

According to PayPal, registered charities can qualify for a lower transaction fee of 2.2 percent + $0.30 per transaction when accepting payments through PayPal.

While 0.7 percent per donation might seem like a small difference, it can quickly add up over many donations. Going with the lower-fee option helps you put as much as possible of each person’s donation toward your cause.

To create your own fundraising page using PayPal, you can use a WordPress.com website and WordPress.com’s built-in Simple Payments functionality.

As an added benefit of this approach, you’ll also be able to create an entire website dedicated to your cause, which lets you share more information about what you do and who you help.

How to start collecting donations with WordPress.com and PayPal

To get started, you’ll first need to create a WordPress.com website for your charity or cause. Then, you can use WordPress.com’s Simple Payments functionality to let visitors donate via a PayPal button. (You can also accept donations via credit or debit card with the Simple Payments method.)

Step 1: Create your WordPress.com website

To create your own website with WordPress.com, you’ll start by registering for a free WordPress.com account.

From there, you’ll be able to choose a domain name for your charity site. Then, you can use the WordPress.com dashboard to add content about your charity, like what your goal is and who you’re helping.

To further customize how your website looks, you can choose a “theme”. For example, the Maisha theme is built specifically for charities.

WordPress.com Maisha theme

If you’d like a little more help, you can follow the website setup checklist.

Step 2: Create a donations page with a PayPal button

Simple Payments is a feature for WordPress.com Premium or Business plan users that helps you accept online payments via PayPal. With this feature, you can insert a PayPal donation button in one or more of your pages or blog posts.

To insert the PayPal button, click on the + Add button. Then, choose Payment button from the drop-down:

How to insert the PayPal button

From there, you can configure how your PayPal button works, like adding a description for what the donation will go toward, or a relevant image.

If desired, you can use multiple donation buttons on different pages or for different fundraising campaigns.

Get started with a WordPress donation button today

While GoFundMe is a popular solution for accepting charitable donations, a WordPress donation button lets you accept donations with lower transaction fees and more flexibility.

By creating a WordPress.com website and adding a PayPal donation button with the Simple Payments feature, you can create your own website where you can affordably and securely accept donations from people around the world.

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