In this article, I'll show you how to create a URL -- a simple hyperlink -- for use on a web page or in an email so that when somebody clicks it, they can give you money.
Here's how the link will look: Buy me a beer!
The person who clicks the link is presented with a Secure PayPal web page, and he or she can then choose to login to PayPal or just use a credit card to send the funds to your PayPal account.
And of course, the potential donor can also choose NOT to send you money, simply by closing the browser window or otherwise leaving the web page.
This is not
a scam. There is no trickery involved. PayPal provides this service to anyone who has a PayPal account. There is no chance that somebody might accidentally send you money when they thought they were doing something else. This technique is entirely honest.[/step]
Get a PayPal account
. It's easy.
Nearly everybody already has one. Just click this link: https://paypal.com
and sign up.
PayPal's screens may change, but I'm confident that the process will remain basically the same. Here are the steps:
Go to your PayPal profile
Click My Account
, and Profile
In the Profile page, look below the Selling Preferences
My Screen has "My Saved Buttons" but yours may say "Create payment button."
There are several options, but the simplest (and best for today's exercise) is to create a Donation type payment for a fixed amount
a) Select Donations
from the top drop-down,
b) Enter "Organization name" (I used Dan's Beer Fund
c) Select Donors contribute a fixed amount
d) Enter an amount (I used $5.00
Set what's shown on top.
The Transactions notifications
option is important because the text there will be displayed to the donor. Your PayPal account can be associated with multiple email addresses, and I chose to show a newly-created Yahoo email address, since Yahoo mail is good at filtering out spam (always a risk when an email address is displayed to the public.)
Click [Create Button] to bring up this page:
There are two options here. You can generate a "web form" that you can copy-and-paste into a web page (the "Website" tab) OR you can create a one-click URL -- which is what we are doing today.
So click the Email
tab, click the Select Code
button and then press Ctrl+C (or right-click and choose Copy) to get the text of the URL onto your clipboard. Here's mine:
That's all there is to it.
The key is that unique ID at the end. PayPal associates that with all of the settings that you made earlier. You can paste that URL into an email, OR you can put it into an <A> tag anywhere on any web page.
For instance: If you click the following link:
Buy Dan a Beer
... you will get to my PayPal-hosted donation page.
PayPal charges a transaction fee. As of this writing, that is $0.30 plus about 2%. If you play around with this for a while, you'll see that there is an option that lets your donor type in any amount. That seems like a good idea, but if the would-be donor types in less than $0.32, then you will get nothing!
PayPal provides a means to display the familiar gold-colored "Donate" or "Buy Now" button (or even a button you created from scratch). And it lets you set up a drop-down list of options; you can even have a "Add to Cart" button, and so forth.
But these things require that that you have control of a web page; the PayPal-generated code creates a form -- and that's great when you have a website. But if your only option is to enter a URL (at places such as forums) then this one-click (Email-ready) option is the only way to go.
The actual URL that PayPal provides is an https:// (secure) URL. But some forums will reformat your URL so that it begins with http://https:// (messing things up). I found that removing the entire first part (and starting the URL with paypal.com) works fine: PayPal redirects to a secure page automatically.
Although this technique is limited, PayPal lets you create multiple buttons. For instance, both of these go to Dan's Beer Fund:
Buy me a beer!
Buy me a soda pop
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label that is just below and to the right of this text. OR Buy me a beer