Accept Donations on Your Site Via PayPal
There are a lot of good reasons to accept donations on your website. Maybe you feel uncomfortable posting ads, or don’t have the time or initiative to rustle up advertisers, but you’d like to get a little something for all the work you’re putting in. Maybe you have an emergency and you feel you can turn to your fans for help. Or maybe you just want to see what happens.
Whatever the reason, creating a donation form for your website is pretty easy using PayPal’s form builder. Go to PayPal’s Donation Button page and click “Get Donation Buttons”. You’ll be asked to log in and then will be taken to a form to fill out. Enter your name or the name of your site where it asks for the “Donation name/service”. Leave the “Amount” field blank so your guests can enter their own amount, but be sure to select a currency and your country.
Then choose a style for your button. The next section asks you whether you want your button encrypted; if you choose “yes”, you’re done and can click the big “Create Button Now” button at the bottom. If you select “No” you can add further options, like whether you want to allow donors to include a note.
When you create your button, you’ll be given a field full of code to cut-and-paste into your site. Make sure you paste it in as HTML, not as text (for example, don’t use the visual editor in WordPress). The code I generated looks like this:
You can paste it anywhere on your site, but if you’re on WordPress, you’ll probably want to paste it into a “text widget” — go to Design > Widgets” and add a “text” widget to your sidebar. If your theme isn’t widget-enabled, you can also paste the code into your sidebar; go to “Design > Theme Editor” and select “Sidebar” from the menu on the right side.
You probably won’t get rich asking for donations, but it might help defray the cost of hosting, and maybe put a latte in your hand every now and again too. What do you think of donation buttons on websites? Does it turn you off, make you feel useful, or something else entirely?
I’ve contemplated putting a donation button on my hockey blog but I could not think of a reason why readers would want to donate. I donate if the money raises defrays the costs of something humanitarian, i.e. funds go to autism research. If a blogger is trying to make money to buy a latte or as income that would not benefit the blog, then I wouldn’t donate.
As I write this comment, I now think I would have a donation button and let readers know that their donation will legitimately help either fund a hockey scholarship for a minority student, purchase hockey equipment for a low-income program, or advance my blog’s online store. I think with these three reasons, more people will be likely to donate than if they thought they were buying me coffee daily.
Aneesa: I think a lot of people who read blogs get that it’s far more a labor of love than a money-making proposition, and are happy to toss a couple dollars now and again to a writer for their hard work. The same way you might toss a buck or two into a street musician’s guitar case.
There are a few bloggers who have managed to make a living that way; I wouldn’t count on it in any way, though.
Of course, raising money for some charity or related venture is another good thing to use donations for. I remember a few years ago, when the “Star Wars Kid” video was everywhere and Andy at Waxy.org found out that the kid in the video was really hurt by it, he accepted donations to raise money to buy the SW Kid an iPod — and ended up raising a couple thousand dollars, all of which went to SW Kid. People like to get behind a good cause.
Besides travel pictures, I’ve also got a lot of “how to” guides on my site for repairing or maintaining cars, motorcycles, computers, etc.
I think I’ll try putting a donate button on those pages. It might be worth while. I’ve had some very happy people email me thanking me for whatever one of my guides saved them some money/time/frustration.
Thanks for the post. 🙂