Getting Started With EDD Donations

This brief tutorial will guide you through the initials steps of setting up and customizing EDD Donations for your church website after you’ve already downloaded, installed and activated the plugin (for instructions how to do that please reference our plugin installation tutorial).

This getting started tutorial we will show you how to …

  1. Install the required Easy Digitial Downloads plugin
  2. Consider these optional premium plugin extensions
  3. Customize EDD Donations for your church website
  4. Create your first campaign (fund)
  5. Create an online giving page that includes campaign short code

Install the Required Easy Digital Downloads Plugin

After installing and activating the EDD Donations you will see this notice on your plugins dashboard.

EDD download notice
EDD Donations requires installing the free Easy Digital Downloads plugin

This is because our EDD Donations plugin requires installing the free Easy Digital Downloads plugin (a.k.a. EDD) as a dependency. Begin installing the EDD dependency plugin by clicking on the link in the notice illustrated above. Once the pop-up page for EDD appears click the “Install Now” button as illustrated below.


Installation is pretty straightforward. When complete make sure to activate the EDD plugin. After activation you will be directed to an announcement page illustrated below.

Consider These Optional Premium Plugin Extensions

We highly recommend using the EDD Recurring Payments and EDD Stripe Payment Gateway premium plugins in conjunction with EDD Donations because these premium extensions will give you added features on your donation page that we think are useful for churches. These premium plugins are not free and therefore not required to run EDD Donations.

EDD Recurring Payments allows donors to setup automatic giving (i.e. weekly or monthly giving) from within the payment gateway. Some donors find this an attractive alternative to remembering to bring cash or a check to a regular church service.

EDD Stripe Payment Gateway is our recommended alternative to the default PayPal gateway. We found that Stripe is the easiest to setup and use and Stripe charges fewer fees making it the most popular payment processor on the web for small businesses. There are over 70 different payment processor gateways available on the EDD extensions library, besides Stripe and PayPal, giving you plenty of options to choose from.

Again, these premium plugins are not required to use EDD Donations but highly recommended

Customize EDD Donations Settings For Your Church

campaign-settingsOnce EDD is installed and activated you will be directed to an announcement page by EDD shown in the image above. You will now notice on your dashboard that you have a new menu item titled “Campaigns” which is the menu name for EDD Donations. To access the settings click on “Settings” on the submenu. You will be directed to a settings page with multiple tabs like the image below.

NOTE: EDD and EDD Donations share the same settings page

EDD Donations Settings Home

Instructions for each tab are displayed by their associated tab label. Click on each tab below for more.

During installation, four pages were automatically created and published on your website with the titles “Checkout,” “Purchase Confirmation,” “Transaction Failed,” and “Purchase History.” These are required pages populated with the respective EDD Donations short-code.

We suggest changing the names of the pages to something more donation friendly. For example, change “Checkout” to “Donation Checkout” and “Purchase Confirmation” to “Donation Confirmation.”

NOTE: Changes made to the page titles will automatically reflect in Campaigns > Settings > General.

We also suggest editing your theme’s menu structure to exclude these pages from any menus since they are for processing purposes only. Depending on your theme, these four pages may have been inserted into your homepage menu during installation, which you do not want.

The rest of the settings on this tab are intuitive and will not be explained here in detail.

Paypal is the default payment provider for EDD Donations but you can use others if you like. At we recommend the Stripe payment gateway plugin because it is the easiest to use and Stripe charges fewer fees making it the simplest and most popular payment processor on the web. However, there are over 70 different payment processor gateways available on the EDD extensions library giving you plenty of options to choose from.

To setup the default PayPal payment gateway:

  • Check the box “PayPal Standard”
  • Make sure “PayPal Standard” is selected as the default gateway in the drop-down menu
  • Check all Accepted Payment Method Icons that apply (this simply displays the icons and has no effect on your PayPal settings)
  • Enter your PayPal account email address (Your PayPal account must already be setup)

These settings control what notices are emailed to your donors and church treasurer or secretary when a donation is completed online. The settings are self-explanatory so no further instructions are necessary.

Be sure to take advantage of the customization possibilities by including template tags in your email subject line and body. For example, {name} auto populates the donor’s first name, {price} auto populates the amount of the donation. All available template tags are listed.

NOTE: Take care to word your donation receipt emails in compliance with IRS standards if you intend for donors to treat these notices as acknowledgments of charitable contributions for tax purposes. For example, the IRS requires that church acknowledgements must contain the wording “No goods or services were provided in exchange for your contributions other than intangible religious benefits.” More details about IRS requirements for donations can be found on other websites specializing in that area.

All settings on the “Styles” tab may be left at their default.

As long as you are using this plugin to process donations only, this tab can be ignored since taxes are not paid on donations.

Paste the license code for EDD Donations in the field “EDD Donations License Key” and click “Save Changes.” You will be notified of updates we make to this plugin and apply the updates from within the WordPress dashboard.

For instructions how to obtain your License key form and enabling automatic updates for all your plugins, please read our tutorial on automatic updates.

Check “Redirect to Checkout” so that when donors select an amount they wish to donate, they are immediately guided through the payment process. Since church websites do not feature multiple products that shoppers may choose from, browsing your church website after selecting a donation amount is pointless.

Check “Disable Guest Checkout” so that donors are required to create an account which gives you some very useful information such as their mailing address for tax purposes, a confirmed working email address, and a reliable way to match offline donations to online donations (a future element of this plugin still in development).

Because you are requiring donors to register for an account and login, you must display the links to do so. Select “Registration and Login Form” from the drop-down titled “Show Register / Login Form?”

Lastly, at the very end of the list of settings is a field “Complete Purchase Text.” This is the text on the final processing button. The default is “Purchase” but a more fitting text would be “Donate” or “Donate!” depending on your taste, etc.

All other settings on this tab that we skipped or non-essential to getting your donations page up and running and may be left at default values.

Create Your First Campaign (Fund)

Before EDD Donations can process any donations you must create at least one campaign (a.k.a. “fund”) and then place the campaign short code on a donations page of your choice.

Start by navigating to the Campaigns > Add New as illustrated


Title the campaign appropriate to its purpose and mindful that donors will see this title on the checkout page later. In this example we used “General Fund.”


To incorporate user-defined donation amounts, enable variable pricing and create one pricing option titled “One-time gift.” You can use whatever title you wish one variable pricing option must be provided. Here is a screenshot from the demo.

variable pricing demo

Notice that in the right column you can create fund categories just like blog post categories. One useful application of this feature is to create categorizes for permanent and temporary funds. Permanent funds might include the general fund, building fund, missions fund, etc. Temporary funds might include summer camp fundraiser, teen missions trip, etc.

The remaining options are unnecessary for a basic donations page. You can now publish your campaign to save it.

Create a Giving Page That Includes the Campaign Short Code

After publishing your first campaign, navigate to the “All Campaigns” overview page to see your campaign and the short code associated with it (illustrated). Copy this short code to your clipboard for future placement.


Create a new page that will serve as your donations portal. We suggest a title like “Online Giving” for a church website. Make sure that it is included in your menu structure so that visitors to your site see it on the main navigation menu on your homepage.

Paste the campaign short code into your donations page at an appropriate location. Here is what are demo page looks like from the editor view.


Take this time to personalize the short code as you like. Change the text string from “Purchase” to “Donate” or “Give” and change the style and color, etc. Reference EDD’s tutorial on the purchase_link short code to see available options.

As a final touch, you should place attractive hyperlink buttons that link to your donation page at strategic places on your church website (widgets, float boxes, etc.). Our premium plugin Church Pack Pro features several ways to help you do this.

Congratulations! You have finished setting up your first donations page for your church website! Enable the “test payment mode” in the EDD settings and then use a testing account from your payment processor to walk through the entire checkout process to see what it looks like.