Hurricane relief: How to accept donations on your Shopify store

August 30, 2017


It seems like natural disasters have taken over our news feeds for the past couple of months.

Wildfires have been burning through British Columbia the entire summer, floods in India have killed hundreds, and Hurricane Harvey has ripped across the Gulf Coast, leaving thousands of people in distress.

It's easy to feel helpless in the face of such destruction, and I know I often wish I could help out, but don't know where to start.

The amazing community of Shopify store owners!

Recently, we noticed a lot of store owners chatting in forums and Facebook groups about ways they can help. One of the biggest needs is a monetary one for the thousands of families that have been displaced. Accepting donations from your customers (and passing them on) is one of the best ways to start!

We have an app called Product Upsell which was designed for upselling products when customers check out. It just happens to also be perfect for asking for, and accepting, donations as well! We've seen many merchants use it this way, and so thought we'd encourage more to do so too.

There are over 500,000 merchants selling on Shopify. Can you imagine the impact they could make if they all collected donations at checkout? 

If this is something you're interesting in doing, we're offering Product Upsell free for three months to anyone that wants to install it. 

With the help of the app, eCommerce store owners can now set up fundraising campaigns through their Shopify store, collecting donations for the 30,000 people affected by Hurricane Harvey. You could also choose to match donations made by your users, further increasing the assistance offered to the charitable organization of your choice.

In this post, we'll show you how to set up campaigns by accepting donations at the checkout with a simple pop-up that will look like the one below when your customers click checkout:


Let's get started!

Install Product Upsell free for 90 days

Set up a donation product on Shopify

We'll be using a mock product on Shopify to accept and track donations that customers make. You can learn more about how to create a product on Shopify here. We recommend using the following settings:

Title: Donate to American Red Cross for Hurricane relief

Description: Submit your donation to the American Red Cross for Hurricane relief. 

(The description will likely not be seen by customers as we're using this product in a pop-up only, to be seen later in the process).

Image: Many images of the devastation left by the hurricane's wake have been posted on social media and by various news outlets. We recommend using one of these photos for your product photo on Shopify. You may also be able to request permission from the American Red Cross to use their brand identity for a fundraising event.


  • De-select Charge taxes on this product (unless required by your region)
  • Ensure the inventory policy is set to Don't track inventory
  • De-select This product requires shipping


Add a variant to allow customers to choose their donation amount.

  • The Option name will be set to Donation amount
  • Option values can be set to amounts of your choosing, but we recommend $2, $5, $10 and $20
  • Set the prices for each variant to match their Variant name

Capture d’écran 2017-08-30 à 10.53.06 AM.png

Set up the donation in Product Upsell

Next, we'll create an Upsell offer to be displayed to customers when they press the Checkout button on your store. This is the best time for a call-to-action as the customer has already committed to a payment, and likely won't mind adding on a few more dollars.

First, log into the Product Upsell app from your Shopify admin. Create a new offer, and add the following settings:

  • Show the upsell offer when the customer... Presses the "Checkout" button
  • The Window Title and Window Description will be the actual call-to-action for the customer to make a donation. You can write your own text here, or use our suggested text:
    • Title: Donate to Hurricane Harvey disaster relief
    • Description: All donations will be processed and submitted directly to the Red Cross to support their efforts providing aid and relief to those affected by the recent hurricanes along the Gulf Coast.

Next, you'll choose the product you created earlier that will actually be displayed in the Upsell window. Choose products and select the donation product that you created in Step 1. 

Save the Upsell offer and head to your storefront to test it out.

Submitting donations to the Red Cross

Once customers have submitted donations, you'll want to remit these directly to the Red Cross.

Through Product Upsell's reporting feature, you can find the exact amount donated by customers and make a lump sum donation through the American Red Cross website.

First, make your way to the Reports tab in Product Upsell and choose the "Amount Purchased" tab on the second reporting panel. Find the segment that corresponds to the donation product; this is the amount that customers have actually donated and purchased (leaving out users who abandoned their cart or removed the donation).

Capture d’écran 2017-08-30 à 11.15.08 AM.png

Using the American Red Cross donation form, input the total amount that you will be donating on behalf of your customers. Remember that the donation products purchased by customers will still have been subject to payment processing fees, so be sure to take these into account when making final calculations.

Giving back to our community

A community is defined by how it offers its hands to those in crisis.

To help merchants accept donations from the hundreds of thousands of customers that purchase from Shopify stores on a daily basis, we're offering Product Upsell for 3 months free of any charges to allow donations to be gathered in the easiest way possible.

Install Product Upsell free for 90 days

To all of our merchants in the affected areas: if we can be of any help at all, please reach out to our support team directly and we'll evaluate how we can best offer assistance to your business. We stand with those affected and are confident that entrepreneurs will do their part to help rebuild the cities and lives stricken by disaster.

Aubrey Kotelko

Written by Aubrey Kotelko

Aubrey is a marketing strategist at Bold Commerce. He drinks a gallon of milk every single day, which isn't really something to be proud of.

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