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3 Ways To Make Money Online With Donations

January 9, 2008

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Photography by annia316.

Why To Accept Donations

Maybe Adsense isn’t doing so well for you, or you can never seem to make enough with your affiliate sales. It might be time that you could start asking nicely for donations.

First of all, you might be wondering why anyone would want to give you something for free, and why you should even bother with trying. If you’re working hard on your site or blog, then someone out there might be compelled to help you out or reward you for that hard work. If you try your best to help your readers, then maybe one will come along that wants to help you in return. And besides, setting up a donation button or page takes a couple minutes of your time. It never hurts to try, and you never know - you might turn on the computer one day and have a nice surprise waiting for you!

If you add a little donation area in your sidebar, or a small page dedicated to the purpose, someone might donate to you because they like your cause and they appreciate what you do. Don’t push the donations - instead, use one of the following sites or widgets to help you out:


PayPal

“Collect donations from a button on your website, or even using a link in an email! PayPal Donations is a low cost way for you to accept credit card and bank account donations. Integrate PayPal Donations with your website in a few easy steps.”

PayPal is very easy to use on your site to generate donations. All you have to do is insert of a snippet of code to create a little donation button and you’re ready to go. Some good things about PayPal include the fact that donation payments are handled with your account like any other transactions (so PayPal doesn’t take a huge cut of your money), and PayPal is also a universally accepted way to transfer money - your visitors will feel at ease using it.

ChipIn

ChipIn is a Web-based service that simplifies the process of collecting money from groups of people. We make this process quick, easy, and secure, and we provide organizers with numerous ways to get the word out about their ChipIn event.”

I really like ChipIn. Basically they allow you to sign up and create a widget, and you can also set a goal for how much money you’d like to earn. Then, as people donate, this widget visually tracks your progress to that goal. Best of all, ChipIn uses your PayPal address to collect your earnings for you, so it’s easy to use and easy to trust as well. If you’re going for a certain monetary goal or want a cool-looking widget, then ChipIn is what you want to use.

ScratchBack

ScratchBack is an online ‘tipping’ system (or as we like to call it, a fancy-schmancy tip jar). It allows you, the blogger, to accept tips and ‘give back’ links or images in return on your blog.”

ScratchBack is the newest way to accept donations, and it’s probably the best idea so far. You need absolutely no skills to set it up; all you have to do is insert the code where you want the widget to show up. Then your readers can buy links off your ScratchBack widget as a way to thank you for your hard work (these links are nofollow, so Google WILL NOT penalize you for them). You can set whatever price you like, and even though ScratchBack takes a small cut of the earnings, they deserve it. This is the one that will earn you the most because your readers will be more likely to donate since they get something back in return.

How To Accept Donations

Readers always like getting something back in return, especially if they’re thinking about helping you out and donating to you. But if you’d like to take it a step past ScratchBack, where the donators get temporary exposure on your blog, then you might want to consider making a donation page.

You can create a donation page in so many ways. You can accept money via PayPal or even use ChipIn to keep a running total for you. At the top of the page you can display the total money you’ve acquired from all the donations, and then after that you can give a permanent link to everyone who has donated, in order from greatest to least on how much they have given (and showing that number as well). You’d be surprised at how some people will donate in order to just get a link on your blog or to be included in the list!

However you decide to do it, donations can be a nice way to make money online - and it can be nice for both parties, not just for you, if you’re willing to take a little time to thank and give back to those who help you out.

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Comments

20 Responses to “3 Ways To Make Money Online With Donations”

  1. Deimos Tel`Arin on January 9th, 2008 2:31 am

    I would not want to publicly display the total amount of donations received though.

    Best to keep that figure private. -_-

    Displaying a page showing the names (and their sites, if any) of those who donated is good enough, I reckon.

    ===============================================
    Deimos Tel`Arin the Cyber Demon Blogger hath spoken
    ===============================================

  2. Tay on January 9th, 2008 4:33 am

    Why do you feel that way, Deimos? The total amount of donations received is the most important figure. Besides, if you’re working towards a certain goal, you’re going to have to show the totals.

    If you’re doing a donation page where you’re listing the donators, then I’m pretty sure a totals figure would be almost required. Otherwise, if it’s a simple PayPal button but nothing else, then it’s not needed. It all depends on what you’re doing.

    Why don’t you think that figure should be shown?

  3. Deimos Tel`Arin on January 9th, 2008 5:40 am

    Why do you feel that way, Deimos?
    To explain it in a single word:
    Hackers

    The total amount of donations received is the most important figure.
    Correct.

    Besides, if you’re working towards a certain goal, you’re going to have to show the totals.
    I am showing it to myself. :p

    If you’re doing a donation page where you’re listing the donators, then I’m pretty sure a totals figure would be almost required.
    I fail to see how it would be “almost required” though. -_-

    Otherwise, if it’s a simple PayPal button but nothing else, then it’s not needed.
    Well, it could a “Support ‘this site’ Page” where the author of the site explains why the said site is accepting donations blah blah blah etc.

    It all depends on what you’re doing.
    Alms. Any amount of moolah received is appreciated.

    Why don’t you think that figure should be shown?
    If by any chance that figure some how became too large, it would lucrative for hackers to attempt to hack the said paypal account.

    It feels like sticking a big “HACK ME! I AM MOFOKING PAYPAL RICH!” sticker on one’s site.

    -_-

    Of course, this is just me being paranoid.

    Still, I prefer not to reveal the contents of my coffers to the public.

    Cheers. :D

  4. Matt on holiday on January 9th, 2008 2:55 pm

    Yes, this is the best way to get donation nicely from the readers. but i already started to get donation because without getting donation from the readers i couldn’t make over it.

  5. Adrian on January 9th, 2008 5:05 pm

    I can see the argument for and against posting total donations. Its good to see people rewarded for there hard work, but seeing that ‘x’ amount of people donated in most cases would be enough without knowing the actual $’s donated.

    Maybe down to personal preference, but I don’t like showing $ amounts earned on my sites, but if asked im pretty open about it.

  6. Steven Snell on January 9th, 2008 8:34 pm

    Nice information Tay. I had not heard of ChipIn before.

  7. Keith Cash on January 9th, 2008 10:07 pm

    Some good information on getting donations. Which one works the best. Do you have any stats on percentages of which one gets the most.

    Cheers

  8. Tay on January 9th, 2008 10:25 pm

    @Deimos,

    In my opinion, a donation page where you’re linking to all the donators and their sites does seem like it would be important to show the totals. It makes people see that they can trust you, and it also encourages them to donate a little bit: no one wants to be left out.

    And besides, you wouldn’t want to keep all your earnings in your PayPal account anyway, because things like that DO happen - but even more often, I hear horror stories about PayPal suspending or locking down a person’s account for one reason or another, and that person losing their earnings.

    But that’s just what I think. If I ever did a donation page, I think I would show the totals on it, unless the donators didn’t WANT the amount they donated to be revealed. But of course, you can do whatever you like - I DO see the reasoning behind what you’re saying. :)

    @Adrian,

    Thanks for sharing your opinions! I do think showing the number of how many donated is also a possible option to consider.

    @Steven,

    Thank you! I really like ChipIn, it seems the best way to publicly track progress.

    @Keith,

    The only one I’m really using at the moment is ScratchBack, so I wouldn’t be able to say for sure. It all really depends on what you want to do. If you want to make a donation page, thanking each donator and working toward a goal, ChipIn would be best. If you’d like an unobtrusive way for people to donate but get something in return, and for that something to be an incentive as well, then ScratchBack is what you’d want to use. If you just want to easily accept donations without anything big and without giving something in return, a little PayPal donations button would do the trick.

    But like I said, I’ve only used ScratchBack. If I did something else in the future, I think I would use ChipIn. :)

  9. Chris on January 10th, 2008 6:45 am

    I’ve been using the buy me a beer wordpress plugin for almost a year, total donation received is ZERO. Well, guess my blog ain’t worth a dime. *sob*

    I haven’t really tried ScratchBack and ChipIn, having failed the begging-for-money way of making making, do you think I should try ‘em too?

  10. Tay on January 11th, 2008 1:43 am

    Chris, since that one isn’t performing well for you I’d definitely remove it. If something doesn’t work, that just means it’s time to experiment with something else. So if you want, you can try ScratchBack or ChipIn instead. It definitely wouldn’t hurt. ;)

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  13. Platanias on January 12th, 2008 8:17 pm

    I tried the paypal button but nothing i had it for 5 months and I got 0!! I am thinking of using chipin!! any ideas suggestins more than welcome!!

  14. Tay on January 15th, 2008 4:02 am

    Platanias, if one thing doesn’t work out for you that just means it’s time to experiment with something else. I think ChipIn or ScratchBack would be a lot more fun to use and give more incentive for people to donate, so maybe you give those a shot. Good luck.

  15. London dentist on January 15th, 2008 9:59 am

    WOW! nice information. I had not heard of ChipIn before.

  16. Little Guy Network Review on January 16th, 2008 10:18 pm

    Great article, there are really many ways of making money online and people still dont have idea how to make money online ;)

  17. Internet Marketing on January 23rd, 2008 2:37 am

    Thanks for the tips and suggestions. It will be very useful to the people who are searching for the right information on how to make money online.

  18. Josh on May 17th, 2008 7:53 pm

    This is a great article. Very insightful. Thanks to all the commenters as well. I will have to take a look at chipin and scratchback as I am also in need of donations. Thanks again for the article, Tay.

    Josh’s last blog post..Support this blog!

  19. Sophie on February 13th, 2010 8:33 pm

    I’d feel so cheeky putting up a “donate” on my website, but maybe I will. I mean I’m putting in lots of hard work into my blog, why wouldn’t I put a “donate” button on it? Sophiewww.easysongsforbeginnersguitar.com

  20. Katharyn Gallero on April 7th, 2010 12:27 am

    Excellent blog post, I will be sure to save this post in my Del.icio.us account. Have a awesome day.

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