PayPal Donate Button vs. Nonprofit Donation Page | Donorbox

You have built a thoughtful nonprofit organization that can help those in your community and field, but you need public support to continue your mission. Fundraising events and campaigns, grants, and sponsors go a long way in making your nonprofit goals a reality. But individual donations are still incredibly important. Not only do they help…

7 minutes read
PayPal Donate Button vs. Nonprofit Donation Page | Donorbox

You have built a thoughtful nonprofit organization that can help those in your community and field, but you need public support to continue your mission.

Fundraising events and campaigns, grants, and sponsors go a long way in making your nonprofit goals a reality. But individual donations are still incredibly important. Not only do they help support your organization and the work that it’s doing, but they also help your community and audience directly participate in your work. With them, you build long-lasting relationships that you’ll need throughout your nonprofit’s lifetime.

There are many options out there including the PayPal donate button and nonprofit donation pages. But how can you tell which is best for you?

Donation Pages vs. PayPal Donate Button

Nonprofit donation page

A nonprofit donation page is a customized page on your site that encourages and allows visitors to make a direct donation to your organization. It allows for both one-time and recurring donations. The page will accept several forms of payment and will keep your visitor on your page. The image above is a good example of a nonprofit fundraising page.

PayPal donate button

A PayPal donate button is a universal button that can be embedded into your website, social media, or digital marketing materials. Users can click on the PayPal donate button and will be redirected to PayPal’s site to complete their payment.

There are options for one-time and recurring donations, but they’re limited. While PayPal accepts other forms of payment methods, it’s more friendly to users with PayPal accounts.

PayPal also has its benefits like the PayPal giving fund that connects donors with charities. Your nonprofit will be able to accept donations by enrolling with this feature on PayPal. But the question remains: how much fundraising flexibility do you get with this button?

8 Reasons Why Nonprofits Choose Donation Page Over PayPal Donation Button

There are several reasons why established nonprofit organizations choose donation pages over the PayPal donate button. PayPal (and its branding) are widely recognizable and trusted. But the donate button can be a jarring shift from your design and organizational brand.

Here are a few important things to keep in mind when deciding which option is best for you:

  1. Customizable forms
  2. Ability to add donation tiers
  3. Enabling flexible recurring donations
  4. Allowing donors to cover processing fees
  5. Receiving funds quickly
  6. Customizing receipts
  7. Maintaining secure transactions
  8. Tracking donor activity

1. Customizable forms

Being able to customize your donation form can go a long way in engaging donors. You can encourage them to give more and also cultivate repeat or recurring donors.

Donation pages provide a wide array of customization options like color, text and language, logo inclusion, and social media buttons. All of these will flow with the overall design of your existing website within the easily embedded donation form. It remains clear who your visitor is donating to, who their funds are helping, and how they can learn more.

Donorbox has several options to help you hype up your campaign and increase giving like goal meters, company matching, tribute donations, donor recognition options, and anonymous donations. The best part is you don’t need to have HTML code knowledge or any other coding skills. If you accept donations using the Donorbox-hosted free fundraising page (like the one below), it is just about selecting a few options and clicking buttons. And if you want to embed the form in your website, it is as simple as copying and pasting the ready-made code. See the example below.

The PayPal donate button doesn’t include any of these custom options. While you can add your organization’s name, and sometimes logo, you must still use the generic, yellow, and/or blue PayPal donate button image on your site.

paypal donation buttons

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2. Donation tiers

Donation tiers are another useful addition to your online fundraising page. They provide tiered suggestions for donation amounts. It guides your audience on how much people commonly give and what different amounts mean to your organization.

paypal donation buttons

At Donorbox, we recognize that your audience is broad and not everyone can give at the same level. You know your audience best, so you can choose the range of suggested donations through our tier system and add custom text to tell people exactly where their money is going and how it is helping. You can also add a section where your visitor can choose how much they want to give, typing in a custom amount of their choice.

The example in the image above perfectly demonstrates how donation tiers should look on a good nonprofit donation page.

The PayPal button unfortunately does not come with donation tiers. Donors must type in the amount they want to give. They’ll have no clear idea of a typical donation amount or its potential impact. This can often lead to reduced donations across the board.

3. Flexible recurring donations

In the same way that not all donors can give the same amount, not everyone can give with the same frequency. You may have people who want to set up a recurring donation. But perhaps, they can only give annually or others who are willing and able to give weekly.

With the PayPal button, you will only get the monthly recurring donation option, which can seriously limit your fundraising.

Fundraising pages offer several recurring donation options, creating further customizable donor options. At Donorbox, for example, a donor can choose to give weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. Muso‘s fundraising page is a great example of flexible recurring donation options.

paypal donation buttons

4. Donors can cover processing fees

All online donations that use safe and reliable third-party processors come with processing fees. This can quickly stack up, especially with larger donations, and can easily reduce an exciting donation.

PayPal charges 2.9% + 30 cents (1.99% + 49 cents for registered nonprofits) and does not offer the option to have your donor cover processing fees.

paypal donation buttons

Donation pages typically have a platform fee in addition to standard transaction rates for credit or debit cards. But they also often offer the option to ask your donor to cover these fees. Donorbox is one of the more affordable options currently available, charging a 1.5% platform fee in addition to standard credit card, ACH, or PayPal transition fees. However, you are given the option to ask donors to cover these fees as part of their donation, potentially giving you 100% of their gift. This small addition to their already generous donation will save you large sums annually. 

5. Receiving funds quickly

PayPal is a quick and simple platform for receiving funds, but it still requires more steps than pages. When a donor gives through the PayPal donation button or makes a donation through the PayPal Giving Fund, the money goes straight into your PayPal account. From there, you must deposit the funds into your bank account.

While donation platforms often use PayPal as a third-party option, they can also use quicker processors. Donorbox works with Stripe, an easy and reliable third-party processor. When a donor gives to your organization, it will process through Stripe and go straight to your bank account. It removes the extra transfer and reduces the amount of time it takes for the funds to clear.

6. Customizable receipts

Emailed donation receipts are another critical way to improve donor relations and market your organization.

PayPal sends automatic tax receipts that carry its branding and can’t be fully customized by your organization. If you want to send a more personalized thank you or additional information to your donors, you’ll have to send an additional email. Not only will this take up more of your time, but it will also spam your donors; it might make them less likely to give in the future.

Fundraising pages frequently offer fully customizable email receipts. Donorbox allows you to edit your fonts, color schemes, and text, as well as adding logos, images, and hyperlinks to your automated emails. Plus Donorbox offers your donors their own login from which they can manage their donations. It also helps you with donor management.

7. Secure transactions

Many people and organizations may choose to go with PayPal because they know that it is secure. It’s been around for a long time and has proven itself to be reliable. But, donation pages are just as safe and maintain secure transactions through credit cards as well as digital wallets because they still use verified third-party processors.

In addition, PayPal will only allow you to use PayPal and cards to make the payment. While pages allow you to use a variety of payment options. This lets your donor give through whichever method is easiest and preferred. Donorbox is compatible with Apple pay, Google Pay, ACH (direct bank transfer), UK Direct Debit, Canadian PADs, iDEAL, credit cards and debit cards, and PayPal.

paypal donate buttonspaypal donation forms

8. Tracking donor activity

Tracking donor activity is an important metric for any nonprofit organization. It will help your fundraising and marketing teams work together to create more effective campaigns. You can reach out to your donors in more personalized ways.

Donorbox is a great donation platform option for tracking this kind of activity. We use Google Analytics and UTM for conversion tracking. It helps you collect key donor information like name, email, and address. In addition, you can customize your donation form with questions to understand how your donor came to your page, how often they visit your organization, and if they prefer mail, email, text, or other forms of communication.

PayPal, on the other hand, only shares your donors’ emails, allowing you to send them a personalized thank you and subscribe them to your newsletter. That’s all!


After reviewing all the pros and cons, you may be wondering if PayPal donate button is right for your nonprofit. The answer is not always simple. But it comes down to your needs and capacity; don’t forget that you can always update your donation button or page down the line.

PayPal is straightforward, well-known, and pretty easy. But, it has a few clear limitations that may keep you from seeing the full breadth of donations that you hope to gather. Donation pages are also easy to set up and don’t come at a much higher cost. In fact, they can even be more economic if you ask your donors to cover associated fees. Plus, the customization, brand possibilities, and payment methods, and amount flexibility will make it easier for your donors to give; while highlighting why they should consider giving more, and more often.

A little more effort on your end will make a more engaging and simpler platform for your donor, leading to a bigger support system for your organization.

These days many nonprofits are preferring Donorbox over PayPal. This blog will tell you why.

Our nonprofit blog offers you plenty of resources, trending topics, and nonprofit management tips. Feel free to check it out!

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