Donate To Tate Modern
Creative Commons License photo credit: bixentro

I received a lot of fairly intense comments on my post on How To Build a Donations Page in WordPress, one comment from Dynasty Web made me think, so I’m going to answer two questions here:-

Do you have any suggestions on how to get people to make donations on your site that really works?

I’ll explain two things, later for what works for me, but first what you shouldn’t do.

Ethics of Donation Soliciting – The Big No Nos

What you shouldn’t do straight away is ask for donations on pages with advertising. Yes, I know I’m breaching my own code of ethics here at the moment, but that will be sorted shortly, when I get a special “donations only template”. Furthermore, I do not ask for donations from my daily readers, this is key as I know my readers probably wouldn’t give me money, but it feels wrong to do so, so I don’t.

So looking at your site Dynasty Web, I would strongly advise you not to put on a donation page. You really should be earning enough from all those adverts you have put on your site, if you’re not, you need to question why.

Donations as a Business Model

Donations as a business model does work, but you need to make yourself the best in the businnes, and that’s too tricky. WordPress has managed it, as well as a number of free & open source pieces software, but it’s very very difficult.

Why I ask for Donations

I ask for donations for one reason and for one reason only: to supplement my income & making writing WordPress Plugins worthwhile. I haven’t made a fortune, but I’ve had a few people offer me nominal amount of money for thanking me for making the plugins.

When Should You Ask For Donations

For the work done on the free plugins, the value added to blogs is considerably more than any donation. Even the donations put together. As a result, donations should only be solicited for people you have given inherently more value to the user. Plugins do this. Blog posts don’t.

So if you really want to get donations? Create a plugin seems to be the best way. However, for the work involved, you’re probably better selling it.

Giving away plugins for free does offer value (for example, I’ve been linked to on techradar for WP Email Capture, and here’s a great post on problogger where the writer, Joey Daoud, got 12,000 page views & mainstream media exposure for his free piece of software Typewriter), but that doesn’t always lead to dollars & cents. It’s about looking at the big picture, and helping others.

If they like you enough, and only then, would they consider giving you a donation.


A lot of people know that money is a great leveler, and will often say “I’ll donate if you add this to your software”. I’m not saying that these verbal contracts never come off, but what I will say is be careful. You will have a lot of ideas thrown at you for ways to make your software better (my to do list for WP Email Capture is huge), but some of those aren’t really suitable, or could make the software trickier to use. Stick to your goals, and don’t let money sway you.

Of course, if more than 1 person asks for it, then yes code it, but don’t feel like you have to.

After all, you are not working for donations, you’re working to make things better.


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