If you made a donation to a trail association on Trailforks via our Trail Karma feature and the transaction went through on PayPal but is not recorded on your Trailforks account, this may be the reason.

The issue is most likely a setting on the trail associations PayPal account receiving the donation. Trailforks does not receive donations, a Trail Karma donation is a direct transaction between the user and the trail associations PayPal, which Trailforks facilitates. Part of that transaction is some extra data that Trailforks sends to Paypal, including an "IPN" callback URL. This url is accessed by PayPal after your donation is made, letting Trailforks know that payment was successful, so Trailforks can record it too your account.

However the trail association PayPal account could have several things blocking this. You may have to contact the trail association and refer them to this document to resolve the issue and future issues.

First, their account might not accept your currency. It's common that US PayPal accounts could only accept USD, but you've made your donation in another currency such as CAD. In this case the trail association needs to login to there PayPal to approve your donation. Once approved then the IPN signal will be sent to Trailforks and your transaction will automatically be recorded. The trail association will also want to change their PayPal settings so future donations in your currency are automatically accepted.

Make sure "Allow payments sent to me in a currency I do not hold:" is enabled.

There is a 2nd main cause of your donation not being recorded, this involves issues with the trail associations PayPal not sending the IPN data to Trailforks. There account may have IPN messages disabled, or might be in a weird state where PayPal has disabled IPN messages on their account because they previously had a manual IPN url set that has failed enough times. Here is how they can fix this. There is nothing the donator can do, besides contact the trail association, refer them to this document to fix their account.

First they can check if an IPN message was sent out related to your donation on their PayPal account here:
If there has been and the status is sent, then the issue might be something on Trailforks end, please contact us.

This page is where the main issue can be found, if the setting "Do not receive IPN messages (disabled)" is checked and a URL is entered in the "Notify URL" field.
This is the weird PayPal situation, this PayPal account probably had a custom IPN notify URL setup at some point, but is no longer used or works. So it's failing. When it fails enough times PayPal automatically disabled all IPN messages on this account, including the custom ones from a Trailforks donation.

If an account has NEVER set a manual Notification URL and its set to disabled on that settings page, an IPN message is still sent when a custom notify_url is passed with a payment (such as Trailforks donation does). BUT if a URL has ever been set on that page and its set to disabled, then ALL IPN messages are disabled. This is why your Trailforks donation was not recorded, PayPal did not send us an IPN message.

So to get this PayPal account to work with Trailforks again, they have to set a notify URL that returns a status 200 (not failing) then check the "Receive IPN messages (Enabled)" option. Trailforks has setup this URL a trail association can enter, it is a blank page that simple returns a GOOD status, does nothing else. https://www.trailforks.com/ipn_blank/
Then when a Trailforks donation is made with a custom IPN notify URL, PayPal will override that https://www.trailforks.com/ipn_blank/ with the notify URL passed in the donation data.

This is an annoying situation a PayPal account can get into and it's not something Trailforks or the donator can fix, Only the receiver (trail association) can fix on their PayPal account.

Also this setting may be related to stopping donations, not verified, but worth checking. The trail association can change to the default of "Accept PayPal Payments before API permissions or credentials are set up"

Thanks to the Colorado Mountain Bike Association for helping me track down this issue.
  • By canadaka Trailforks
  • #106 - 1,677 views