How to accept online donations and grow your fundraising

Make sure you choose a digital donation process that meets your needs.
Photo of money

Digital fundraising has become an incredibly popular way to engage with new and existing supporters.

One reason to try digital fundraising is the potential it has for raising more money for your organisation at a lower cost. There are a range of options available to accept donations online that match your fundraising activities. Before getting started though, consider your needs, existing systems and your team's capacity to manage.

For simple needs

This might be where you run less-frequent campaigns where you don’t need to collect extensive data. These programs will run the entire campaign activities within their system, managing credit card processing, receipting and reporting.

  • My Cause is an easy-to-use online platform that will help you set up a campaign site to promote your cause and generate donations. They have a range of tailor-made fundraising solutions for not-for-profits. 
  • GoFundraise is simple peer-to-peer fundraising platform that will help you set up a campaign site that then is promoted to supporters to host third-party events on your behalf.
  • JustGiving is a large international version of an online giving system. They take pride in their mobile functionality, customisable apps you can add to your own site and simple reporting system.
  • Good2Give is an online platform that manages your regular giving and workplace giving campaigns, it is designed to simplify regular giving for both the supporter and organisation, managing credit cards, and end of year receipting.
  • Facebook Social Impact and PayPal Giving Fund are simplistic online donation processing platforms. These sites are designed to be accessible, simple and quick for the donor to donate to your cause.
  • Pozible and gofundme offer crowdfunding platforms, supporting you to raise money for a specific project or item. Crowdfunding is more like asking for investors than asking for donations. Most crowdfunded campaigns set a target they’re trying to raise and, if they reach that target, reward their funders in some way. If the target isn’t reached, no money is donated.

Before selecting these be ensure to consider:

  • Do they support you to run and publicise your campaigns via their site? What fees do you pay to support this?
  • Do they make it easy for donors to search for you and select you as the charity for their own fundraising campaigns?
  • How secure is their payment system - Do you trust it?
  • What fees or credit card charges are attached to each donation– how much of the donation gets to you?
  • Do you want donors from outside your country? If so, make sure the site allows that.
  • How long will it take for payments to be delivered to you?

For complex needs

Large, integrated systems are better suited to organisations doing frequent fundraising activities, involving large sums of money and complex donor tracking. You’ll have to do your own promotion, but if you already have a strong online or social media following that will help.

  • You can build your own online donation functionality to your website yourself. Use a gateway provider (e.g. PayPal or Stripe) to set up an interface for accepting credit cards, debit cards and bank deposits. Most content management systems allow you to create the required forms easily, but if not, you might need to use a form builder like Formstack or Wufoo to make a donation form for your site, then connect it to your PayPal account.
  • Investigate if your CRM offers an online payment processing form that can be added to your website via a API integration. This creates an online form for your supporter to complete. This will securely process the donation via your payment gateway and reconcile into your database.

Before selecting this style of processing consider:

  • Do you have the resources to support the web integrations and additional financial support?
  • Do you have the systems to support you, read our article on choosing the right information system to determine what system suits your organisation.

Learn more

Watch a webinar recording on what makes an effective communications and fundraising site.

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