How to create a great PayPal donate link ⋆ Hands-On Fundraising


Why are my donors receiving an error when they try to donate?

There are some countries that are unable to receive money or payments through Paypal. If there is an error both the sender and the recipient should check with Paypal or their bank. If the streamer has other donation methods enabled, you can also attempt to donate using an alternate payment option.

If someone has changed your PayPal email on your Streamlabs account they have either logged in using your Twitch/YouTube/Mixer/Facebook account or have administrator access on your account. You should check under shared access to see if you have allowed administrator access to anyone. If you believe your account has been compromised, this means that someone has gained access to your platform account (Twitch/YouTube/Mixer/Facebook). 

To correct this you should: 

1. Log in and link the correct PayPal email to your Streamlabs account in donation settings.

2. Change your Twitch/YouTube/Mixer/Facebook password and enable two-factor authentication (if available).

3. Contact PayPal as soon as possible as we cannot make any changes to the donations that were sent to the incorrect PayPal account. Streamlabs does not have access to your PayPal account as a third-party developer.


Donate With PayPal in eCommerce Solutions

If you’re using an eCommerce solution such as WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads, you might want to also check out these following plugins as they can help integrate donations into your checkout process.

And while this is outside of the checkout process, we always recommend taking a look at the GiveWP plugin. It has a PayPal Pro add-on.

If you prefer Stripe over PayPal you can take a look at our another guide on the topic: How to Add a Stripe Donate Button in WordPress


Subscriptions vs. Recurring Donations

One limitation with PayPal is that subscription links are not actually the same as recurring donations. Even though a nonprofit can technically use a subscription link, these links are actually for products and services for for-profit entities. In fact, one of the biggest complaints from nonprofits is that PayPal does not have a mobile-friendly, recurring donation option.

Creating a PayPal Donate Link

A PayPal donate link is a URL that, when clicked, takes prospective donors directly to your PayPal checkout page. This URL doesn’t require the donor to visit a website or click a donate button. Additionally, PayPal donate links are versatile, as they can be shared on social media channels, in emails, as well as on websites.

There are a few different ways to create a PayPal donate link, so let’s explore each.

The PayPal user agreement on donations

PayPal’s user agreement does its best to prevent chargebacks through PayPal itself. When viewers file for a purchase protection claim and say they didn’t receive what was promised after completing the transaction, PayPal sees it as a donation and it doesn’t qualify. 

The seller protection doesn’t protect streamers, however, and leaves them out in the open if a viewer claims the purchase was an unauthorized transaction. Unauthorized transactions usually involve minors making payments without approval or blatant credit card fraud. While it’s a must-have to protect people from the worst, it’s easily abusable in the hands of some viewers.

Creating the Button

When you click the link to create a donate button, it will take you to the page where the magic happens. You should note, however, that Paypal will not prompt you to log in. Repeat: Paypal will not be prompt you to log in. You will be able to toward the end of the process, but don’t stress about it at this point–nothing has gone wrong.

Step 1

The first thing you’ll do to create the Paypal donate button is actually make it a “donate” button. The default setting is “Shopping Cart,” but if you click the dropdown in the upper left of Step 1, you can change it to “Donations.” Like I said, pretty straightforward, huh?

With that set, you will enter your website or organizational information for the donate button. Since your fictional fundraiser is through your website to adopt an adorable puppy, you’ll fill it out with the name of your website and the optional ID you’ll use to track each donation.

After you put in your info, you get to start customizing your button. For the most part, there’s not a lot you will want to change. It’s all pretty basic stuff such as selecting which country and language the button will use, the size, and whether or not you will display credit card logos. All of these choices are based on how you intend on integrating the button on your site.

You can also use an image hosted on your own website as a button if, let’s say, you have a graphic designer make an awesome animated gif of an adorable puppy for people to click on. Today, however, we do not.

You just have to pick your currency type, whether or not you want to specify a specific donation amount, and which email you want the donations sent to.

This is where you should log in if you have a Paypal account. If not, create one so that you are covered by PayPal’s various protections. (If you choose not to use a Paypal account, just enter your email, and you will still be able to receive donations via Paypal without any of the added security.)

Once you login, you should see this:

Which option you use is up to you, but using the merchant code offers a bit more protection since your email address will not be included in the button code itself. The fewer places spammers and phishers can get your email, the better, right?

You are almost ready to put your Paypal donate button into WordPress!

Optional Steps 2 and 3

If you have a Paypal Business account, you can do quite a bit more in terms of tracking, inventory management, and checkout customization, but since we’re dealing with donations, most of the options aren’t relevant to us.

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