People like to give because they feel good when they contribute to something positive. For the same reason, people also like to receive. Knowing we are appreciated is a good feeling. Providing donor gifts to acknowledge generosity is a wonderful combination of both.

Why Should You Consider Donor Gifts?

We live in a time where everyone expects something – a gift with purchase, a free trial in the mail, or a buy-one-get-one promotion. We grew up looking for the plastic toy in our cereal box, the prize in our Cracker Jack, or watching for a sale where jeans were in a two-for-one special. Why do companies give so much away? Because incentives work to increase sales. They work to inspire donations, too.

Back in the day of telethons, infomercials, and mail-in responders (hopefully with a check enclosed), it was common practice to thank donors with gifts. Organizations hoped that tote bags, CDs, and stuffed animals would be incentive enough for someone to write a check, put it in the envelope, stamp it and mail it.

Once the donation was received someone would have to process it and then fulfill the gift order. The cost of the gift (and shipping) decreased the value of the donation. The end result was (and is) that giving physical donor gifts is an administrative nightmare, and the cost associated with doing them impacts the bottom line.

Today’s online platforms make receiving donations so much simpler. Online donation processing also makes it easy to give digital downloads as donor gifts at an extremely low cost. The price associated with digital gifts is only the cost of producing the download.

Supplying the download and making it available following a donation is free. When you set up your donor gifts correctly, your donors will receive their email receipt with a link to download their gift from your site. In this article, we’ll walk through this easy process using Give.

Give WordPress donation form with a donor gift incentive, downloadable book titled, "25 Ways to Build Your Business Today"
A simple donor gift is a PDF download for all levels of giving.

Follow these steps to set up easy digital donor gifts:

  1. Prepare your digital gift in advance. This can be a downloadable PDF (think: ebook, white paper, report, printable poster, etc.), audio file, image, etc. Be sure also to prepare a thumbnail image to use for the gift link. Images are far more appealing than a simple text link.
  2. Upload both the digital gift and the thumbnail image to your media library as you would an image. (Note: If your file is too big to upload through WordPress, you may need to add it via FTP.)

    media library on WordPress website with 4 uploads shown. A PDF file is in the middle.
    Upload your PDF, audio, and video files to your media library in the same way you add photos.
  3. Create a New Page in WordPress. This will be the page where your donors will download the digital file. On this page:
    1. Write a great gratitude statement thanking your donor for their generosity.
    2. Give some instruction on how to download the file (i.e., “Click the image below to download your e-book.”).
    3. Insert the thumbnail image.
    4. Hyperlink the thumbnail image to the digital download.
    5. Style the page however you’d like it to look. (Note: You do not want this page to be indexed for SEO, as this page should only be accessible to those who have donated through your Give form.)
    6. You can password protect the page, if you would like to, using WordPress’s visibility setting (found in the Publish block of the page editor).
  4. Style the receipt and add the download link.
    1. Open the donation form to attach the gift to. Then click the “Email Notifications” tab on the left-hand side, followed by “Donation Receipt.”
    2. Add gratitude text to the receipt and then click “add media” to add the thumbnail image. If you have password protected the gift page, make sure to include that password here.
    3. Link the thumbnail image to the new gift page you created in step 3.

This will create a donor gift attached to a specific donation form for any level of giving on that form.

Use a Plugin to Attach the Download to the Donation Receipt

An alternative method is to use the Give Receipts Attachment Plugin to quickly and easily add a download link to your receipt.

  1. Add (and activate) the plugin on your WordPress site. You can download the plugin from WordPress.org or find it through the “Add New Plugin” feature on your site.
  2. Open your donation form.
  3. Click on the “Receipt Attachments” tab.
    1. Upload the file to attach.
    2. Set a minimum donation (or leave blank for no minimum).
    3. Create a Donation Confirmation Title.
    4. Set your Donation Link Text.
    5. Check “Show Download on Receipt Page” to toggle this feature on or off.
  4. Click “update” to save your form.

receipt attachments tab on Give Donation form dashboard

Want to Give Gifts for Different Levels of Giving?

To create different gifts for different levels of giving, repeat the steps above for different Give forms, setting donation limits for each form. You will have to create different donor gift pages for each form.

You can then use the Give Donation Form Grid to highlight different gifts to inspire greater giving.

Donor Gifts Aren’t Restricted to Downloads

Your donor gifts don’t have to be in the form of downloads. Consider these alternatives. Instead of preparing a download, you would place any of the following on your Donor Gift Page.

  • A video (might be instructional, music, or a performance of some kind).
  • Donor added to monthly email (newsletter, online community, report, etc.) with welcome text on the Donor Gift Page.
  • A discount coupon code for your organization’s online store.
  • Partner up with an online business for your donors to receive a coupon to spend in their online store.
  • Offer donors access to an exclusive webinar.
  • Give a service or consultation session.
Donation form showing various gifts for different levels of giving.
Donor gifts can also be services. This was Emrah’s donor gift incentive to go to Oxford (Read the Story Here).

Market it!

Donor Gifts aren’t useful unless your donor base knows they exist. Some ideas to incentivize donors include:

  • Tell potential donors about the gift in your monthly newsletter.
  • Put an announcement on your organization’s homepage.
  • Post about it in your social media channels.
  • Talk about it in your annual appeal letter.

Ready to take your form to the next level?

  • Add Recurring Giving to allow your donors to give on a regular basis without having to remember to visit your site.
  • Use Fee Recovery so that your donors can opt to cover your payment gateway transaction fees.
  • Use a Give email add-on (for MailChimp, Constant Contact, or AWeber) for donors to opt in for your newsletter.

Tell Us Your Donor Gift Story

We want to hear about how you use digital donor gifts to thank your contributors. Consider submitting a Case Study using our Give Stories submission form, share your story in our Give Facebook Community, or comment below.

Michelle Ames

Michelle Ames is the Head of Customer Success at Give. She is the founding organizer of WordCamp Rochester, co-organizer of WordCamp Buffalo, and coordinator for the WordPress Rochester Meetups. Michelle enjoys photography and travel - and especially loves doing both together.

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