The new Give WordPress plugin launched this week on WordPress.org. As far as donation plugins go, this one is making a big splash with its 0% commission charge approach. Any site using the plugin can collect 100% of the donations given, as opposed to online donation sites that generally keep a portion of funds raised.
Give aims to “Democratize Generosity,” a nod to the mission of WordPress. The plugin was created to empower causes and non-profits with the ability to host their own donation forms, easily manage reporting and customize emails directly within the WordPress admin.
Give supports the creation of flexible forms, so that you can accept payments of different amounts or allow users to set a custom amount. Developers can also easily add custom form fields.
The plugin is built by the folks behind WordImpress. Co-founder Matt Cromwell said that they naturally fell into the donations niche after many frustrating experiences supporting non-profits without donation-specific tools.
“Devin and I both worked with non-profits before WordImpress and struggled with donations every time,” Cromwell said. “One client we still serve manages donations with a mess of WooCommerce/Donation Extensions/Subscription Extension/QuickCheckout. Small bugs in one make the whole thing break down. Plus, you don’t get good reporting on total donations, or donations per donor, and you have to tweak the language strings everywhere.”
Despite a plethora of donation plugins on WordPress.org and donation features integrated into some of the major e-commerce options, the Give team saw an opportunity for a more solid, streamlined approach for collecting and managing donations.
“We felt like this was a space that really needed a robust – but best practices – solution, and Woo and EDD and GForms were just not made for this purpose,” Cromwell said.
Adopting the Freemium Model: Free Core Plugin + Commercial Extensions
The team behind Give hopes to monetize the plugin by selling add-ons, the same model used successfully by Easy Digital Downloads, WooCommerce, and other products. Creating a free core product with commercial extensions is becoming an increasingly more popular way of making a business out of developing open source software.
The core plugin currently supports offline payments and the PayPal Standard payment gateway. Commercial add-ons are available for others, including Stripe, WePay, Authorize.net, Paymill, and PayPal Pro. Offline payments can be useful for sites that are taking registration at events or for people who would prefer to mail a check.
The Give plugin actually borrows a good deal of its code base from Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) and its gateways, which gave the team a bit of a head start. Trimming it down and writing donation-specific code for the core and gateways was the bulk of the effort.
“All together, development of the core plugin, current add-ons, and the website has taken Devin and I roughly 6 months,” Cromwell said. “Of course that’s while maintaining our current sales and support of our existing products and initiating a few other new avenues we’re headed into (specifically themes).”
The Give plugin team plans to create themes for non-profits that will work seamlessly with the Give plugin. “Themes are a great market, but we want to make sure we do it right, so we’re taking our time there,” he said.
Cromwell reports that sales for the add-ons have been slow so far, and WordPress.org shows less than 10 active installations using the plugin. The team is hopeful that the core plugin will gain more users and that in the future they will be able to transition Give development and support into more of a full-time effort.
“We believe it will take off well,” Cromwell said. “We think of our business as setting up ‘tent poles’. For WordImpress, QuickCheckout has been our best tent pole. But now we’re hoping that Give will become the biggest tent pole that helps raise all others. It’s another piece of our brand that we’re really proud of.”
The team behind Give partnered with Girl Develop It to support women interested in learning how to code. If you want to see how the plugin works, check out the live demo built to support their partnership. There you can see different variations of the forms and custom form fields in action. Give is available for download on both WordPress.org and GitHub.