March 28, 2017

Give: The Best Solution for Donations on WordPress

Austin Gil • Development

At Visceral, we work with mission-driven organizations that are addressing the world’s toughest challenges. Oftentimes their efforts are dependent on donor support and until recently, the options for integrating a robust and trusted donation platform into their websites have been limited.

At this point, it should be no secret that we love WordPress. It’s is the most popular CMS in the world, and we use it for almost all of our builds. It has a huge community, works well, and is user-friendly. This makes it a perfect solution for any organization that wants to create and manage content without knowing how to code.

WordPress by default does not provide functionality for donations. For a long time the best ways to accept donations were to set up a PayPal button, use a form for manual offline donations, or send donors to a third party website. These solutions work, but they have some drawbacks including:

  • The design is not customizable
  • Users are sent off-site to make donations (and oftentimes don’t come back to the site to explore further)
  • Donor information is shared with third party software
  • Expensive fees for each donation

All of these reasons make it a challenge for donation-dependent organizations to do the most good. Fortunately, there is a much better solution: Give!

Give is a donation plugin for WordPress, created by the folks at WordImpress. Not only are they excellent developers, well-known in the WordPress community, they are also our neighbors and friends in San Diego. This plugin is specifically created for accepting donations and is designed to face the challenges associated with the donating process. The highlights include:

  • Fully customizable design
  • Complete on-site experience
  • No hidden fees
  • Recurring donations
  • Tax deductible receipts
  • Custom form fields
  • Supports major payment gateways (Authorize.net, PayPal, Stripe, WePay)
  • Advanced reporting and exports

We recently implemented Give for two client projects:  Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund and Washington Global Health Alliance. Overall it was a good experience. For designers, the donation forms can be adapted to match the brand, and for developers the code-base is well built and easy to work with or customize. The result is that clients get a very robust donation platform that matches their brand, makes for a seamless user experience, and satisfies almost all of their needs.

One of the biggest areas where Give shines is in their pricing and business model. They don’t charge anything for the basic use of their plugin. Once you download it, it’s yours. Other “free” donation platforms charge around 5% of the total donations, and that adds up fast.

A nonprofit that accept $1 million in donations would be losing $50,000 in fees when using a “free” donation platform.

There is an excellent article on their website that takes a more in depth comparison of Give vs. GoFundMe. Ultimately it comes down to the pricing models. Give is free for the basic plugin. They make money with paid-for add-ons (several of which you may need to get your desired setup), but these are an inexpensive annual fee. This means the up-front cost for Give is a bit more (About $247), but when you consider the fees associated with “free” platforms like Kickstarter, Crowdrise, or GoFundMe, there is no competition.

This, along with other benefits (freedom, flexibility, extensibility, customization, and privacy) is why I would happily recommend Give over a third-party solution any day. For more details, check out their website or watch the video below.

The internet is the great democratizer. Donations should be no exception.

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