a person donating money through their phone

Accepting donations online is a big way for people to make money. Whether you’re a nonprofit looking to crowdfund, a startup looking to grow, or an open-source software project looking for support, you’ll want a way for people to donate from your website.

If You Have a Goal: Use GoFundMe or Kickstarter

Sometimes, the best way to raise money is on other platforms. This has a few benefits: You don’t need to handle payments yourself, you don’t need to set up a website if you don’t want to, and it gives you an easy external link to spread awareness. Plus, people on the platform itself can browse through trending fundraisers, which is more exposure for you.

Services like GoFundMe and Kickstarter work best if you have a specific goal in mind that you want to get crowdfunded. GoFundMe can be used for anything, although it has a reputation for being used for medical bills and other serious emergencies. Kickstarter is generally used for creative projects and inventions that need early funding. IndieGoGo is another alternative.

For a Monthly Subscription: Use Patreon

Patreon logo

Subscription models are the secret to long-term, sustainable income for many companies, and the same applies to donations. Getting someone to donate $1 a month, every month is a lot better than getting them to donate $10 once and forget about it. Once they’re subscribed, many people will stay subscribed.

Patreon is a subscription-based crowdfunding platform. It’s commonly used by YouTubers, artists, and other creators, but there’s no limit to what you can use it for. For example, it’s often used for open-source software products to support the developers. It has made it possible for many developers to quit their jobs to work on their projects full time without having to worry about severely fluctuating income.

It can also be used to give access to exclusive downloads. This could be used to sell your product on a subscription model, but in the case of software products, it’s also used to give early beta access to supporters before the general public. For some, it’s used to give access to support communities on Discord as well.

Accepting Direct Donations with PayPal

PayPal logo

If you’d rather just have a “Donate” button on your website, PayPal makes it really easy. You will, of course, need a PayPal account to receive funds, which you can transfer out to your bank account periodically.

Once you have an account, making the buttons is really simple. Head over to this configurator page and enter your info. You will need to enter your email, and you can edit the style of the button.

Make your donate button on PayPal

Then, you’ll get a form like this that you can add to your site.

<form action="https://www.paypal.com/donate" method="post" target="_top">
    <input type="hidden" name="business" value="youremail@gmail.com" />
    <input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Donation" />
    <input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD" />

    <input type="image" src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/btn/btn_donateCC_LG.gif" border="0" name="submit" title="PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!" alt="Donate with PayPal button" />
    <img alt="" border="0" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/scr/pixel.gif" width="1" height="1" />

This is just a form that gets sent to paypal.com/donate. You can edit the style however you’d like. (The default button is quite ugly.) The last img tag is a tracking pixel, which you can actually remove.

Alternatively, you can just link to paypal.com/donate with your email address as the “business” parameter as well as the currency code.


Donate with PayPal button

In either case, donations will be immediately accessible in your PayPal account, although you might have to wait a few days to transfer them to your bank account.

Accepting Cryptocurrency Donations

This one is extremely simple. All you have to do to receive cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum is leave your wallet address somewhere on your site. Since payment processing is handled by the blockchain, you don’t need to set anything up, and anyone can send crypto to your wallet if they have the address.

You will, of course, need a crypto wallet to receive money as well as a way to sell it for paper money. You can set one up easily at Coinbase, which you can also use to sell crypto on their exchange.

Profile Photo for Anthony Heddings Anthony Heddings
Anthony Heddings is the resident cloud engineer for LifeSavvy Media, a technical writer, programmer, and an expert at Amazon's AWS platform. He's written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and CloudSavvy IT that have been read millions of times.
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