This is a guest post from Daniel Martin of Arcstone, a nonprofit WordPress website design firm.
Nonprofit organizations, by definition, have a different mission than for-profit businesses—it’s right there in the name. As such, nonprofits might seem like an incongruous fit in the eCommerce world.
However, nonprofits still need to raise money (and often sell products to do so), so they can reap the benefits of a well-built eCommerce website just as much as for-profit businesses. Plus, a good website is an excellent platform for a nonprofit to showcase the work they are doing, create awareness, communicate with supporters, and establish legitimacy.
There are many platforms nonprofit web designers can use. In this article, we’ll cover why WooCommerce is our preferred option, plus we’ll cover some of the great WooCommerce extensions that can be most beneficial to nonprofits.
Nonprofits need a secure platform to collect funds, share information, and centralize their activities. We recommend WooCommerce because it checks those boxes—plus has several other assets that are appealing to nonprofits as well.
- Affordability. WooCommerce itself is open-source and free, which makes it ideal for NPOs who must watch their spending. (However, you will need to pay for hosting and any premium extensions you use.)
- A vast number of extensions. There are tons of extensions to increase WooCommerce’s functionality. If a nonprofit has a specific need for a feature to add to their website, there’s probably an extension out there that can help them make it happen.
- A vast number of themes. Customizing the website is easy with countless free or paid themes.
- Social media integration. Integrating WooCommerce with social media is easy and gives NPOs access to a broad audience base.
- Scalability. WooCommerce can adapt to the size of your nonprofit, so you won’t have to move to another platform with growth.
- WordPress compatibility. Since WooCommerce itself is technically a WordPress plugin, if you are already using WordPress for your site (and your blog), WooCommerce will integrate seamlessly.
An effective donation system is critical for a nonprofit organization. Our goal here is to find extensions that make the process easy and flexible for donors—when someone is ready to give, you don’t want your website to get in the way. Fortunately, WooCommerce has plenty of extensions that can help improve the functionality of your nonprofit site. Here are some of our favorites.
One Page Checkout
The WooCommerce One Page Checkout extension ($79/year at WooCommerce.com) allows you to turn any page into a checkout page. That means someone can make a donation and check out without going anywhere else on the site.
Here’s an example from the Minneapolis Parks Foundation which allows a donor to check out on the donation page—there’s no “add to cart” and then separate checkout process involved, it’s all right there on a single page.
If you have sponsors who send you donations on a recurring basis, the WooCommerce Subscriptions extension ($199/year at WooCommerce.com) is a must-have. With WooCommerce Subscriptions, donors will be automatically billed monthly (or any other frequency you decide); you don’t have to set reminders to collect money or make time for invoicing every end month. And donors have full control of their subscriptions, so they can adjust amounts or renew through your website.
Name Your Price
It’s a common practice for nonprofits to sell products as a way to raise money. With the Name Your Price extension ($49/year at WooCommerce.com), a donor can decide how much they want to pay for a product on your site. You set the minimum donation price for the item, and it’s up to them to decide whether to just pay the minimum—or any higher amount.
Name Your Price can also integrate with other WooCommerce extensions like WooCommerce Subscriptions, which allows donors to choose their own amount for a recurring donation.
WooCommerce works with a large number of payment gateways. PayPal is the most used of all the gateways in the world, and PayPal Standard is one of the payment options built into the WooCommerce core, so it makes sense to use PayPal as a way of taking donations on your site.
PayPal has established itself as a trustworthy and reliable service. It is easy to use and has a global footprint. That means you can get donations from any part of the world.
To use PayPal on your nonprofit site, you’ll need to set up a business account on PayPal, then fill in your details in WooCommerce in the Settings > Payments menu.
Checkout Field Editor
Cart abandonment is an ongoing issue with for-profit businesses—and it affects NPOs too. You don’t want a donor to change their mind at the last minute and not follow through with the checkout process on your site.
One of the major reasons donors will abandon your site is a lengthy or complicated checkout process. You can reduce the friction through the Checkout Field Editor extension ($49/year on WooCommerce.com). This extension gives you the option of customizing and removing different fields in the checkout process; after all, there is no point in collecting information you will never use.
GiveWP and Donation for WooCommerce
If you don’t want to pick and choose the individual extensions for your nonprofit website, there are some extensions available that provide entire suites of tools for nonprofits. GiveWP (starting at $187/year on GiveWP.com) and Donation for WooCommerce ($99/year at WooCommerce.com) are both popular options that can help you with things like recurring donations, donor management, donation widgets and buttons to put around your site, and more.
Woocommerce is a flexible platform that has a lot to offer for nonprofits. It’s free, it works right on top of your already-existing WordPress site, and its vast number of extensions can help you tailor your site to your specific needs.
- One Page Checkout. Turn any page into a checkout page to make the donation process as fast as possible.
- WooCommerce Subscriptions. Allow donors to automatically make recurring donations to your nonprofit.
- Name Your Price. Donors can choose how much to pay for products you sell, or name their own recurring donation amount.
- PayPal Standard. Accept donations through the most used payment gateway in the world.
- Checkout Field Editor. Reduce friction and abandonment by removing unnecessary fields from your checkout form.
- GiveWP and Donation for WooCommerce. Check out suites of tools specifically designed for nonprofits, including things like recurring donations, donor management, and donation widgets and buttons.
The following extensions mentioned in this post are included at no additional charge in the GoDaddy Managed WordPress eCommerce hosting package:
- WooCommerce Subscriptions
- Checkout Field Editor
Click here to learn more about GoDaddy’s WooCommerce hosting options.