Comparing Donation Services Like Anedot, DonorBox, PayPal, and Square

By Wes Benedict

I've used most of the common services for collecting credit card donations online, but always find myself wishing there was a simpler one for first-time candidates.

Setting up a donation processing service usually requires bank account numbers and a Social Security number, something candidates are rightly reluctant to share. 

So, it would be really nice to have something that was very easy for a beginner to  sign up for by following simple instructions.

I've used most of the common so-called "easy-to-use" services like Anedot, DonorBox, PayPal, Square, and more. While I can get them all to work, they get real complicated fast and have too many options that allow a beginner to get lost during the setup. They are not "easy-to-use."

Characteristics of and ideal service which I haven't found yet:

  • Makes it very easy to sign up.
  • Is simple, so you don't get lost while being bombarded with tons of menus and options. 
  • Does not require an Employer Identification Number (allows personal SSN instead)
  • If running for U.S. Congress, let's you get an account even before you get an account and file with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The FEC doesn't require you to get an FEC account until a candidate has raised or spent $5,000. 
  • Doesn't require a second account (e.g. DonorBox requires you also get a Stripe or other processor in the background.)
  • Is free to sign up. No monthly charge. Charges a percentage of donations received.

Features that are nice to have:

  • Allows monthly recurring donations (aka monthly pledges).
  • Let's you show a goal and progress towards that goal, like a progress bar. 


Some are free to sign up for and have no monthly fees, but charge higher rates based on transactions. These are ideal for beginners because beginners don't know how much money they will raise. If a beginner never raises any money at all, it won't cost a thing.

Other plans cost $30 per month or more. I advise against these at least until after you've raised your first $1,000 online.

Many services allow you to start for free, but upgrade to a plan that includes a monthly fee but has lower percentage fees.

Here's a review and examples of some of the most common ones.



Pricing: Free to signup. No monthly fee. 4.0% + 30¢/transaction.


  • It's a platform and processor (so you don't need a Stripe, etc., account).
  • You can set up multiple forms and have form dedicated for specific purposes like raising funds for a TV ad. 


  • If running for Congress, they require your sign up for an FEC account first.
  • Requires getting an Employee Identification Number from the IRS.

Some examples:

Here's one for Wes Benedict for County Commissioner with a goal and progress bar:

The same page is embedded as a form below:



DonorBox has a similar look and feel to Anedot, however you have to combine DonorBox with a separate processing service (Stripe or Paypal). Both companies charge fees and that makes it a bit more complicated than Anedot.

Some examples:

Here's one for Libertarian Booster PAC with a goal and progress bar:

The same page is embedded as a form below:



Piryx was one of the easiest services to set up. However, it's an older service with poor customer service that no longer accepts new accounts.

The Williamson County Libertarian Party is using the service at present. Here's a link to their donation form. 




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