Accepting Donations: PayPal Plugins for WordPress

Yes, Please! I need a way to accept donations with PayPal now!!

I wish there was an easy, 1-2-3 answer to this common request, but there are so many options within WordPress and other website tools for collecting donations. What’s really cool is that you’re reading this because you have or anticipate having people that want to support your new church (yes, I know it’s God’s church, but you understand).

In this article, I’ll do my best to highlight some options that seem to answer the question on what plugins to use for PayPal. In addition, we hope to give you some information that will make you a bit smarter on the whole subject. As always, make sure you discuss this with your launch team, leadership team, board, etc., before jumping in head first!

Your first big decision is whether you want a Donate Button or a Donation Form. The button is quick and easy and it immediately takes the user to PayPal to complete the transaction. The Donation Form provides additional options for collecting user info, explaining donation options, etc.

Before we get started, let me cover a few basics on setting up a PayPal account and how to install a WordPress plugin. If you’ve got this covered, jump down to the Plugin Review section.

Some Basics

Setup a 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 you take your time and read through the steps as you go.

WordPress Plugins

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 from free to premium to free with premium upgrade options. My advice is to take a serious look at the free plugins first, but don’t be afraid to pay for an upgrade. Sometimes these are not very expensive, but give you access to technical support or features that really enhance your site.

Tip: One thing you can do is simply add a PayPal button on your site. This isn’t a plugin, but it’s the easiest possible option for accepting donations. Here’s an article that shows you how.

WordPress Metrics

As you look at plugins, here are some metrics provided by WordPress to consider before you invest the time to install and configure a plugin. Every plugin includes important information that gives you helps you decide beforehand. Here are three factors to consider before reading any details:

  1. Last Updated
  2. Active Installs
  3. Rating

Church Planter Metrics

If the plugin has been updated recently, has lots of active installs and has a top-level rating, it’s worth taking a look at.  Note: It is possible that it’s brand new and therefore doesn’t have a lot of installs or a good rating, I just prefer something that’s been around the track a few times before jumping in! Once we get beyond the starting point, it’s time to look at how the plugin will work for you. For church planters, these are the 3 top things I think you are looking for in a plugin:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Mobile friendly
  3. Recurring giving

Summary of Plugins

Free Plugins

# Plugin Name Last Updated WP Installs WP Rating Ease of Use Mobile Friendly Recurring Giving
1. PayPal Donations Dec 2015 40,000+ 4.9  5  5  Yes
2. Seamless Donations Dec 2015 10,000+ 4.0 4  3  Yes
3. PayPal Donation Button Nov 2015 2,000+ n/a  5  5  Yes
4. Exquisite PayPal Donation Apr 2015 1,000+ n/a  5  4  Yes
5. Charitable – Fundraising & Crowdfunding Nov 2015 600+ 5.0  4  4  No
6. Custom Post Donations Nov 2015 1,000+ n/a  4  5  No
7. Donations Made Easy — Smart Donations Aug 2015 5,000+ 3.8
8. WP Easy Paypal Payment Accept Nov 2015 20,000+ 4.2  4  5 No
9. WordPress PayPal Jan 2016 1,000+ 4.0  3  5 No

Premium (Paid) Plugins

# Plugin Name Price Last Updated WP Installs WP Rating Ease of Use Mobile Friendly Recurring Giving
1. Give $62 Jan 2016 6,000+ 4.8
2. Total Donations for WordPress $28 Oct 2015 1,032 4.83
3. EDD Donations $39 unk unk unk
4. Gravity Forms $199 unk unk unk

Keeping these factors in mind, let’s look at the FREE plugins first.

2016-01-27 18.47.41Free Donation Plugins

#1. PayPal Donations

  • Tagline: Easy, simple setup to add a PayPal Donation button as a Widget or with a shortcode.
  • logo-PayPal_DonationsDescription: Adds a PayPal donation shortcode and sidebar Widget to WordPress. The options menu lets you setup you PayPal ID and a few other optional settings. You can choose which donation button you want to use or if you want to use your own button. You can also set an optional default purpose and reference which can be overridden on each inserted instance with the shortcode options or in the Widget settings. There is also options available for currency, localization of the button, custom payment page style and the return page.
  • Sample using shortcode: [paypal-donation]
  • Pros: Very simple to configure and implement. Once your settings are done, you can use the shortcode to have a Donations button anywhere (post or page). The widget was simple set configure as well. One feature I really like is the ability to enter reference text which lets me know where the button was clicked. Recurring donations are simple for the user as well. The advanced page even lets you override the theme’s styling so the button is centered in the widget or page.
  • Cons: I don’t have any cons for this one. There’s a good reason why over 430,000 users have downloaded this plugin!
  • Metrics:
    • Last updated: December 2015
    • Active Installs: 40,000+
    • Rating: 4.9 of 5 stars (17 users)
  • Link:

#2. Seamless Donations

  • Tagline: The Most Popular Donations Plugin for WordPressseamless-donations
  • Description: Five Minutes to Your First Donation. Seamless Donations is so easy to install and configure that your Web site can accept donations via your PayPal account within five minutes of downloading the plugin. Automatic Repeating Donations. You can instantly give your donors the option to make their donation repeat automatically. You can turn on on the option with a click, which gives your donors a checkbox to make any donation repeat. Seamless Donations is free and will never, ever charge you a commission.
  • Sample using shortcode: [seamless-donations]
  • Pros: 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. As advertised, it’s very easy to setup.
  • Cons: Since the form is built on the fly by the plugin, you aren’t able to control size and layout very well. As you can see by the simple shortcode sample above, the form takes up a lot of space. The widget below demonstrates that issue as well.
  • Metrics:
    • Last updated: December 2015
    • Active Installs: 10,000+
    • Rating: 4 of 5 stars (39 reviews)
  • Link:

#3. PayPal Donation Button

  • Description: A simple PayPal donation button WordPress plugin.PayPal-Donation-Button
  • Pros: This plugin is as advertised: simple. Not a lot of options, but it definitely works in page, posts and text widget using the shortcode.
  • Cons: The plugin requires that I use my email address rather than my merchant id. That’s a show-stopper for this plugin in my mind.
  • Sample using shortcode: [paypal_donation_button]
  • Metrics:
    • Last updated: Nov 2015
    • Active Installs: 2,000+
    • Rating: only 2 have rated this plugin
  • Link:

#4. Exquisite PayPal Donation

  • Tagline: The perfect solution for enabling PayPal donations at your WordPress site.Exquisite PayPal Donation
  • Description: A simple, elegant, responsive and extensive solution for accepting Paypal donations at your WordPress site. Choose between a preferred currency and a multi-currencies selection drop down, and let your visitor decide on the amount, while still at your site. The plugin is 100% translatable and the Paypal payment page will be presented automatically in the same language as your website pages. The form can be used by drag&drop in the widget areas, via a short code in the posts and pages of your site or hardcoded by calling a function anywhere in your website. More on:
  • Sample using shortcode: [Exq_ppd_form]
  • Pros: Another simple plugin to generate the PayPal donate button. Add the plugin, enter your PayPal email or merchant ID and you’re just about done.
  • Cons: As you can see above, the layout takes up quite a bit of space on the page. One other “feature” is purpose for the donation is left blank when you’re taken to PayPal. I prefer to have control of this text as it helps me maintain consistency.
  • Metrics:
    • Last updated: April 2015
    • Active Installs: 1,000+
    • Rating: only 3 have rated this plugin
  • Link:

#5. Charitable – Fundraising & Crowdfunding

  • Tagline: Charitable is a powerful, extendable fundraising plugin that gives you full control over your website donations.Charitable
  • Description: Charitable is the WordPress fundraising alternative for non-profits, built to help non-profits raise money on their own website. You can accept PayPal or offline donations right out of the box, with support for other gateways available as extensions.
  • Sample using shortcode: [campaigns]
  • Pros: This plugin helps you build “campaign” pages for your donations and keeps track of donations within WordPress. I can see this being very useful, especially if you want to target specific areas.
  • Cons: From the author’s FAQs: “Support for recurring donations will be added as an extension, but is not yet available.” Also, it looks like the custom post type created by this plugin conflicts with another plugin I installed for donations. This probably isn’t normal, but I didn’t want to lose that info as a warning.
  • Metrics:
    • Last updated:  November 2015
    • Active Installs: 600+
    • Rating: 5 (15 reviews)
  • Link:

#6. Custom Post Donations

  • Tagline: WordPress PayPal Plugin. Create custom PayPal donation forms in your pages or posts. WordPress Plugin for PayPal integration.custom-post-donations
  • Description: WordPress PayPal Plugin. This WordPress PayPal plugin will allow you to create unique customized PayPal donation forms to insert into your WordPress posts or pages and accept donations. WP Plugin for creating custom PayPal donation widgets. PayPal for WordPress. WordPress ecommerce. Newly Added sidebar widget functionality!
  • Sample using shortcode: [cpDonation key=’1′]
  • Pros: Allows you to created several donation buttons and gives you the shortcode reference to including these in your post or pages (as you see above). There is a premium version (less than $20) that gives you a lot more options, so if you want to go with donation buttons, this is probably a good choice.
  • Cons: The plugin doesn’t provide a means to setup recurring donations.
  • Metrics:
    • Last updated: November 2015
    • Active Installs: 1,000+
    • Rating: none
  • Link:

#7. Donations Made Easy — Smart Donations

  • Tagline: The all in one donation plugin, create different kind of donations, set goals, monitor your results, donation forms, thank you emails and more…Smart-Donations
  • Description: The all in one donation plugin, create different kind of donations, set goals, monitor your results, create donation forms, set thank you emails. Currently it supports paypal, stripe and five different styles of donations
  • Sample using shortcode: [sdonations]1[/sdonations]
  • Pros
  • Cons: I don’t like the shameless sales-pitch for their pro version from the Smart Donations menu for Progress Indicators and Analytics. The giant graphic that displays “Pro Version” doesn’t sit well with me, but maybe that’s just a pet peeve! Also, the Settings sub-menu doesn’t provide typical settings–it’s more of an advanced, developer page.
  • Metrics
    • Last updated: August 2015
    • Active Installs: 5,000+
    • Rating: 3.8 (20 reviews)
  • Link:

#8. WP Easy Paypal Payment Accept

  • Tagline: Easy to use WordPress plugin to accept paypal payment for a service or product or donation in one click.WP-Easy-Paypal-Payment-Accept
  • Description: Easy to use WordPress plugin to accept paypal payment for a service or product or donation in one click. Can be used in the sidebar, posts and pages of your site.
  • Sample using shortcode: [wp_paypal_payment]
  • Pros: Very simple to configure and implement. It’s nice to set options in one place and use the shortcode or widget wherever you want.
  • Cons: As the title implies, this is geared more toward processing payments than accepting donations. While configuring the dropdown menu options is easy, it’s probably not the best choice for a church planter. I don’t like the layout of the form in either the shortcode or the widget.
  • Metrics:
    • Last updated: November 2015
    • Active Installs: 20,000+
    • Rating:  4.2 (24 reviews)
  • Link:

#9. WordPress PayPal

  • Tagline: Easily accept payment in WordPress by adding a PayPal button to your website. Add PayPal Buy Now, Add to Cart, Subscription or Donation button.WordPress-PayPal
  • Description: WordPress PayPal plugin allows you to easily create PayPal Buy Now, Add to Cart, Donation or Subscription type buttons. It generates dynamic buttons using shortcodes that enable PayPal checkout on your WordPress site.
  • Sample using shortcode: [wp_paypal button=”donate” name=”P4P” amount=”100″]
  • Pros: Easy to install.
  • Cons: The shortcode requires a predetermined amount, doesn’t provide the user an opportunity to change that amount and doesn’t allow for recurring donations. All in all, this one falls well short of basic church planter requirements.
  • Metrics:
    • Last updated: January 2016
    • Active Installs: 1,000+
    • Rating: 4 of 5 stars, (5 reviews)
  • Link:

2016-01-27 18.47.47

Premium Donation Plugins

#1. Give: $62 (Premium AddOn for PayPal)

  • Tagline: Democratizing Generosity – Empower your cause: start accepting donations on WordPress with Give.give
  • Description: Give’s goal is to “Democratize Generosity”. Give is the most robust WordPress plugin available for accepting donations. Upon activation, Give provides you with powerful features towards helping your raise more funds for your cause.
  • Pros:
  • Cons:
  • Metrics:
    • Last updated: January 2016
    • Active Installs: 6,000+
    • Rating: 4.8 of 5 (79 reviews)
  • Link:

#2. Total Donations for WordPress: $28total-donations

  • Description: Total Donations is an easy-to-use but powerful WordPress plugin for accepting online donations. Donors can quickly contribute to your non-profit, church or political organization using an intuitive donation form while the administrative panels allow you to manage your tasks, progress bars and campaigns with ease.
  • Pros:
  • Cons:
  • Metrics:
    • Last updated: October 2015
    • Active Installs (sales): 1,032
    • Rating: 4.83 (47 reviews)
  • Link:

#3. EDD Donations: $39

  • Tagline: An Online Giving Plugin for Your Churchedd donations
  • Description: Accept one-time or recurring* donations. Donors can enter a custom donation amount. Show a donor history page where donors can view all of their transactions. Send email receipts to donors. Create an unlimited amount of campaigns or funds. You can accept donations through many different payment gateways, such as PayPal, Dwolla, or Stripe.
  • Pros:
  • Cons:
  • Metrics (not available)
  • Link:

#4. Gravity Forms: $199 (Developer version required to get PayPal Add-on)gravity-paypal

Found, But Not Reviewed

erased-1506847-1280x960Here are some I found, but didn’t seem like it was worth reviewing (sorry developers!).

  • DC – Easy WordPress Paypal Payment/ Donations Plugin: This WordPress plugin makes it very easy to accept payments online on your WordPress website. Our highly customizable plugin / shortcode enables you t…
    • Description: This is a Paypal WordPress plugin provided by DART Creations
    • Less than 10 installs.
  • Donation Form: Simple, effective plugin to create a donation or contribution form that links from your website to a PayPal payment page. Built by
    • Description: Donation Form | The “Donation Form” by adds a simple donation tab and payment form integrated with PayPal onto your WordPress installation. The donation plugin is easy and fast to install, and effortless for your users or website visitors. The Donation Form is integrated with a free account which you can create from within the plugin.
    • Last updated: 2 years ago
    • Active installs: 200+
  • WP Paypal Simple Donation Widget. Very is a simple PayPal payment/donation sidebar button. Put your own custom text, minimum payments amount and more. This widget will display a standa…
    • Last updated over a year ago
    • Active installs: 1,000+
    • One review…not good.
  • Paypal Payment Shortcode
    • Last updated: 2 years ago
    • Active Installs: 200+
    • Link:

Outdated Plugins — Warning: Avoid thesedo-not-enter-1243682-1279x851

Old Plugins that are still around, but haven’t been updated in 2+ years. I’m including these in case you run across them…please don’t use plugins that are not maintained!

  • WordPress PayPal Donation Plugin.
  • Donate Plus.
  • Donations Widget.
  • WP-Webmoney.
  • EasyDonation.
  • Multi Currency PayPal Donations. Actually, I was hoping this one would work, but there are bugs in the plugin that prevented it from allowing me to setup the PayPal account. Too bad. It
  • For the most part, this post is out of date, though the title is provocative:

Related Articles

Here’s an excellent article that covers much of this topic, though it hasn’t been updated in a while.


Finding the right plugin to process donations to your church is an important and worthwhile task. I hope this article streamlines your effort and points you in the right direction. Our desire is to support church planters by giving you tools, resources and information that saves you time so you can keep focused on finding the lost and feeding the found!

Thoughts about serving others

This link includes a list of posts about Serving the Least, the Lost, and the Lonely.

My prayer is for you to join me on this journey. Subscribe to this blog below to get an email when a new post is available.

Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.

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