Give can be used to power multiple sites at once, all while keeping donor information, payment gateway information, and payment histories separate. This article will show you why, how, and what to look out for.

What is WordPress Multisite?

WordPress Multisite is a powerful way to create a group of related sites. A highly successful example of a network powered by WordPress Multisite is WordPress.com, which is the Automattic-owned platform that allows users to create their own blogs. It’s a managed environment where end users can’t use third-party code like plugins; Automattic owns and controls the environment.

In 2010, with the introduction of version 3.0 of WordPress, Multisite support was added. This allows a site administrator to create their very own network of WordPress sites, and have the same level of control over it that Automattic has over the WordPress.com ecosystem.

The ability to create a multisite presents an awesome opportunity for site administrators to create networks of sites designed to handle donations. Done correctly, it takes “Democratizing Generosity” to a whole new level. But first, some caveats.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Give on Multisite.

Before you get started making a multisite network, it’s helpful to highlight some use-cases where multisite with Give is not a good fit:

  • Are you trying to raise money for one organization with multiple causes (but going into the same bank/payment gateway account)? This is not a suitable use of Multisite. Instead simply use different forms for each cause.
  • Are you trying to have the same donation form on multiple sites? Multisite is not meant for duplicate content and duplicate content is frowned on by Uncle Google.
  • Are you trying to create different categories of giving to the same organization? Instead of multisite, consider our Give Categories and Tags feature.

Why Use Multisite with Give?

If instead you want to create a network of related sites, all with Give’s power under the hood, multisite could be a winner for you.

Here’s a hypothetical case study to illustrate:

You want to provide a service for all chapters of a loosely-affiliated nationwide charity to create donation sites. The charities functionally run as separate entities, with separate bank accounts, processes, and structure, but generally fall under the same umbrella. This is a perfect situation for a Give-enhanced multisite network.

For the chapter in Pittsburgh, the accountant prefers to use Stripe, the marketer is all-in on MailChimp, and the web developer has a special place in her heart for Zapier and connecting things that happen on the website to as many other things as possible.

However, the chapter in Atlanta has used ConvertKit for email marketing for years and has an PayPal Pro account for processing payments.

Finally, the Sacramento chapter uses Authorize.net for payments, Constant Contact for email marketing, and has no budget room for a web specialist.

Armed with a Pro Bundle of Give Add-ons, you can set up your multisite environment to allow each of these folks to have a site and donation flow precisely fit to their needs.

Note: If you use premium add-ons on your Give multisite, our licenses cover support and updates based on domains, not on networks, so if there are 5 sites on your network, you need a five-site license for Give Add-ons.

Another helpful resource if you are not familiar with Multisite and the differences between it and a normal WordPress install is this Codex article.

Using Give Effectively on Multisite Networks

Once you’ve got the network set up, as a super-admin (the role of a user who can control all of the sites on the network) we recommend Network activating the core Give plugin. This causes the standard Give interface to show up on each individual site’s dashboard. From there, you can upload all of the add-ons that you wish to be used anywhere on the site.
multisite_site_plugins

Then, on each individual site, as a super-admin you have the ability to pick and activate the Add-ons that are specific to each individual site. To do that, refer to your premium add-on bundle and begin installing and activating the add-ons you’ll need anywhere on the network.

That way, individual site admins like our marketer in Pittsburgh who wants MailChimp functionality aren’t bothered by other unused interfaces (like a ConvertKit add-on in his case) cluttering up their experience.

multisite_network_plugins

This puts you in control of everything a site admin is allowed to do, drastically reducing the midnight calls because something on the site broke when they uploaded a plugin. They aren’t allowed to do that!

Side Note: if you are looking to give individual admins more control without making them super-admins, check out this helpful plugin called Reveal Network Activated Plugins to give super-admins the ability to let individual site admins control which Give add-ons are able to be activated and deactivated, per site.

Give Empowers Your Nonprofit

This combination of Give and a Multisite network makes for a powerful way for large networks like Goodwill, Boys and Girls Club, or your charity network to manage a network of sites without the additional administrative weight of a web expert to set up individual sites. It’s a perfect match.

With this knowledge, you’re now free to power your very own network of charity sites, church sites, or any other group of sites where you want to raise funds!

Ben Meredith

Ben Meredith is our Senior Support Technician at Give. He's also the founder of The WP Steward and the author of the popular Better Click To Tweet Plugin

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