Although common knowledge, it’s always worth a mention: one of the most powerful features of WordPress lies in its diverse and exhaustive list of plugins. Navigating your way through the dense forest of options, however, can be quite time-consuming.
In this article I’m here to help. We’ll cover an overview of some popular and powerful plugins that provide your site with the ability to collect donations.
The use of donation plugins is on the rise, and by my estimation, I think it is heavily impacted by the growing number of independent content creators out there. For creative, online entrepreneurs, donations are a relatively modern addition to the list of ways to monetize content, providing an interesting alternative to advertisements and eCommerce. There is also of course charities and not-for-profits that can now easily accept donations online.
But what are the best donations plugins available?
Give’s self-stated goal is to ‘Democratise Generosity’. How lovely. Turns out, they’ve done a top-class job. Give is developed specifically to provide an intuitive, robust, and flexible solution to a user’s donation requirements. One thing my research tells me is this: Give is wonderfully well-reviewed. In today’s world, that’s a pretty sure sign of a winner, but how exactly does Give differentiate itself from the rest?
For one, Give provides reporting solutions customizable via date range, exportable straight to PDF. Some other features include:
- Absolutely no commission taken on donations.
- Includes PayPal Standard and Offline Payments, free of charge.
- Adopts a freemium model – this means you can get up and running free of charge with most core features included.
‘Powerful and extendable’, Charitable is a well-known and popular donations plugin. Charitable might be the plugin of choice for those with more advanced developer skills, as it offers full control over the fundraising and donations module. Charitable is well rated and intuitive, and boasts a mighty fast 5-minute setup time.
Like Give, Charitable doesn’t charge anything per donation, and it’s completely free to set up.
- Charitable comes with support for PayPal donations right out of the box, but you’ll need to pay to include other types of donation methods.
- Charitable provides many extension options.
Five-minute setup times seem to be all the rage. And that’s one of the promises made by Seamless Donations, too. Continuing the trend of ‘free’, Seamless Donations charges no commission on donations received, and allows donators to choose whether they want to setup repeated, automatic donations. PayPal is offered out-the-box, as are the following language translations:
If you’re a fan of widgets, then Seamless Donations might be the choice for you, as it allows the embedding of its donation widget in any location on your site.
Additionally, if you maintain an email list, Seamless provides a functionality to invite users to join your audience.
The most popular donation plugin of all is PayPal Donation. That may come as no surprise, given that PayPal has more or less asserted itself as the Internet’s most trusted form of online payment. PayPal Donation offers extensive language support, with 18 languages included, and supports 25 currencies.
PayPal Donation Button allows a great deal of flexibility with respect to its placement on your site — it can be added to headers, pages, posts, the sidebar, and the footer.
Whilst PayPal Donation certainly offers simplicity, it’s also slightly more limited than the alternatives listed in this article. It offers support for recurring donations, but it’s an added extra you have to pay for. There’s also no simple way to thank donors for their payment.
Customer Post Donations is somewhat of an alternative choice when it comes to donations plugins. The standard, free version of this plugin offers you the ability to setup 3 kinds of widgets:
- The Standard Donation
- The Fixed + Additional Donation
- The Per Item + Additional Donation
From what I can tell, Custom Post Donations lacks a little on the intuitive side. Whilst it offers you the ability to choose between multiple donations options, donations plugins like Give and Charitable will offer you a slightly more.
I’ve placed this one here for the cuteness factor. But my saying that does do Donation Thermometer a little disservice, as it’s a useful plugin in its own right. Donation Thermometer utilises a simple shortcode to display exactly what you’d expect from its name: a thermometer image that adjusts its ‘heat measurement’ to the donation amount raised. There’s some practical value to this: some people think that the presentation of a graphic that shows an explicit donation ‘goal’ will encourage visitors to donate, so take that for what you will!
There you have it, a review of the 6 of the best donations plugins currently on the market. If you’re a not-for-profit, looking to raise some funds for your charity, then these are definitely worth a look. If you’re using a donation plugin not mentioned above, please let us know in the comments below.