PDF Receipts allows you to automate the creation of PDFs for your donor’s personal financial records. This can be made available to them through the donation confirmation email and on you website’s donation history page. This documentation walks you through how to configure the plugin to make PDF receipts available to your donors.

Installation and Activation

The first step to implementing PDF Receipts with Give is to download and install the PDF Receipts Add-on. You’ll also need to activate your PDF Receipts license in order to get one-click updates and access to our Priority Support.

PDF Receipts Settings

Now that you have the plugin installed and activated it’s time to configure it. To access the main Add-on settings you will navigate to WP-Admin > Donations > Settings > PDF Receipts:

The PDF Receipts Settings Page
The PDF Receipts Settings Page

PDF Generation Methods

There are two ways to generate PDFs within the Add-on. The first method called Set PDF Templates generates the PDFs using preconfigured templates and the data you input in the settings screen. The second method is the Custom PDF Builder which provides more flexibility to customize the PDF contents and look and feel. Note: the Custom PDF Builder generation method is included in version 2.0+

Custom PDF Builder Overview

The custom PDF builder generates receipts on the fly using your HTML markup and content within the “PDF Builder” tinyMCE editor. There are several templates provided out of the box that you can customize and save. The editor allows you to customize the images, contents, and markup with flexibility.

To enable Custom PDFs:

  1. Set the Generation Method to Custom PDF Builder – you should now see different fields appear below the dropdown.
  2. Choose the Receipt Template that is to your liking and provide it a custom Template Name so your changes will be saved.
  3. Customize the template to your liking by customizing the text within the PDF Builder TinyMCE WYSIWYG:
Building a Custom PDF Receipt
Building a Custom PDF Receipt

Available Templates to Customize

There are several templates available for you to customize. If you’re savvy with HTML+CSS you can also create or add your own templates.

Available Template Tags

Similar to Give’s email tags, the PDF template tags allow you to insert donation data within your PDFs. Simply add the tag where you need it to display. Here are the tags available:

Included template tags:

{donation_name}: The name of completed donation form
{first_name}: The donor’s first name
{full_name}: The donor’s full name, first and last
{username}: The donor’s user name on the site, if they registered an account
{user_email}: The donor’s email address
{billing_address}: The donor’s billing address
{date}: The date of the donation
{price}: The total price of the donation
{payment_id}: The unique ID number for this donation
{receipt_id}: The unique ID number for this donation receipt
{payment_method}: The method of payment used for this donation
{sitename}: Your site name
{receipt_link}: Adds a link so users can view their receipt directly on your website if they are unable to view it in the browser correctly
{transaction_id}: The donation transaction ID
{transaction_key}: The donation transaction key
{payment_status}: Status of the donation

Working with TinyMCE

TinyMCE is the name of the editor included within WordPress that is used to customize the contents of the Custom PDF templates. When working with the TinyMCE editor and PDF Receipts:

  1. Be careful highlighting large amounts of text and deleting them. This can cause markup to unintentionally be removed. It’s easier to select just the word you need or use the delete/backspace key to remove unwanted characters.
  2. Switching between the “Text” and “Visual” editor may strip content/html/css as well unintentionally
  3. Remember to save your changes regularly
  4. If you make a mistake you can reset your template using the template selection dropdown above the editor

Custom PDF Creation

With the “Create new” option found in the “Receipt Template” select you have the ability to create custom HTML templates to suit your organization or brand needs.


When you are creating “Custom” PDFs from your own HTML we highly recommend:

  1. Avoid using highly complex table layouts found in many custom newsletter layouts. This can cause the PDF generation to take a long time or not render at all. This is a known limitation of DOMPDF, the PDF generation library using in Give PDF Receipts.
  2. DOMPDF is not particularly tolerant to poorly-formed HTML input.  We recommend you run your HTML through a HTML validator/cleaner (such as Tidy or the W3C Markup Validation Service).
  3. CSS Float is a known issue with DOMPDF and may not produce the desired results
  4. Large amounts of HTML and/or markup can cause PDF to take a bit to render. Try increasing your WordPress memory limit to help prevent timeouts.

Set PDF Templates

The Set PDF Templates is less flexible in customization capabilities but does provide good functionality preconfigured receipts. The following will overview each option displayed when the Generation Method is set to Set PDF Templates:

Receipt Template — The PDF Receipts come with 12 different default templates to choose from. See the section below called “Templates” for previews of each of them.

Characters not displaying correctly? — Occasionally the Open Sans font might cause trouble with special characters. If you are having trouble like that, enable this setting and it should be resolved right away.

Logo Upload — You can add an image or Logo to your PDF Receipts by uploading that here. This uses the standard WordPress media uploader so you can also simply select and image that you have already uploaded as well.

Company Name — This is where you can add the name of your Company.

Name — This is where you can add your name.

Address Fields — These are for your organizations mailing address

Header Message — If you insert text here, it will appear at the very top of the PDF Receipt, above the logo.

Footer Message — If you insert text here, it will appear at the very bottom of the page, below everything else.

Additional Notes — If you add text here, it will appear directly below the Donation details table. There are several useful “shortcodes” you can use to enter dynamic information:

  • {page} – Page Number
  • {sitename} – Site Name
  • {today} – Date of Receipt Generation
  • {date} – Receipt Date
  • {receipt_id} – Receipt ID

Set PDF Templates

Templates give your PDF Receipts a unique and attractive look and feel. Below are previews of what each template looks like.

Adding a Link in your Donor Emails

If you want to make the PDF available to your donors in the confirmation email, you’ll need to do one additional step.

1) Go to WP-Admin > Donations > Settings and then go to the Emails tab.

2) Scroll down the page until you get the section titled “Donation Receipt”. There you’ll see your email message that is sent to the donor upon a successful donation. Directly below the textarea you’ll see a list of shortcodes which you can use to add dynamic information. Now that you have PDF Receipts activated you’ll also see a shortcode called `{pdf_receipt}`

3) Add `{pdf_receipt}` anywhere in that email, and a unique link to the download will be populated in the email automatically.

NOTE: A user account is NOT required for donors to be able to access the PDF download. The PDF is generated automatically based on their unique link. This means that PDF’s are not created until requested, which is a good use of server resources

How Donors Access PDF Receipts

After the plugin has been configured donors will have access download a PDF copy of their donation in two places: (1) The Donation Confirmation page; and (2) The Donation History page.

Give Donation Confirmation page with Downloadable Receipt
Give Donation Confirmation page with Downloadable Receipt
Give Donation History page with Downloadable Receipt
Give Donation History page with Downloadable Receipt

Supporting Your Donors with Receipts

Of course, with any system, occasionally a donor will say they didn’t get an email, or they lost their credentials to your website. Here’s a few scenarios which you might be faced with and how to address them.

1. “I lost the confirmation email, and I don’t have an account for your website. Can you just email me the PDF?”

resend-receiptYes, you can do that for them. But you can also simply resend the confirmation email to them which has the link to the PDF (if you followed the instructions in the “Adding a Link in your Donor Emails” section).

Simply go to “Donations > Transactions”, then find the transaction of that specific donor by searching for their email address. Once you find the correct transaction, click on the “View Donation Details” link in the far right column.

Now look in the right-hand column, in the “Update Donation” section, click on the “Resend Receipt” button. Now you’re done!

Note that this button only appears for Completed donations. It will not appear until a Confirmation Email has been sent.

An even easier way to do the same would be to find that transaction, hover over the email address field (far left) and you’ll see three links appear: “Resend Receipt”, “Delete”, and “Download Receipt”. Here’s what they do:

  • Resend Receipt — Will resend the receipt to the donor to the email address associated with that transaction immediately.
  • Delete — This will delete the transaction. It will ask for confirmation before actually deleting it.
  • Download Receipt — This will download the PDF of the transaction. This is useful if the donor didn’t provide an email address, or if they don’t have an account and their email changed. Now you can download it and email it to them personally.


2. “I have an account, but I can’t access it. Please just email me the receipt.”

Again, yes, you can do that by following the step in #1 above. But it’s better to provide your donors a way to interact with your site and get familiar with it. This is a simple task that WordPress makes fairly easy to do. Simply ask them to go to your login page, and click the link below the fields that says “Forgot password?” This will send them an email that allows them to reset their password and access their account.

Next, ask them to go to your designated Donation History page. There, they will be able to download all of their receipts from their entire donation history.