As an online store owner, there are many reasons why you might want to add charitable donations to your e-commerce checkout page. It helps you support a worthy cause and motivates customers to donate a fraction of their cart value. One way to do this is by using a WooCommerce donation plugin.
In this article, we’ll show you:
- How you can add charitable donations to your online store using a WooCommerce donation plugin.
- An easy way to list a range of donation products or options for customers to choose from.
- How you can add donations to your checkout page using WooCommerce extensions.
- How to let people choose between a selection of donation products before directing them to the checkout.
Let’s put everything into context before we begin.
Why you might want to offer charitable donation options to your customers
Did you know that it’s easier to find donations in retail verticals as compared to other spaces? This is mostly due to the fact that, at checkout, customers have their card or cash out and are ready to pay for their order. According to a recent survey, 71 percent of consumers said that they had made donations to charities at the register.
Another reason for adding donations to your checkout is that people prefer to do business with companies that give back to society and feel positive about them. According to a study, 65 percent of customers remembered the last retail business that asked them for donations, whereas 60 percent said that the experience made them feel positive about the retailer.
It’s easy to see that customers favor businesses that collect donations for a worthy cause and associate more trust with those brands. This is precisely why charity websites, as well as e-commerce stores wanting to make a difference, should encourage customers to make a donation at checkout.
This is incredibly easy to do with a WooCommerce donation plugin. Another reason for using a WooCommerce donation plugin to accept donations at checkout is that it can serve other purposes too. For example, it can also be used to enable a restaurant’s ordering system to take tips online or by service-based businesses that need a way to implement Buy me a cup of coffee!.
3 ways to offer charitable donation options
There are 3 main ways to offer charitable donation options through your website:
- Percentage of your order valueThis is calculated by taking a percentage of the customer’s order value. For example, 2% or 5% of their total purchase. This is a great option for store owners that want to donate a portion of their sales to charity.
- Fixed sum This involves asking customers to donate a fixed amount (for example $5 or $2.99) or in multiples of a base amount (for example $5, $10, $15, etc…) regardless of their order value.
- Offer a choice of donation productsAlternatively, you can list a range of donation options in a table before the customer visits the checkout page.
Of course, if you're a charity website, you might consider taking things a step further and accepting recurring donations. Now that we’ve discussed the importance of offering charitable donation options to your customers, let's talk about how you can let customers choose which charity they’d like to support.
How to select a charity to collect donations for
As an online store owner, you might want to gather donations for multiple charities or non-profit organizations. This way, you can give your customers the option to select which charity they’d like to donate to. Letting customers donate to a charity of their choice can help you gather more donations and make customers more likely to leave a donation at checkout.
To do this, you’ll need to set up drop-down options on the checkout page that let customers pick a charity of their choice. You’ll also have to keep track of how many donations were collected for each charity. For example, Charity A got $250 at the end of the month, Charity B got $150, and Charity C got $125. This will be done in the back-end though some WooCommerce donation plugins let you display progress bars on your site’s front-end, as well.
Best way to encourage customers to donate
While there are many ways you can ask for donations from paying customers, we recommend that you follow tried-and-tested methods when speaking to prospective donors. This is because customers who leave a donation will only be able to interact with your website unlike a real-life scenario where you can talk to them face-to-face.
Here are some of the best practices for encouraging customers to donate to charities:
- Share the impact of donations You need to let people know how their donations will make a difference. For instance, sponsoring children’s education, building a community center, or feeding the homeless. In simple words, let them know where their money will go.
- Use social proof Social proofing is all about everyone does it, you should too!. When people see other customers making donations to a worthy cause, they’re motivated to do the same.
- Give customers control over donation amount You should let your customers choose how much they’d like to donate. Some customers might want to donate $5 while others might want to donate $1.99 – every little bit helps!
Now that we have a better understanding of why you might want to accept donations from customers at checkout, let’s take a closer look at how you’d go about doing this in WordPress.
How to add charitable donations to your checkout page
It’s easy for customers to make donations when they’ve reached the checkout page since they already have their card (or alternative payment option) ready to go. It’s often easy for them to make a relatively small donation compared to their cart value. For example, if they purchase products that add up to $22.99, they might leave a donation of $2 without hesitation.
Another benefit of adding a donation option to your checkout page is that you don't need to create a new donation button. Instead, customers can pay for their order and donate to a charity in one go.
It’s worth mentioning, however, that you should make charitable donations an opt-in option. In other words, customers who want to donate should be able to do so by ticking a checkbox or entering the donation amount. And the rest of them can proceed to complete checkout without having to opt-out manually. They shouldn’t have to untick a checkbox as that would negatively affect their shopping experience.
GiveWP: The best WordPress donations plugin
GiveWP is a free WooCommerce donation plugin that makes it easy for WordPress site owners to accept donations regardless of whether they’re using WooCommerce or not.
This WooCommerce donation plugin is designed to help WordPress users easily create donation forms. You can quickly add fundraising campaigns to your e-commerce site as stand-alone web pages, display donation forms in your theme’s sidebar as widgets, or embed them using a shortcode.
GiveWP offers several options to customize the donation form templates along with extensive documentation to help you personalize the look and feel of your website. You can use GiveWP forms as widgets or add them to the checkout page. The plugin also lets you accept recurring donations from customers.
How to use GiveWP with WooCommerce
You can use the Donation Upsells for WooCommerce add-on to use the GiveWP plugin with your WooCommerce-based online store. This way, you can add donation options to your WooCommerce checkout (or cart) based on your GiveWP forms and form options.
One of the key benefits of using this add-on is that all payments made during the checkout process will be processed with the WooCommerce payment gateway you’ve enabled. In addition to this, the donation details you gather through your donation form will be saved in your GiveWP donation records in the back-end for reporting and donor management purposes.
The plugin delivers a seamless donation experience to your customers. When they click to view their shopping cart, they'll see a donation option directly under the products they've added to cart. This way, they can select which charity they'd like to donate to and select a donation amount. This will depend on how you've configured the plugin.
Here's an example of a website using the Donation Upsells for WooCommerce add-on to accept charitable donations at checkout:
Notice how customers can choose which charity they'd like to donate to and enter their donation amount. Customers can also choose to donate to multiple charities in one go.
How to use GiveWP without WooCommerce
You can use the GiveWP plugin to accept donations even if your website doesn’t use WooCommerce. This is especially useful for online store owners that:
- Use other e-commerce plugins (like Easy Digital Downloads) for selling products, or
- Website owners that don’t use a WooCommerce plugin at all but would like to be able to accept charitable donations.
GiveWP offers several payment gateways right out of the box. These include PayPal Standard and Stripe in addition to offline donation options.
Let customers make a donation on the product page
The WooCommerce Product Options extension lets you set up donations in a way that lets customers decide how much they’d like to donate. In other words, instead of setting a fixed donation amount, you can let customers donate as much as they’d like.
It also gives you the option to configure donation amounts in multiples of $10, $20, and $50. This is in addition to a name your price option which simply allows customers to enter their own donation amount.
This perhaps the easiest way to accept donations at the checkout page. It gives you the option to:
- Suggest a price.
- Enforce a minimum acceptable donation amount.
- Let customers decide how much they'd like to donate.
How to sell a choice of donation products before the checkout
So far, we've talked about how to let customers to make a donation at the checkout. But what if you want to give customers a choice of donation options?
For example, maybe you offer a choice of charities or projects to donate to. Maybe you sell charity gifts, such as 'Send a Cow' or 'Pay to immunise a child'. If so, then it's best to create a quick order form listing all the donation options before taking customers to the checkout page.
You can easily do this with the WooCommerce Product Table plugin. This handy plugin takes your donation products and lists them in an interactive table with search box and filters. Customers can quickly find and select the projects or charities they want to donate to, and then add them to the cart. They can then check out as usual and pay for the donation products along with any other products in their cart.
How to set it up
It's easy to list donation products with WooCommerce Product Table:
- Install the plugin on your WordPress site. (Make sure you install the free WooCommerce plugin too.)
- Go to Products → Add New and add all your donation products. Use 'Simple Products' for donations that don't come with any options; or 'Variable Products' if you're offering a choice. For example, if you're selling a 'Choose Your Donation' product then use variations to list the available donation amounts.
- Go to the WooCommerce Product Table settings page (WooCommerce → Settings → Products → Product Tables). Enter the license key from your order confirmation email, and choose your options. To sell charity donation products, we recommend the following options:
- Choose columns that will give people the information they need to know. For example, an image illustrating what the donation will be used for, the name, the price, and add to cart column.
- Choose the add to cart 'checkbox' style. This lets people quickly select multiple donation options and add them to the cart together. This encourages them to donate more.
- If you've created any variable donation products, then select the 'Dropdown' variation option.
- If you have a long list of donations, use filters to help people to find projects they care about more easily.
- Create a new page and add the shortcode [product_table]. This will list all your products in a table. If you've created a specific category for your charity donation products then use the category option to list those products only.
Where to get the plugins
Customers are more willing to buy from companies who support charities. The easier you make it for them to leave a donation, the more likely they’ll be to do so!
We explained how you can collect donations for charities at the checkout using a WooCommerce donation plugin like:
- Donation Upsells for WooCommerce add-on for GiveWP - for taking donations at the checkout.
- WooCommerce Product Options - for adding donation options to product pages.
- WooCommerce Product Table - to let customers select from a list of donation products, which gives them more choice.
Are you thinking of using a donations plugin? Will you let customers enter their own donation amount or set a fixed donation amount? Let us know by commenting below.
If you're looking for something that isn't specific to WooCommerce, then you might also like this guide to WordPress donation plugins.