4shared
Decorative image for the GiveWP plugin. "Give" text laid over a background of photos.

GiveWP plugin users raised $106 million in donations in 2019. This is the first time donation amounts have crossed the $100 million threshold in a year. Matt Cromwell, GiveWP’s COO, made the announcement on Facebook last week. This is a jump from the $88 million and $41 million raised in 2018 and 2017, respectively.

“I’m constantly amazed at what we’ve been able to accomplish at GiveWP,” said Cromwell. “The team continues to excel as experts in their fields, the platform itself continues to improve and become even more top-notch. But this number we observed recently really puts the rubber to the road.”

The $106 million is not an exact total in donations users have gained in their fundraising campaigns. It only represents the numbers by users who are using PayPal or Stripe. “Both PayPal and Stripe provide partner programs where platforms like GiveWP get a small percentage of each processing fee,” said Cromwell. “This isn’t an additional amount, it’s money the processor will take either way, but shares with us because we help them generate more business.” The partners programs rely on transparency in reporting, which is how GiveWP can see the total donations made through those payment processors. “In order for us to know that they are paying us appropriately, they need to provide us with numbers to see how much revenue was processed through our platform.”

Both PayPal Standard and Stripe are supported in the free version of the GiveWP plugin, which makes them the go-to choices of payment gateways for end-users. “Authorize.net is the next largest,” said Cromwell. “But Authorize is maybe a tenth of the number of users as either PayPal or Stripe (rough estimate).” Without data from the other processors, it’s impossible to know the total donation numbers, which would be higher than the amount the team is aware of.

GiveWP currently has over 70,000 active installations, many of which power the donation system on small sites. The plugin is also used for large non-profit organizations such as Lifewater, a Christian-based organization that brings clean water to families living in poverty around the world; Libero Magazine, a Vancouver-based mental health magazine and community; and Love Button, an organization that promotes a culture of love and aims to inspire humans to act with kindness.

From the Past to the Future

Impress, the company behind the plugin, launched GiveWP in 2015 to “Democratize Generosity.” The goal was to provide non-profits and other causes the ability to launch campaigns without going through the middle-man of crowd-funding sites, which can sometimes carry a hefty fee. Handling all of this within WordPress provided a more robust and customizable solution that put site owners in control of how they ran their fundraising efforts.

It was a bold move to build to launch in a crowded market of existing donation plugins and add-ons for major eCommerce plugins. Thus far, the venture has turned out well. However, the GiveWP team is not looking to slow down.

“Honestly, from a plugin/development perspective it feels like we’ve learned everything new all over again,” said Cromwell of the journey thus far. “The things that we felt were the biggest strengths of the platform still are strong, but also now are technical debt that we’re working to revamp to continue to carry GiveWP strong into the future. Our form builder leveled up a lot when we built our own settings API (for example), but now in a post-Gutenberg era, it feels like it needs a more visual refresh. Doing that well with backward compatibility is a serious challenge.”

The team feels like much of their early success was by targeting the WordPress community. “That’s playing ‘inside baseball,’” he said. “Getting into the broader WP community and then additionally into the NPO community is where our challenge is now. So we’re flexing new muscles in marketing.”

The original partners had to pick up new skills over the past four years. They had to learn how to switch gears from simply being owners and workers to managing individual teams. “We’re so proud of our team that it’s become one of our biggest strengths as a company,” said Cromwell. “Now getting from 20 employees (where we’re at now) to 50 will be an even bigger challenge.”

The GiveWP team does not plan to focus solely on the WordPress ecosystem. They want to branch out and see where new avenues for growth will take them.

“While WordPress having 35% internet market share is a big deal, there’s still more market outside WordPress than inside,” said Cromwell. “So for the growth and strength of our company we are now building out a new fundraising SaaS which we’re excited to launch this calendar year.”

If the team manages to launch a successful SaaS product on the GiveWP platform, this year’s $106 million in fundraising could pale in comparison to 2020’s numbers and beyond.