If you run a nonprofit, you probably know that having a clean, well-designed website is incredibly important. Not only will a website allow you to share your mission with the broader community, but it is also a good way to raise much-needed funds to support your work. Of course, in order to accept donations or sell products, you will need some type of software.
WooCommerce is a great option for nonprofits with WordPress sites. It is free to use, with the option to add both free and paid extensions. Once it is set up, you can use WooCommerce to sell products, accept donations, sell event tickets, set up recurring donations, and more. It is an effective, low-cost platform that is easy to use and highly customizable to meet your organization’s needs.
At Inclind, we are proud to partner with nonprofits throughout the United States to help them design and develop nonprofit websites to meet their needs. We offer a full range of services, including Drupal and WordPress website development, accessibility audits, and custom integrations. Reach out to talk to one of our experts about how we can help your nonprofit thrive.
What Is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is a leading e-commerce platform. Designed for WordPress websites, it is an open-source flexible software. Many websites use WooCommerce to create online e-commerce shops.
With WooCommerce, anyone can turn their WordPress site into an online store, complete with features such as:
- Product management, which allows you to sort products by types and categories, add specific attributes like size and color, and offer discounts and promos.
- Shopping rules to set up the process by which customers can make purchases.
- Order management, which allows the website owner to monitor all orders sent over their website and add offline orders.
- Sales reports, which can be expanded through the use of extensions.
- Flexible payments, including digital payments, payment through gateways like Paypal and Stripe, bank transfers, and even cash on delivery.
One of the best features of WooCommerce is its easy use. Even if you aren’t adept at coding or very tech-savvy, this software solution can easily be integrated and managed on a WordPress site. It is also mobile-friendly, fully customizable, and offers both free and paid extensions. WooCommerce also has robust security and allows you to sell any type of product or service.
While WooCommerce is best known for setting up online stores, it can also be used for nonprofit websites - even if you don’t plan to sell anything. Below, we break down how you can use WooCommerce to increase donations to support your mission and more.
Can I Use WooCommerce on My Nonprofit Website?
Nonprofit organizations may not realize that WooCommerce isn’t just for online sales. It can also be used for donations. Because it’s free or relatively low cost to use, with no hidden charges or monthly fees, it is often a more cost-effective solution for nonprofits. The only thing you will pay for is any paid extensions or plug-ins you may decide are necessary.
WooCommerce is designed to work with WordPress websites. If your nonprofit has a WordPress site, it’s smart to consider using WooCommerce to handle any e-commerce and donations.
If you plan to sell anything on your website, such as t-shirts, then you will need some type of system to handle those sales. A plug-in like WooCommerce can make it easy for users to peruse available products, choose a product, and purchase it. WooCommerce also makes managing tools, pricing, shipping, and more simple for your organization.
WooCommerce goes beyond selling merchandise, however. You can also use it to host and run events, set up email automation, and accept donations. You can also set up options for recurring donations or subscriptions, complete with automated renewal notifications. The donation process can also be streamlined to reduce the likelihood of donors being turned off by a clunky, multi-step process.
One plugin for WooCommerce that many nonprofits take advantage of is the “Name Your Price” plugin. Selling merchandise can be complicated from a tax perspective. If your organization doesn’t want to deal with the accounting headache of selling goods, you can use this plugin to suggest a donation, and then let supporters choose how much they want to donate. In this way, it is more clear that you are asking for donations for goods instead of selling them - which can make for less complex tax issues.
This same plugin can be used for donations. While there is merit in offering specific donation amounts (like $25, $50, or $100), many people want to choose exactly how much they donate. The Name Your Price plugin is a perfect way to make an open-ended donation request and allow donors to decide how much to donate.
Another cool possibility with WooCommerce is the ability to suggest a donation during check-out or a product during a donation with a plugin like Donation for WooCommerce. When a person buys a product, you can add a prompt asking them if they’d like to donate. Similarly, if they’re making a donation, recommended products can pop up at checkout. This can be an easy way to make more sales or garner more donations.
If your nonprofit uses a WordPress site and wants to sell products and/or solicit donations, WooCommerce is a great choice for an e-commerce plug-in. The base software is free and can easily be customized with paid and free donations. It also has a lot of great options that can help your nonprofit bring in even more funding to support its critical work.
Best Practices for Using WooCommerce for Your Nonprofit Site
If you decide to use WooCommerce for your nonprofit website, then there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you are getting the most out of the software. First, you should think about ways to encourage and accept donations and implement your ideas via WooCommerce’s tools.
Make Taxes Easier With A Name Your Price System
As an initial matter, if you do sell products - but want to avoid tax hassles - then you can install the Name Your Price plugin. In this way, you can potentially receive far bigger donations for your goods than you would have if you set a price. It also makes it easier to characterize these sales as donations.
Even if you don’t sell products, however, you can set up an e-commerce storefront related to your organization's work. Donors can then “purchase” virtual products (that will never ship to them) based on a set price or by naming their own price.
For example, Heifer International is well known for its gift catalog where supporters can buy something like a goat or a share of a goat. When someone buys a goat, they aren’t actually purchasing livestock. Instead, they are making a donation to support Heifer International’s work. The goat is just a virtual representation of what their donation can buy.
Make Donation Buttons Prominent Throughout The Site
For donations, nonprofits should ensure that every page has a donation button. Depending on the content, some pages may even have more than one donate button. Adding these buttons makes it as easy as possible for supporters to donate to your nonprofit. Remember: you don’t want users to have to search for a way to donate (which may lead to them deciding not to donate). Adding donation buttons to the home page, sidebar, and other pages - like the checkout page - can boost donations.
Create Engaging Content
Beyond donation buttons and features, you should also create engaging content to encourage people to visit your site and make donations. This may include blog posts, social media posts, and e-newsletters. Having other forms of media on your site - like photos and videos - can also be a great way to attract visitors and encourage donations, especially if they include a direct link to your donation page.
Make Sure Your Site Is Accessible
You should also spend some time ensuring that your website is accessible. Accessibility isn’t just a nice feature - it is actually required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. It also makes practical sense, because you want to be able to reach as many people as possible. Simple changes, like using a high-contrast font, can help to make sure that everyone can interact with your website.
Add Any Necessary Plugins To Supplement WooCommerce
Finally, use extensions smartly to optimize sales and/or donations. WooCommerce has many plug-ins that can be utilized to increase the amount of funding that you raise through your website. For example, WooCommerce Subscriptions allow you to set up recurring donations. Another good option is Charitable, a freedonation plug-in for collecting funds that allows you to create fundraising campaigns. Think about what you’d like to accomplish with your website sales and donations, and check out various plug-ins to reach those goals.
Considering Adding WooCommerce to Your Site? We Can Help.
Plug-ins like WooCommerce are one way that WordPress sites can be customized to meet your organization’s needs. With a range of features, WooCommerce can help you optimize your site to sell more products and/or get more donations. This software is easy to manage and is free or low-cost to install.
At Inclind, we have significant experience working with nonprofit organizations. We understand that nonprofits require different elements on their websites, such as integrations for donations, events, products, and more. Our award-winning website designers and developers will work with you to create a website for your nonprofit that not only spreads the word about your work, but that helps you seek funding to support your mission.
We're available to talk if you’d like to learn more about our web services. You can fill out our online contact form or hit the live chat button to talk to one of our experts about your website.