How can I use PayPal for Recurring Donations

In order to automatically initiate recurring donations via PayPal - not asking the donor to go through PayPal every time - you need to have Reference Transactions enabled by PayPal for your account. 

Before you set PayPal to accept Recurring Payments, you first need to set it up to accept one time payments, as outlined here.


Please Note: These are the steps as PayPal wants/needs you to perform. To successfully enable Recurring Donations, make sure you read through and follow this document to the end. If you don't, if you miss a step, it can delay completion of your Recurring Donation option with PayPal.

Contact PayPal to enable Reference Transactions

To begin the process of having PayPal enable Reference Transactions is to contact PayPal customer service on their Help pages.

When you contact them, specifically tell PayPal that you are calling to turn on “Reference Transactions” that will need to be approved and enabled by the PayPal Risk/Underwriting department.

They may try to help you set up recurring payments through a button, and that is not what you want. If they try, refer to the above, and how you specifically need Reference Transactions enabled by Risk/Underwriting.
Will My Account Qualify for Reference Transactions?
PayPal has set requirements that need to be met before they will enable Reference Transaction support on your account. They do not publish these requirements and the requirements may be different for different organizations.

Enable Your Recurring Payments in GiveSmart Fundraise

Once you have enabled Reference Transactions through PayPal, you need to add the functionality to your GiveSmart Fundraise account.

  1. Click on Settings (the Gear icon)
    Settings Icon
  2. Click on the Integrations category on the left, then the Payments section in the middle.Integrations Category
  3. Click on the Enable Recurring Payments link.


    Then confirm on the window that appears, by:

    • Reading the information
    • Putting a check in the box, stating that you have enabled it with PayPal
    • Click the Enable Recurring Payments button.
  4. Enable Recurring Payment - PayPal

    Your PayPal line in your Payment section should now be complete to accept both one time and recurring gifts.

    Recurring Complete