Itatu Orphan Care holiday ecard drive.

itatu_logos Phew… just finished tweaking the wp-commerce plugin at Itatu Orphan Care to launch a holiday ecard drive. Please give if you can, it’s a great cause. My sister-in-law Jennifer runs an orphan care facility in Malawi and she needs ongoing help to keep it operating. It’s a great gift for those hard-to-buy for folks on your list and let’s recognise that even in these uncertain economic times, we have a gabillion times more than Jennifer’s kids in Malawi. Thanks for your support!

So, after a couple false starts with Zen Cart and OS Commerce, I stumbled upon (is that a pun now?) the wp-commerce plugin quite by accident. It never occured to me to integrate Jennifer’s shop with her blog. It totally makes sense and I’m glad I did.

The frustrating thing with both Zen Cart and OS Commerce is their lack of support around donations. I wanted people to be able to select the amount they wished to donate and neither Zen or OS could handle that easily. You have to price your item at $1 and expect people to modify the quantity – so for example if someone wanted to donate $5, they select the item (in our case an ecard) and modify the quantity to five. That’s confusing and definitely not user-friendly.

I also found both systems to be extremely difficult to manage on the back end (Zen Cart is easy to tweak the front end, OS not so much). From adding products to figuring out how to make the digital downloads work to getting the checkout modules working – it was just too much for my little brain.

WP-commerce was no tiptoe through the tulips either, but Instinct‘s user forums are very active and I found the answer to every question I had… and there were many, ranging from email output tweaks to Paypal configurations to wording edits.

If you’re a non-profit looking for a simple way to accept donations and/or sell digital items like ecards, I recommend a WordPress blog with the wp-commerce plugin.

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