Skip to content

How to Set up Recurring Donations

Written by

Last editedMar 20232 min read

Acquiring new donors is an expensive business, and once recruited they’re likely to donate only once. For this reason, converting donors into repeat givers is certain to have a positive impact on your nonprofit fundraising efforts. A good way to do this is to encourage new supporters to make recurring donations by offering this as an option at the time of donation.

It’s essential to make it quick and easy for donors to set up recurring donations by ensuring your systems for receiving and processing donations are up to scratch.

In this post, we’ll look at how to set up recurring donations online in PayPal, WordPress, Shopify and Salesforce.

How to set up recurring donations in PayPal

PayPal is a popular option for many organisations to collect recurring payments, including nonprofits, since it’s known for its high levels of security.

To set up recurring donations you need a nonprofit PayPal account. Then, you need to:

  1. Enter information about your nonprofit business including contact details and your tax ID.

  2. Get a code for a donation button to embed in your page. You can use this to provide the option for a one-time or recurring payment.

How to collect Direct Debit payments with GoCardless


Create your free GoCardless account, access your user-friendly payments dashboard & connect your accounting software (if you use one).


Easily set up & schedule Direct Debit payments via payment pages on your website checkout or secure payment links.


From now on you'll get paid on time, every time, as GoCardless automatically collects payment on the scheduled date. Simple.

Get started in minutesLearn more

Set up WordPress recurring donations

If your WordPress website already accepts online donations, it’s easy to create a recurring donations feature using ‘Formidable Forms’. You’ll also need to make sure you’re connected to a payment gateway.

Use the following steps to set up WordPress recurring donations:

  1. Start by creating a donation form from the WordPress dashboard using a charity-themed template – or if you prefer you can start from scratch.

  2. Once you’ve made your form, you need to add an option to accept donations via your payment gateway, for example, GoCardless. Go to settings, then to ‘Actions and Notifications’ and select your gateway. Enter the email that’s associated with your account.

  3. Adjust your recurring donations settings by selecting ‘Subscription’ in the ‘Payment Type’ field.

  4. The ‘Repeat Every’ label allows you to select the interval at which donations will be charged, for example monthly.

  5. Finish by setting your currency, return URL and Cancel URL.

Shopify recurring donations

Shopify can be a good payment solution for charities. It allows you to embed fundraising functionality without having to direct donors to another platform. The recurring donations app for Shopify incurs a monthly fee, plus a transaction fee per donation, with donors having the option to contribute once, or on a recurring basis. The Shopify recurring donations app uses Stripe as a payment gateway to streamline checkout.

How to set up Salesforce recurring donations

Salesforce allows you to set up open-ended recurring donations which continue into the future with no end date, or fixed-length recurring donations, which take donations at regular intervals over a defined period of time. It’s also easy to update recurring donations, and pause or close them. To set this up:

  1. Head to the ‘Recurring Donations’ tab and click New.

  2. Enter the contact details of the donor and the amount they want to pay, as well as whether it’s an open or closed recurring donation.

  3. Add payment method and recurring period, and when the payment will start and click Save. Then, you’re all set up.

Recurring donations are the future of fundraising and provide a sustainable way for nonprofits to guarantee a regular stream of income. There are quite a few platforms that allow you to set up recurring donations – it’s just a question of finding the one that suits your requirements and budget.

We can help

GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

Get StartedLearn More
Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help
Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Contact sales

Try a better way to collect payments, with GoCardless. It's free to get started.

Try a better way to collect payments

Learn moreSign up