4 Best WordPress Donation Plugins: How to Accept Donations on WordPress

Published on March 19th, 2020

Last Updated on March 19th, 2020


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Looking for the best WordPress plugin for donations? If you want to accept donations on WordPress, you have two main routes:

  1. You can set up a simple WordPress donation button to accept one-off donations via PayPal or Stripe.
  2. You can use a dedicated WordPress donation plugin to create fundraising campaigns, manage donors, and just generally run much more organized donation campaigns.

In this post, I’ll share how you can use WordPress plugins to accomplish both approaches. Specifically, I’ll look at four WordPress donation plugins – two in each category.

First, I’ll share two super simple plugins that let you accept one-off donations via PayPal or Stripe, respectively. Basically, these plugins let you add a “Donate” button anywhere on your site, but they don’t help you create more structured fundraising campaigns and manage your donors.

Then, I’ll share two plugins that are much more heavy-duty. They’ll help you set up one or more fundraising campaigns, accept different types of donations, manage donors, provide relevant tax receipts, and more.

If you already know the approach that’s best for you, you can click below to jump to the right category:

  • Two simple one-off WordPress donation plugins
  • Two heavy-duty WordPress charity plugins

How to Create a Simple WordPress Donate Button (Two Options)

If you want to add a simple WordPress donate button, I recommend two plugins, both of which have free versions:

Both are pretty simple – here’s how they work.

1. PayPal Donations

PayPal Donations is a really simple tool that lets you add a PayPal donate button anywhere on your WordPress site.

Once you install and activate it, you can go to Settings → PayPal Donations to set up your donate button. All you do is enter your:

  • PayPal account email
  • Currency and default amount
  • Donate button style
  • Some other basic settings, if desired

payPal donate button settings

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Then, you can add your donate button anywhere on your site using the [paypal-donation] shortcode. For example, you could add it to a widget in your sidebar like this:

PayPal donate button

If you want to create separate WordPress donation buttons for different causes, you can also use shortcode parameters to modify each donation button – you can learn more in this help article.

Easy, right?

2. WP Simple Pay

WP Simple Pay is also quite easy to use – there are just a few more housekeeping steps because you need to connect it to your Stripe account.

Once you install and activate it, you can click the Connect with Stripe button to launch a setup wizard to connect your WordPress site to your Stripe account (if you don’t already have a Stripe account, you’ll need to create one):

WP Simple Pay setup for WordPress donation plugins

Once you complete the process, it will take you back to your WordPress site.

To create a new WordPress Stripe donation button, go to Simple Pay Lite → Add New.

Enter the donation amount in the Payment Options tab. Then, go to the On-Page Form Display tab and customize the button. For example, “Donate with Credit Card”:

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Then, click Create and use the provided Payment Form Shortcode to add your Stripe donate button anywhere on your WordPress site.

For example, here’s what it looks like to place it in a sidebar widget:

Simple WordPress donation button plugin

And that’s it! You can start accepting WordPress donations with Stripe.

How to Set Up WordPress Charity Fundraising Campaigns (Two Options)

If you want to create more structured charity fundraising campaigns, you can use one of these two plugins, both of which offer free core versions and paid extensions:

1. GiveWP

Active on over 70,000 sites, GiveWP is one of the most popular WordPress charity plugins. Check out our GiveWP review.

As I’ve mentioned, this one is much more detailed than the two simple WordPress donation plugins I showed you above. For example, you can:

  • Set donation goals and show your progress towards your goal.
  • Add multiple donation amounts and/or let people give their own custom amounts.
  • Create multiple fundraising campaigns, each with their own separate goal.
  • Accept donations via multiple gateways.

Here’s an example of the type of donation campaign that you can create with GiveWP:

GiveWP WordPress donation plugin

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You can see how there’s an actual goal and the plugin automatically tracks progress towards that goal.

If you’re running a charity or other organization, you’ll probably appreciate the power and flexibility that comes with GiveWP over the donation button plugins.

For example, you also get tools to:

  • Manage all of your donors.
  • Generate tax-deductible donation receipts to give to donors.
  • Create and export reports to analyze donation activity.

With premium add-ons, you can also set up features like:

  • Automatic recurring donations.
  • A Zapier integration to connect to other services.
  • Email marketing service integrations to connect with your donors.

The core GiveWP plugin is free and available at WordPress.org. By itself, it can already help you run pretty detailed charity campaigns.

Then, you can purchase add-ons to extend the core plugin. While some of these extensions add new features like recurring donations or custom form fields, most are focused on integrations with new payment gateways or other services.

You can either purchase individual add-ons or a bundle of add-ons. The bundles start at $240 per year.

2. Charitable

Charitable is another heavy-duty WordPress donation plugin that shares a lot of similarities with GiveWP.

It also lets you create structured fundraising campaigns with goals and custom donations. In addition to funding goals, you can also set time goals to create time-sensitive fundraising campaigns.

Here’s a live example of the type of campaigns you can create:

WPCharitable is one of the donation plugins for WordPress

Charitable also includes advanced features like:

  • Recurring donations (paid).
  • Fee recovery to let donors cover the cost of your chosen payment processor (paid).
  • Email marketing service integrations.
  • Donor/donation management tools.
  • Donation receipts.

It also includes a unique peer-to-peer fundraising feature that lets you create something akin to GoFundMe, if that fits your needs.

The core Charitable plugin is available for free at WordPress.org. After that, you can either purchase individual premium extensions or a bundle. The bundles start at $129 per year.

Final Thoughts

By this point, I hope that you’ve found a WordPress donation plugin that fits your needs.

If you just want to display a simple WordPress donate button on your website, then I would stick with either PayPal Donations or WP Simple Pay, depending on whether you want to use PayPal or Stripe.

On the other hand, if you want a more full-featured fundraising plugin, then GiveWP and Charitable are both great options.

Both have pretty similar feature lists at a high level, so unless you have very specific needs, your decision should probably come down to the price and interface of the two plugins.

Of the two, GiveWP is the more popular one, but they both have great reviews so I don’t think you’ll go wrong either way.

Do you have any additional questions about how to accept donations on WordPress? Ask away in the comments and we’ll do our best to help.

Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer and long-time Internet marketer. He specializes in digital marketing, WordPress and B2B writing. He lives a life of danger, riding a scooter through the chaos of Hanoi. You can also follow his travel blog.