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Sell Tickets to Your Fundraising Event with WordPress

A lot of fundraising may have moved online, but real world fundraising events like gala dinners still represent a key component of many organizations’ annual fundraising. Today, I want to show how you can use your WordPress website to sell tickets to your gala dinner — and automatically link it into an online fundraising campaign.

Introducing FGDD — our fictional organization

To help put things in context, we’re going to pretend we are setting this up for a fictional organization called FGDD (Fundraising Gala Dinner Demo — get it?), who run an annual fundraising campaign to raise money for clean water projects in Uganda. This year, their goal is to raise $45,000 — enough to fund three clean water projects. They’re accepting online donations and selling tickets to their gala dinner.

You can see the demo site up at http://demo.wpcharitable.com/fundraising-gala-dinner-demo/, or watch the video below to see what we will create:

If you’re following along with this tutorial, I am going to assume you already have a website up and running with WordPress installed. On the FGDD site, I have used the Twenty Seventeen theme, the most recently released default WordPress theme, but as long as your theme has been written with WordPress development standards in mind, these instructions should apply to you as well.

Step 1: Install the plugins we need

As with most things WordPress, there are quite a few plugins that allow you to sell event tickets. I have chosen Event Tickets and its companion Event Tickets Plus, a plugin by the creators of The Events Calendar. Alongside it, we’re going to use Easy Digital Downloads as the e-commerce system for selling tickets. And finally, using our Easy Digital Downloads Connect extension, we will loop Charitable into the mix.

First of all, let’s install the three free plugins. In your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New and install each of these plugins: Charitable, Event Tickets and Easy Digital Downloads. Just search for them by name; they should pop up, allowing you to quickly install and activate each one.

Next, you’ll need to purchase the two premium plugins we’ll use. Let’s start with Event Tickets Plus. This one costs $89 for a single-site license, which comes with a year of access to support and updates. The reason you’ll need Event Tickets Plus instead of just using Event Tickets (the free plugin) is that the Plus plugin allows you to sell tickets. The free plugin only supports RSVP functionality, without any payment.

After you’ve purchased Event Tickets Plus, download it and then return to the Plugins > Add New page in your dashboard. Click “Upload Plugin” and then install the file you just downloaded. After installing it, you will need to activate the plugin.

Finally, purchase and install Charitable Easy Digital Downloads Connect. We’ll use it to automatically include the proceeds from your ticket sales to your fundraising campaign.

That’s it. For about $150, we have everything we need to sell tickets to the events.

Step 2: Create your fundraising campaign

First of all, let’s set up our fundraising campaign page. You can do this by going to Charitable > Add Campaign. Below is a screenshot showing the basic setup of our campaign.

Screenshot showing how to create your fundraising campaign

As you can see, we have given our campaign a strong, action-oriented title that is designed to resonate with supporters. We have a clear goal of $45,000 and a set timeframe which gives our campaign a sense of urgency. We also want people to be able to donate directly to the campaign, even if they can’t attend the fundraising dinner, so we have suggested a few donation options.

We can also use the Extended Description tab to add a little more information about the campaign, as well as including a photo.

Screenshot of fundraising campaign

Step 3: Create your ticketed event

Event Tickets is a cool plugin. Most other event plugins with ticketing functionality require you to set up a standalone event and then link the tickets to that. Under the hood, the events are a separate “post type”, which is a WordPress-speak for a type of content. Pages and posts are two other post types.

Event Tickets is a little different. Though you can combine it with The Events Calendar (created by the same people), that’s not essential. You can attach tickets to any post type you nominate. In our case, we’re going to use Event Tickets to transform our fundraising campaign into a ticketed event.

Configure Event Tickets settings

First of all, we need to configure Event Tickets to allow campaigns to have tickets.

  1. In your WordPress dashboard, go to Events > Settings.
  2. Open the “Tickets” tab.
  3. For the “Post types that can have tickets” setting, check the box next to “Campaign”.
  4. Click “Save Changes”.

Configure settings for Event Tickets

Add tickets to the campaign

Next, let’s return to the fundraising campaign we created earlier. If you don’t have it open anymore, you can find it by going to Charitable > Campaigns and clicking on the one you created.

Now when we scroll down, we’ll see a new “Tickets” metabox.

Screenshot showing how to add tickets to a campaign

To create a new ticket, click on the “Add new ticket” button. There are quite a few configuration options available here, including the option to set dates for when the tickets are on sale, the price, and the stock available. Note also that we are selling these using Easy Digital Downloads — not RSVP.

We can also ask ticket purchasers to fill out information about the attendees they’re purchasing for.

When you have finished creating your ticket, click on “Save this ticket”. You can always edit a ticket later.

Configuring the ticket

Preview the campaign

If we preview the campaign now, we’ll see it includes a Tickets section where people can purchase tickets.

Fundraising campaign with a ticket section

Step 4: Set up a payment gateway in Easy Digital Downloads

We now have our fundraising campaign set up, with tickets ready to purchase, but we haven’t configured Easy Digital Downloads yet. Let’s go to Downloads > Settings to set it up.

There are quite a few options available to set up, which we won’t go into. For information about the settings available in Easy Digital Downloads, read their documentation.

For our purposes, we just need to turn on a payment gateway so that we can start accepting donations & ticket payments.

As you can see, Easy Digital Downloads includes PayPal Standard and Amazon by default, as well as a Test Payment gateway. On the demo site, we’re going to use Test Payment since we don’t actually want to take anyone’s money, but you should choose your preferred gateway and configure that. You can find more payment gateways on Easy Digital Downloads’ website.

Step 5: Count ticket sales towards the fundraising campaign

Remember how our fundraising campaign page shows the total amount raised? The way we have things set up at the moment, people can purchase tickets to the dinner, but those sales aren’t included in the total amount raised by the fundraising campaign. Ideally, we want our funds raised to reflect ticket sales as well as any donations to the campaign.

With Easy Digital Downloads Connect, that’s incredibly easy to set up.

Head back to our campaign page in the dashboard and scroll down to the “Donation Options” section. At the bottom of that, you’ll see a section titled “Easy Digital Downloads – Contributions from Purchases” — this is where we’ll set up the link between ticket sales and the campaign fundraising.

Setting up link between ticket sales and fundraising campaign

  1. Click on “Add new Contribution Rule”.
  2. Set how much of the ticket sale should be counted towards the fundraising tally. We’ve put 100% here, but you may have fixed costs related to the event, so you could set that to 50% or $75 — any amount that accurately reflects how much of the ticket sale will go towards the fundraising campaign.
  3. Under “When You Purchase”, you can choose to link purchases from any Easy Digital Downloads product, any product within a specific category, or one specific product. If you’re using Easy Digital Downloads to sell other products, you might want to choose a specific category or specific product. In our case, we applied this to all products with the “Ticket” category.
  4. Finally, you can define when the rule runs from. We set this up to correspond to the date from which the campaign was created until fundraising ends.

Try it out

We’re done! We have created our fundraising campaign and made it a ticketed event, with all proceeds from ticket sales going towards our fundraising efforts. All that remains to be done is to try it out.

You can test out the whole process yourself on the demo site.

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A More Secure Authorize.Net

In the latest release of Charitable Authorize.Net, we added support for Accept.js. Here’s why that matters for your website’s donation process.

Version 1.1 of our Authorize.Net extension came out a little while ago and was significant for a couple of reasons. For one, it included support for Recurring Donations. It also added a feature that allows you to automatically sync the required fields in your Charitable donation forms with the required fields you have defined in your Authorize.Net.

Today, I want to talk about the third key improvement and how it makes your donation process more secure: Accept.js.
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Supercharge Your Online Fundraising in 2017 with Recurring Donations

Finally — our Recurring Donations plugin is here! Start accepting monthly donations on your website today.

Want to know a not-so-secret secret about online fundraising? Donors who give regularly give more than one-time donors — a whopping 42% more on average, according to research by Network for Good.

So you’ll see why we are excited about Charitable Recurring Donations, which was developed by Kathy Darling (a.k.a. helgatheviking) in collaboration with us. Today’s release follows many months of development and testing. Now you can give your donors an easy way to start giving monthly, all with Charitable.
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UK Charities: Start Accepting Gift Aid on Your WordPress Donations

If you’re a UK charity, this one’s for you: We’ve just released an extension that allows you to quickly and easily start accepting Gift Aid donations.

Gift Aid lets you claim an extra 25p for every £1 when your donors claim Gift Aid on their donation.

We think that’s a pretty great deal for charities, so we’re really happy to be able to make it easier for you to start taking advantage of this with our brand new Gift Aid plugin.

Screenshot of Customizer Settings for Gift Aid
Customizing the Gift Aid declaration on your donation form is really easy with the WordPress Customizer

The extension is easy to set up and includes an exportable Gift Aid report designed to give you all the information you need to claim Gift Aid on eligible donations from the HMRC.

Charitable Gift Aid exclusively available with our Plus and Pro packages.

How PayPal’s SSL Certificate Upgrade Will Affect You — And How You Can Prepare for It

PayPal is in the process of making a series of security-related upgrades to its platform. Many of these changes won’t take effect until midway through 2017, but one important change is happening next month (October 2016).

Here’s what you need to know about PayPal’s SSL Certificate upgrade and how it might affect you. Read more

How We Improved Logins and Registrations in Charitable

One of the key focuses of Charitable development lately has been the front-end user login and registration process. Version 1.4.0 introduced a password reset process. Today we’re releasing version 1.4.2, which includes several enhancements to the login and registration forms.

Note: If you are already using the Charitable shortcodes for login and registration, there are some changes you need to be aware of. Read on to find out how you might be impacted. Read more

Charitable 1.4 Features Responsive Styling and More

TL;DR: We just released a huge update for Charitable. Highlights include better support for small screens, a new shortcode and complete user-facing login and registration workflow.

Charitable 1.4 is coming out today, nearly six months since we released version 1.3. That’s a long time between major releases – too long for my liking – but the result is that 1.4 is a big step forward for the project.  Here’s a taste of what’s new in 1.4:

  • Campaign grids (like the ones you add with the [campaigns] shortcode), automatically scale gracefully on smaller screens.
  • So does the list of suggested donations in the donation form.
  • You can use a new shortcode that lists a logged-in user’s history of donations.
  • Your registered users can update & reset their password using a completely user-facing system (i.e. no wp-login access).
  • The donation form runs some client-side validation tests now to help donors who have missed a field or entered an invalid credit card number.
  • Picture fields in forms now feature a nice drag and drop interface (a nice update for people using Ambassadors or User Avatar).

Let’s take a closer look at some of these.

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Accept Donations in South African Rand with PayFast

Our goal is for Charitable to be a donation plugin for organizations every everywhere — not just in currencies that are supported by PayPal.

That’s why we created our PayUMoney extension last year; it’s why we built out our Easy Digital Downloads integration; and it’s why we just made it possible for you to accept donations in South African Rand with our PayFast plugin.
Read more

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Charity Hackathons in Cape Town & Oregon in July

Two awesome events are taking place halfway across the world from each other this July 16. Cape Town and Bend, Oregon will both be playing host to do_action events: charity hackathons where small teams create a free website for a local non-profit organization in a single day.

If you’re in Cape Town or Bend, you can still register as a team. Teams consist of a project manager, designer, two developers, a social media manager, content manager and quality assurance tester. Find out more about both events through the links below:

We’re in Darwin, Australia, which is about as far away from both events as we could be, but we’re excited to be able to support both events by contributing a free Charitable Pro license to every non-profit participating. If your organization is taking part in either event and you’d like to know more about how you can take advantage of Charitable, we’d love to chat with you. You can reach us via our support page.

Create Your Dream Fundraising Platform with WordPress

Ben is a 32-year old with a solid job and a lingering desire to create something entrepreneurial. His parents ran a small business when he grew up, and it was a tough road for them at times. He always admired their work ethic and commitment.

In the community where he lives, Ben sees in some of his neighbours that same determination that inspired him about his parents. He realizes that they have dreams that they would love to pursue, but many lack the financial means to chase those dreams.

Out of a desire to give back to his local community, Ben decides to create a website for his local community. A place where people can share their entrepreneurial idea and ask for that little bit of financial help they need to get it started. No banks, no loans. Just good old fashioned community support.

That’s Ben’s dream. But his problem is that he’s not technical and the thought of putting together a complex platform daunts him. He can’t write code, so Ben’s goal is to find an off-the-shelf solution that allows him to create a platform where people can list their idea, connect their bank account, and start receiving donations from their local community.

Can he build this with WordPress?

Ben is familiar with WordPress from using it at his job, so he starts out by creating a new WordPress site and installing a theme he likes. He hunts around for a fundraising plugin and eventually finds Charitable. That allows him to start accepting donations, but there are a few things missing:

  1. He needs other people to be able to submit campaigns, but he doesn’t want them to have access to the WordPress dashboard.
  2. He needs all donations to automatically go to the people who added the campaign — not himself.
  3. When someone donates, he’d like to collect a small fee so that he can cover costs for his platform.

After chatting to our incredibly helpful and handsome support person (i.e. me!), Ben discovers that he can tick all three of these boxes with Charitable extensions available in the Charitable Pro package.

The first thing he does is install the Ambassadors extension. This lets him add a form to his site where people can submit campaigns.

Next, he installs Stripe, so that people can donate directly on his website using their credit card. Of course, Ben uses an SSL certificate to secure the transaction. Stripe does all the heavy lifting in terms of handling the payment.

This is fine, but it still means that all donations go into his Stripe account. The final piece to the puzzle is our latest extension: Stripe Connect. This extension builds on top of the Ambassadors and Stripe extensions and allows people to connect their own Stripe account when they add their campaign. This way, whenever a donation is made to their campaign, the donation goes directly to them. Ben charges a 5% fee for every donation, which allows him to cover the costs of the website. Stripe handles the transaction and automatically sends Ben’s fee to his Stripe account, with the rest going to the campaign creator after charging its own fee.

These three extensions – Ambassadors, Stripe and Stripe Connect – combine to help Ben create his fundraising platform. Best of all, he hasn’t written a single line of code!

Build your platform with Charitable

Our Stripe Connect extension was released last week after months of testing and development. It makes Charitable an even better foundation for creating your own fundraising platform. Even though Ben’s story is fictitious, many of you have reached out to us over the past few years with similar dreams. We’re thrilled and inspired to be able to provide you with the tools you need to create the platform you’re passionate about.

Stripe Connect is the same payment system that sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo use to handle transactions between project creators and backers. It’s a robust, secure way to build your platform. And now, you can take advantage of it on your WordPress site with Charitable.

Curious to see how it works? You can try out the experience for campaign creators on our Stripe demo.

The Stripe Connect extension is only available as part of the Charitable Pro package, which also includes every other Charitable extension.

Why We Moved to a Pay What You Want Model

We had a mini relaunch here on WPCharitable last week. The homepage got a refresh, we rolled out our theme Reach, and we launched a new Charitable Plus package to complement Charitable Pro.

But the bit that I want to talk about today is why we decided to move to a Pay What You Want pricing model for the Pro and Plus packages.

How does Pay What You Want work?

Normally, when you buy something, the store tells you how much to pay. If the price tag reads $5, you pay $5. Five dollars is a fixed price, chosen by the store based on what they know about how the product sells.

Pay What You Want gets rids of the fixed price. Instead of telling you how much you need to pay, it asks you to decide what the product is worth to you and asks you to pay accordingly.

In Charitable’s case we decided to set a minimum price for the Pro and Plus packages. You can pay the minimum or anything over that. The choice is yours.

But… why?

Pay What You Want lowers the barrier to entry, so we can make our premium features accessible to non-profits with tight budgets. The minimum price for either package represents a savings of over 50% when compared with the price of purchasing all the extensions individually.

Of course, both of these packages still cost something. In order to serve you in the long-term, we have to make our business sustainable. But the question we’re asking ourselves is: How can we build a sustainable business founded on generosity?

That’s why Pay What You Want excites me. It’s not just about us lowering the price; it’s also about customers being able to pay more if they can afford it and want to support us. It’s not a problem if a customer can’t pay over the minimum price — we still love them and give them all the support they need. But the surprising thing is that when given the choice, many customers do choose to give extra.

I find that incredibly humbling and rewarding.


p.s. Before we wrap this up, I’d like to give a quick shout out to @elliott_stocks. We used his Custom Prices add-on for Easy Digital Downloads, which turned out to be the perfect plugin to help us set up Pay What You Want pricing for the packages.

p.p.s. If you haven’t already, you really should check out our packages. 😉

Accept Donations with Authorize.Net

2015 is nearly over, but we thought we’d push out one last extension for the year: Charitable Authorize.Net allows you to accept donations through Authorize.Net.

The plugin is designed to be easy to use: Just install it, add your transaction key & API login ID (both available via Authorize.Net’s merchant area) and you are ready to begin accepting donations.

Authorize.Net gateway settings

With the addition of Authorize.Net, Charitable now supports 5 payment methods, as well as over 70 gateways available through our Easy Digital Downloads integration:

Not seeing your preferred gateway? Send us a message and let us know!

Easy Digital Downloads Connect banner

Donations with Easy Digital Downloads and Charitable

We teased it a few weeks ago, but Charitable Easy Digital Downloads Connect is finally available.

For e-commerce stores who want to contribute to more than their bottom line, Charitable Easy Digital Downloads Connect offers a seamless way to raise money for causes you care about.

We see examples of in e-commerce all the time:

  • Californian wine company OneHope provides 25 meals to a child in need for every purchase of a case of its wine.
  • SocietyB is an online marketplace where 10% of all revenue goes towards charity.
  • Feed contributes to charity through its revenue and gives customers a great idea of the impact their purchase will have.
  • Earlier this year, Creative Market authors donated up to 100% of their revenue towards Nepal disaster relief.
  • And my personal favourite: Who Gives a Crap?, a website here in Australia where you can purchase toilet paper knowing 50% will go towards WaterAid.

Now with Charitable Easy Digital Downloads Connect, you set up this kind of “consumer philanthropy” on your own store.

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