Good question today from Sue in Minnesota, who wants to know how to use PayPal for receiving online political campaign donations:
“Hi from a huge fan! I know that you have written in the past about political campaign websites and how valuable they can be for fundraising and online donations. I have a personal PayPal account, is there any way that I can use that account for raising money on my candidate website? Or do election laws not allow the use of PayPal?”
Thanks Sue! Good question. PayPal is a great online service that allows you to purchase items online, send money and receive funds. It’s a very convenient and secure option for online shopping and money transfers, and I have a PayPal personal account that I use quite often.
There is a way to accept political campaign contributions with PayPal and set up a “donate” button on your election website, but you can’t do it with your personal account. Setting up a PayPal account for political campaign fundraising is a bit more complicated, but once you do it, your supporters will be able to contribute money to your campaign securely using their credit cards or bank accounts.
In order to accept political campaign donations with PayPal, you’ll have to first sign up for a PayPal business account, select “nonprofit” as the business type, and choose the subcategory “political.”
After you’ve set up the account, you have to prove that your political campaign account is really a nonprofit. In order to do that, PayPal asks that you email them a voided check or bank statement in the name of your political organization, and a tax letter from the IRS.
After your political campaign account has been set up properly, you can then use the button designer on PayPal.com to generate html code that you can paste onto your website to generate a “Donate” button.
For a more thorough explanation of how to set up your own political campaign PayPal account for accepting online donations and contributions, please check out this PDF from PayPal.
And you won’t be alone in setting up a PayPal political campaign account to accept online donations. In fact, nine presidential candidates in the 2008 U.S. election used PayPal to accept donations, and many other local candidates in smaller races have done the same.