Online contributions

Creating Contribution Pages

This section describes setting up online contribution pages where visitors to your website can make contributions to your organisation. CiviContribute is very flexible and includes many optional fields and features such as recurring contributions, pledges and personal campaign pages. These can make setting up contribution pages seem like a daunting task. It can be quite simple though as shown by the first two procedures.

The simplest contribution page (Receipt sent only from payment processor.)

  1. Make sure you have a payment processor configured.
  2. Go to to Contributions > New Contribution Page.
  3. Enter the title for your website page.
  4. Select the appropriate financial type.
  5. Click on Continue.
  6. On the next page leave everything as is except for ticking the Allow Other Amounts checkbox and setting minimum and/or maximum amounts if you want to.
  7. Click on Save and Done.
  8. Follow the steps for your CMS to display this page on your website.

A very simple contribution page including receipt from your organisation

  1. Make sure you have a payment processor configured.
  2. Go to to Contributions > New Contribution Page.
  3. Enter the title for your website page.
  4. Select the appropriate financial type.
  5. Click on Continue.
  6. On the next page leave everything as is except for ticking the Allow Other Amounts checkbox and setting minimum and/or maximum amounts if you want to.
  7. Click on Save.
  8. Select the Receipt tab.
  9. Enter the title for your Thank-you page.
  10. Tick Email Receipt to Contributor.
  11. Enter the FROM email address in Receipt From Email.
  12. Click on Save and Done.
  13. Follow the steps for your CMS to display this page on your website.

One other thing you might want to do with these simple pages is to collect more information about your contributors. That is done via the Profile tab

Setting up a contribution page - full details.

Navigate to Contribution > New Contribution Page. (Contribution > Manage Contribution Pages > Add Contribution Page takes you to the same screen.)

New Contribution Page

  • The page title and financial type are the only compulsory fields. CiviCRM comes with four standard financial types, but you can create more to meet your organisation's accounting needs.
  • Link this contribution page to a campaign. (optional)
  • Compose your introductory message. (optional)
  • Compose your footer message. (optional)
  • Set a goal amount. (optional)
  • This contribution page has to be manually enabled or disabled, but you can set a start date and end date that will apply for a Contribution Widget and Personal Campaign Pages. (optional)
  • Choose whether or not to accept Honoree soft crediting.
  • Choose to use a confirmation page where users can check all details are correct or to process the payment as soon as the contribution form is submitted.
  • Choose whether or not to display social media links on online pages and in the automatically emailed receipt (if being sent).
  • Decide whether or not to make the Contribution Page active now.
  • Click Continue. (This is when you new contribution page is first saved.) You will be able to go back and modify all aspects of this page at any time by visiting the Title (and Settings) tab.

You will now be on the (Contribution) Amounts tab. All the other feature tabs for contribution pages will now be visible at the top of the page. We will deal with them one by one.

Amounts tab

Contributions Amounts Page

  • The Execute real-time monetary transactions box is checked by default. You would uncheck this box if you are using this contribution page for free membership signup or to solicit in-kind (non-monetary) donations, or when you want all users to submit their payments offline.
  • Select the Currency.
  • Select one or more previously configured Payment Processors for this page. Some organizations find it is a good idea to offer a choice of processors. You can do this by setting up multiple processors, and checking the corresponding boxes on this form.
  • Check the Pay Later box if you want to give users the option to submit payment offline (e.g. mail in a cheque, call in a credit card, deposit directly into your bank account etc.). If you allow pay later contributions you will need to decide on a checkbox label to display to your users and the instructions for submitting these delayed payments.
  • If you uncheck the Contribution Amounts Section Enabled the remaining fields on this page will vanish. You will only be able accept fixed-amount membership fees, or, if you configure a membership price set, fixed-amount memberships fees and other contributions as specified in the price set all charged in a single transaction.
  • Select a pre-defined Price Set (for more complex payment options), OR enter up to 10 fixed contribution amounts in the table at the bottom of the page.)
  • You can check Recurring contributions if you payment processor and its integration with CiviCRM support recurring billing and you want to allow this feature. (There are restrictions on recurring payments when membership fees are being paid.) If you check Recurring contributions further settings become visible.
  • Check the Pledges box to give users the opportunity to pledge future payments.
  • Decide on the label for the Contribution amount area on your page.
  • Check Allow other amounts to give users the option to pay any amount they choose. You can set a minimum and a maximum amount for "Other Amount" contributions if you want to.
  • Click Save and Done.

Memberships tab

This is covered in detail in Memberships.

Receipt Tab

online contribution thank you and receipt set up

Here you can:

  • Customise the Thank-you page that will be displayed to your contributors. Contributors are sure to appreciate a title such as "Thanks for your contribution" with a re-statement of how their contribution will be used. (If you don't visit this tab the "Thank-you" page will just have the same title as the contribution page.)
  • Decide whether or not to have a receipt automatically emailed at the time of the contribution. If you do decide to send a receipt then the fields under "Email Receipt to Contributor" will appear. The receipt message is specifically for the contribution page you are creating and will be added to the standard Contributions-Receipt (on-line) (found at Mailings > Message Templates> System Workflow Messages).

Tell-A-Friend tab

CiviCRM allows you to add a tell-a-friend feature to the thank-you page. The page lets your members share details about your organisation with their friends by emailing them a link and information. Those friends will be added as contacts if they aren't already in CiviCRM and their source field will show that they were added via tell-a-friend.


Profile tab

If you want to collect information from contributors beyond the essential fields required to make a contribution, such as age, interests and skills, you can include existing CiviCRM Profiles at the beginning or end of a contribution page. You can also create new profiles.

Profiles used in a contribution page can ONLY contain fields which belong to:

  • contact records
  • contribution records

Profiles which include fields associated with any other record types will not be available for this purpose.

Contribution pages will always include a required email address field, regardless of whether you include any other fields in your profile(s).

  1. Navigate to Manage Contribution Pages then for the page you wish to configure, click on Configure > Include Profiles.
  2. Select a CiviCRM profile from the dropdown menu to be included at the top of the contribution page and/or at the bottom of the page. You can then preview your selection(s), edit an existing profile, copy an existing profile or create a new profile. When you edit or create a new profile you will use the profile drag and drop interface pictured here.


    WARNING: If you modify an existing profile whilst configuring your Contribution page, the changes you make will apply everywhere that profile is being used. So unless an existing profile exactly matches your requirements you should copy the profile, then rename and edit the copy as required. 3. Click Save or Save and Done or Save and Next.

For more information read Profiles.

Premiums tab

Premiums are thank you gifts and incentives offered to people that donate to your organisation. They are most commonly associated with tiered donation levels (e.g. donate $20 to receive a pen, donate $50 to receive a T-shirt) The Premiums tab controls the introductory text, contact information, and other premium-related details.

Before you can include premiums on a contribution page, you must configure them. Read the section on Premiums for those details.

Widget tab

A widget provides a real-time display of current contribution results, and a direct link to the contribution page. Widget code can be added to any web page. Read Widgets for details on setting up a widget.

Personal Campaigns Tab

See Personal campaign pages for details of this feature.

Editing your contribution page

You can change most things on your contribution page at anytime as follows:

  1. Navigate to Administer > CiviContribute > Manage Contribution Pages.
  2. Use the Configure link at the right-hand side of a contribution page to access any of the set-up tabs and edit their details.

Automatic Contribution Recording

CiviCRM automatically records donations made through your online contribution pages. If the donors already exist in the database, CiviCRM adds the contribution to their existing record. If they don't exist, CiviCRM creates a new record for them.

In situations where people have multiple email addresses, or where more than one person shares an email address, it can be possible for contributions to be credited to the wrong contact. To mitigate the chance of this happening, you can adjust CiviCRM's default duplicate matching rules. For instructions on how to do this, read Deduping and Merging.

Publicizing your contribution page

Now that you've created your contribution page, it's time to bring people to the page so they can contribute. You will probably want to display a link to the page prominently on your website through a donate button or menu item. Here are some additional tips for promoting a contribution page in different CiviCRM configurations:

The most direct way to expose your contribution page or membership signup/renewal page on the front of your web site is by creating a menu item.

  1. Navigate to a menu and create a new CiviCRM item.
  2. From the list of menu options, choose Contributions.
  3. In the basic parameters section, select the contribution page you would like exposed from the dropdown menu.
  4. Save the menu item and view the website to confirm the page's functionality.

From the contribution page listing, select Live Page to view the finished page. You can then copy the URL and include it in a content page or assign it to a menu item.

Page or Post in WordPress

You can easily embed your contribution page in a post or page on your WordPress front-end site.

  1. Login to the administration dashboard of your WordPress site.
  2. Click on Pages or Posts > Add New
  3. Click on the CiviCRM icon next to Upload / Insert
  4. Select Contribution Page as your Frontend Element
  5. Select the desired contribution page
  6. Save the page or post, and your contribution page will automatically be embedded within your site's theme on that page.

"Pretty" URLs

CiviContribute contribution pages have "ugly" URLs - in other words, they are difficult to remember. An example is :


On the other hand, "pretty" URLs are much easier to remember and use in your organization's outreach, for example:


A pretty URL is simply a URL redirect (automatically taking people from one page of your web site to another). Drupal provides a helpful module called Path Redirect (http://drupal.org/project/path_redirect) that lets you can create URL redirects from the user interface without complicated web server configuration. Joomla! users also have a work-around if Search Engine Friendly URLs are enabled in Global Settings. You can then create a menu link to the contribution page and define the "pretty" URL using the alias field.

Personalised Email

Emailing your current membership is the other critical way to publicize the campaign. The CiviMail component of CiviCRM allows you to send targeted emails to any group of contacts in your database. Within a CiviMail message you can include links to the contribution form and use CiviMail's tracking capability to see how many people click on that link.

One time-tested way to increase contributions is to send each targeted constituent a personalized email with a link to the contribution form that has all of their contact information already filled in. This saves them the hassle of filling it out and raises the chances that they donate. Using CiviMail, you can use this feature by creating a special link in the body of your CiviMail message that includes a checksum token. A checksum is a unique and pseudo-random number assigned to each recipient of the mailing that points back to their contact information, securely stored in your database.

When people click on the special link, CiviCRM looks them up in the database and pre-fills fields on the contribution form (core fields or fields exposed via a profile) with any information in their contact record. To read more on how to do this and what the link path must be, visit: http://wiki.civicrm.org/confluence/display/CRMDOC/Tokens