Before collecting donations, take the necessary steps to be in compliance with the applicable election related laws. This may include opening a bank account, filing paperwork, and naming a treasurer. Your race may also be governed by timing restrictions.To understand what laws may impact your race, check with your local or state elections office for the most current information on campaign finance laws. The FEC provides information on federal races. More than likely, you will need to capture individual names, addresses, occupation, and employer name while also tracking total donations by entity over the course of a campaign. When evaluating solutions, here are items to consider:
- How much money will likely be donated?
- What kinds of reports will the campaign be required to file?
- What are the monthly fees associated with using a third party service?
- What are the processing fees, per transaction, if applicable?
- How quickly will funds be available for use by the campaign?
- How important is collecting recurring donations?
- How important is it to enable donors to "express donate" directly from an email message? While one can always link to a donation landing page, there are ways to enable donors to expressly donate without leaving email.
Since compliance with campaign finance laws can be confusing, especially in cases where those working on a campaign do not have extensive background in this area, a third party service can help you navigate requirements, capture the required information, and produce required filings reports. Campaign donation services may also provide analytics data for understanding who is supporting your campaign, which promotions / messages are most effective in prompting donations, etc. Depending on the service, there may also be a "marketplace" that showcases your campaign, thus exposing you to additional financial supporters from outside your area.Here are several options for collecting online political campaign donations:
If using a third-party service is not the best option, here are ways to accept political campaign contributions on WordPress built sites:
- Donorbox WordPress Plugin: In addition to offering a way to be used on WordPress sites, Donorbox offers options for sites built on other platforms.
- Give WordPress Plugin: This powerful plugin enables you to create compelling landing pages for campaign contributions. Use this tutorial by Give to start.
- Custom developed solution: You can also collect using a basic form using a popular form plugin (examples: Gravity Forms, Ninja Forms, WPForms) that is attached to Stripe or PayPal.
If building one's own contribution form, make sure all appropriate campaign disclosures are accurately displayed.