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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Interview with Yael Reinhardt-Matsliah

Yael ReYael Reinhardt Matsliah profile photoinhardt-Matsliah is a former activist turned web designer and the owner of Pixel Happy Studio, a design studio based in Israel. Yael works with clients all over the world who share her commitment to make the world a better place.

We came across Yael earlier this year while she worked on a brand new website for the Nu Mu Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity created for African Americans. We loved Yael’s super-clean integration of Charitable on the Scholarship Beautillion section, where donors can support young men preparing for college.

With the website now launched, I caught up with Yael to talk about her business and her experiences working with non-profit organisations. Read more

Matchme: A Crowdfunding Platform for Donation Matching

An interview with Jeremy Peskin, Co-founder and President of Matchme

Photo of Jeremy Peskin, Co-founder and President of MatchmeA few weeks ago, Matchme.org launched as a free donation matching platform, connecting non-profits with businesses that want to make a social impact.

The website launched at an interesting time. Google’s matching donation campaign for Syrian refugees raised an impressive €10 million, showing just how big an impact businesses can have when they put their weight – and money – behind a social cause they care about.

I chatted to Matchme’s co-founder and President, Jeremy Peskin, to find out more about the vision behind Matchme. Read more

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising & Crowdfunding with Charitable

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a powerful fundraising channel for your non-profit. It gives your supporters a way of doing much more than just making a donation. As they create fundraising campaigns, your supporters spread awareness of your organisation through their network of family and friends.

With Charitable Ambassadors, you can give your supporters a platform to put together an amazing fundraiser for your organisation.

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Infographic: Why Non-profits Choose WordPress

Thousands of non-profits choose WordPress because it’s free, easy to use and boasts an unparalleled collection of plugins that extend its capabilities.

Below is an infographic we put together to highlight why non-profits and WordPress are a great match, including a section on handy plugins for non-profits which features Charitable – our new fundraising plugin.

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