PayPal Donations is a new method of connecting to PayPal introduced in GiveWP version 2.9. It involves a process (outlined in the GiveWP documentation) for connecting that takes the user away to PayPal from the GiveWP Settings page, and then after PayPal connects, the user is sent back to that same settings page.
Everything that happens from when the user clicks the blue button to go away to PayPal until the user is sent back to the page is handled by PayPal directly, and the GiveWP application is essentially "standing by" to get the news from PayPal as to whether the connection was successful.
Some users are experiencing issues connecting to PayPal. They generally fall into three different groups.
Group 1: the "phantom connection."
For these users, PayPal appears to connect correctly, and the modal popup facilitating the connection closes and the page refreshes. Once the Settings page on the site refreshes, the site reports "Connected for Payments as" and then there's a blank where the email address associated with the PayPal account would normally live.
On the front end of the site for these users, if the PayPal Donations gateway is enabled, there's a tell-tale javascript error of a failed attempt to connect to PayPal by sending a call for the PayPal JavaScript file:,buttons&locale=en_US&disable-funding=credit&vault=false&intent=capture&currency=USD
(note that there are two
IDs there)
How The GiveWP team is addressing this group
We are adding in some additional error checking to verify the status of the connection with PayPal at the moment the user is delivered back to the page. There's already some error checking there, but we're extending it to see if we can discover what the issue is, and whether it's fixable from our end. We'll keep this post updated with the latest there.
Group 2: The "consciously disconnected."
Some users are seeing errors that explicitly say that they are not connecting. Usually these errors are happening while the modal from PayPal is still open, and some of them are vague "Something went wrong" while others are more specific.
How the GiveWP team is addressing this group
Since these issues are happening during the onboarding process with PayPal, there's not much we can do directly to isolate and replicate the situation.
The fastest way users can resolve this is by interfacing directly with PayPal.
We tried and had varying levels of success reproducing errors with our own test accounts, and frustratingly found that test (sandbox) accounts from PayPal seem to connect with no problem, while live accounts sometimes do and sometimes don't, and sometimes they don't and then do just hours later.
We have asked PayPal for a dedicated technical support channel to deal with these issues, and await their reply.
Group 3: The "connected with a cryptic error message" group.
This group connects successfully to PayPal, but when the settings page refreshes, there's a message saying that they are not fully connected to PayPal, and should resolve that before accepting donations.
What's going on there is that there's an internal "checklist" that GiveWP goes over at the time of connection with PayPal. These are all settings and things that need to be true for GiveWP to function correctly with PayPal. If any of the checks fail, the error message is displayed. Essentially what GiveWP is communicating is "we think you are connected, but that your account needs attention."
In our experience, some of the error messages on that list appear to be "false alarms," in that donations still process with no issue. In other cases, donations fail until those issues are resolved at the PayPal account level.
How the GiveWP team is addressing this group
Much like Group 2, this is a case where the fastest way to resolve things is to contact PayPal.
Until PayPal can give us a spot to reliably replicate these issues, we're at their mercy to handle this on our users' behalf.
What users can do NOW
1. Connect using incognito mode.
Some users have had success connecting to PayPal only while attempting that connection from an incognito or private mode browser. Open a new Incognito mode browser window, log into your WordPress website, and use that window to make the connection. We'd estimate that 50% of folks have been able to resolve their problems connecting using this method.
2. Use Other gateway connection methods
PayPal Standard is still fully functional, so if users need to connect there, they can use that gateway option. Stripe is also a great option for accepting credit or debit cards.
3. Provide us with more information
Use the comments below to describe your problem in the following ways:
  1. What were you doing when you encountered the problem?
  2. What were you expecting to see happen?
  3. What happened instead.
Screenshots and Screencasts are encouraged!
Many of our GiveWP users and customers have connected to PayPal donations with no problem. For those that have had trouble connecting, we're working hard to change that. Your success with online donations is our number one priority.