The following is a guest post by Dave Phillips of Passion 4 Planting, a church plant project manager and coder extraordinaire.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could start accepting donations from your church plant website without hiring a programmer? You can! All you need is a WordPress-based website and a plugin that’s connected to your church’s PayPal account.
If you haven’t setup a PayPal account, start with PayPal first. Here’s their current link for setting up an account. You might want to take a look at this article for detailed instructions. As a bonus, this article includes how to accept donations via Facebook. Sites are constantly changing, so take your time and read through the steps as you go.
If you’re reading this article, I will assume you have a website based on WordPress. Plugins allow you to add great functionality by simply adding them to your site. You don’t have to be a developer to do this! Here’s an article on how to install plugins.
WordPress Plugins for PayPal
Plugins come with a wide range of options: free, almost free and premium. For the most part, you do get what you pay for, but some of the free options are actually quite good. The “almost free” plugins typically require that you purchase an “add-on” to get real functionality. Premium plugins cost you up front and hopefully come with some great support if you get stuck.
My advice is to take a serious look at the free plugins first, but don’t be afraid to pay for an upgrade.
Plugins are Not Created Equally
As you might expect, there’s a wide range of features, bells and whistles that come with the plugins you find in the wild. Depending on where you are in your timeline, you might be fine just accepting a donation with a button that lets the user fill in the amount. For an established church, you probably need to have the ability to accept recurring donations. This is a great option for people who commit to supporting your church plant, but aren’t in the same city.
Here’s a short list to help streamline your search:
- PayPal Donations
- Seamless Donations
- Exquisite PayPal Donation
- Smart Donations
- Custom Post Donations
- WP Easy Paypal Payment Accept
- WordPress PayPal
Examples: Two Free Plugins
There are many to choose from, but let me highlight two free plugins that provide you with some solid options:
With over 450,000 downloads and 40,000+ active installs, this is a great plugin if you simply need a button that takes your donor to PayPal to complete a simple form. Here’s what it will look like on your site (by default):
If you’re looking for a quick and relatively easy way to build a donations page, this might be a good option. I like the fact that there are “thank you” templates and a landing page for acknowledging the donation. This plugin has some donor management features to help you keep track of your donors. Here’s the form created by the plugin after you make a few settings on the back end:
As advertised, it’s very easy to setup and you’ll be able to keep track of your donors on your site.
By using a simple WordPress plugin, you can quickly and easily provide a place for your supporters to make donations. Eventually, you’ll have a church database management system that will keep track of all these details for you, but with a little effort, a plugin can get you started right away.