What Is A Donation Link (And How Do I Create One)?By Eric Bryant,
You'll often hear us talk about "donation links." In fact, when you place your order, the order form asks for your "PayPal email or donation link." What do we mean by this?
A donation link is just a short way of saying: The URL or web page to which you would like us to send your donors in order to complete their donations to you. We do not fund your donations from the donor's mobile phone bill, like some other services (read more on this). As a result, your donors must complete their gifts to you through a separate, online (or mobile) checkout process.
This page that we send your donors to, which is often a mobile-formatted PayPal checkout page, is called a "donation link." "Link" is just another word for "URL" or "web address." So, when we ask for a donation link, we're asking for the web address, web page, or URL where the donor can actually enter her credit or debit card info and send you funds.
Common Donation Links / Payment Processors
PayPal. Perhaps the most common type of donation link that our customers use is PayPal. There are a number of types of PayPal donate links, which we discuss in this post. The great thing about our service is that, if you utilize PayPal, you don't have to know how to create a donation link. Just supply us with the PayPal email address associated with your nonprofit, and we build the entire checkout experience for you.
Another benefit of PayPal is a very low nonprofit rate; PayPal charges 501(c)3 nonprofits only 2.2% + $0.30 for each transaction.
WePay. WePay is very similar to PayPal. The big draw with WePay is that it allows nonprofits to receive donated funds by check. (Most payment processors will only transfer funds digitally to bank accounts.)
Stripe. Stripe has a lot of great features, however their nonprofit rate isn't as low as PayPal's (2.9% + $0.30). For an in-depth comparison of fees for Stripe vs. Paypal, read this.
iATS Payments. iATS works exclusively with nonprofits, so they're able to offer excellent customer service. Fees range from 2.49% to 3.2%, depending upon the type of credit/debit card the donor uses.
Braintree. Braintree's chief differentiator is that it gives donors lots of different options for donating to their charity of choice. For example, Braintree offers Apple Pay, Android Pay, and even Bitcoin options along with the standard credit/debit card option.
There are dozens of competitors in this space now, so it behooves you to do your research. Here are some links to help you comparison shop:
Nonprofit Card Processing Discounts Can Mean Big Savings - This article explores card processors that specifically offer benefits to nonprofits.
Top Payment Processors That Work with Nonprofits - Fundly's top picks for nonprofit merchant services.
Payment Processing: The Beginners Guide - Double The Donation explains key terms relating to payment processing along with a comparison of a few popular services.