Online Donation Tools: The Best Ones for Your Nonprofit | npENGAGE

Online Donation Tools: The Best Ones for Your Nonprofit

By on Sep 25, 2019

Tagged:  

nonprofit fundraising, fundraising tools, online donation

If you’ve been in the fundraising game for quite a bit now, you probably understand the importance of establishing your presence in the online sphere. Every year online donations are taking up a bigger and bigger chunk of total funds to nonprofits, so this is definitely something worth investing in.

Though this is partially due to the natural progression of more people depending on technology, there are certain donation tools and other technology that can help you revamp your online fundraising to success!

The more donation tools you have, the more data you can collect, which will later help you develop better online fundraising strategies. It’s hard figuring out what tools are actually useful and how to use them in the best way. So, we’ll be going over these 2 questions for you:

  1. What are online donation tools?
  2. How do you make the most of your online donation tools?

These answers will walk you through all necessary things to know about online donation tools and how to smartly use them to plan and market your next fundraiser! Read on to get started.

The tools for online donations basically covers how your organization is going to accept and process donations on the internet. There are a lot of things to consider now that more of these transactions are happening online. How do people pay? What should you ask for in the online donation form? And what tools can we use to help us make this whole process easier?

 

Customizable Donation Pages

Your donation page is how your nonprofit is going to be accepting donations.

A lot of online donation software will provide donation form solutions so that your supporters have a page to go to when they’re feeling generous. However, a great online donation tool will come with the ability to customize your donation pages so that your nonprofit can offer a variety of options as well as be able to choose the data you collect.

There are certain key features your donation page should have in order to ensure an increase in giving. So, what are the best things to put on your donation page?

  • Mobile friendly/optimized content in order for donors to be able to give on the go.
  • Suggested donation amount buttons to make the donor experience easier and quicker.
  • Your organization’s brand and mission statement so that the process is streamlined and your nonprofit feels established.
  • Optional boxes that the donor doesn’t have to fill out so they have some privacy.
  • Recurring giving options in case the donor wants to be a consistent contributor!

Now that you know what tools and features to use to help your organization accept online donations, read on to learn how to best process those donations.

 

Payment Processing

So, how is your nonprofit going to process these donations? There are tons of online donation tools out there that will help with payment processing, whether the tool comes with your donation software or you decide to use a separate payment processor that is compatible.

Here are some things that you should make sure your donation tool or payment processor can manage:

  • ACH debit payments to help with debit card transactions
  • Credit card payments.
  • PCI compliance, which provides security. It’s estimated that almost half of donors decide not to donate because they feel as if the transaction is not safe.

For more information on payment processing for nonprofits, click here.

It’s easier to look for a donation tool that already works with other payment processors so that you can safely and securely collect the transactions that your donors are trusting you with. And when your online donation tool comes with a reliable payment processor, you can integrate it with your nonprofit CRM to manage the data taken from your donation pages.

 

Nonprofit CRM

Working in the nonprofit field, you already know the importance of having a well maintained CRM System. Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) software, though having a complicated and long name, is more generally known as a donor database. This is where the information from your online donation tools will end up.

In your CRM software you should be able to manage donor profiles, track donations,  strengthen donor relationships, and more. If you want to find additional information, check out DNL OmniMedia’s guide to Blackbaud CRM, one of the top CRMs for nonprofits.

Having a good CRM platform is key to being able to manage your donor data. It’s a good idea to be looking out for donation tools that can be easily integrated into your CRM. The more tools and features you utilize, the more data you have. And the more data you have, the better you can plan smart fundraising campaigns and develop in-depth marketing strategies.

Now that you’ve learned how online donation tools can help you accept and process donations and how the right tools will integrate with your nonprofit CRM, how do you take advantage of these tools and start planning campaigns? From doubling donations to launching new events, it is pretty clear that with more data comes more opportunity.

 

Matching gifts to increase donations

Matching gifts is one of the easiest but also overlooked ways for nonprofits to increase its donations. If you don’t know exactly what we’re talking about, corporate matching gift programs are when an employer will match or more an employee’s donation to a charity or cause.

So, why are matching gift programs not utilized as much as they should be? This is probably because either the donor has no idea that the business they’re a part of even offers this or the business doesn’t know that their employee made a contribution.

This is where online donation tools come in, as you can embed a searchable database full of matching gift eligible corporations into you donation page. This way, donors can:

  • Search for their business to see if their donation will be matched.
  • Get information on the program guidelines like how much the employer will match and the deadline to submit a matching gift form.

From the management side of a nonprofit, having a matching gift tool is also useful for you. Not only do you increase your funds, but you can use your donor database to figure out who is eligible for the program with business affiliation metrics. This way you can market to those donors with specific matching gift news and reminders on not missing the deadline date.

Double the Donation has loads of information on corporate matching gift programs as well as a handy online matching gift tool that you can put right onto your page! But matching gifts isn’t the only thing you can do with donor data. You can use that information for more analytics, as you’ll read next.

 

Donor research for better marketing

With all your online donation tools, your nonprofit CRM should be brimming with useful donor data. It’s smart to manage your data by picking out certain traits to track. You can then use those various traits to segment your donors into groups and target them for different reasons. This is called prospect research and is a way of researching your donors to determine giving desire and ability.

What are those things that you should be tracking from your donors? This information is probably going to be coming from your online donation tools like your forms and payment processors, so look out for:

  • Personal factors like age, location, gender, and payment preference.
  • Wealth screening metrics like real estate ownership, SEC transactions, business affiliations, and political giving.
  • Philanthropic indicators including previous donations to your nonprofit, donations to other nonprofits, nonprofit involvement, and other information about hobbies and social media.

Following these data points can really change how you market if you learn to segment your donors. People tend to delete and not read mass messages or announcements because they then think their actual involvement is not actually necessary. Develop different strategies depending on who you want to target so that your emails are more personable and unique to each donor.

It also makes sense to target different types of donors for different fundraising campaigns. For example, if you are planning a mobile fundraiser, you should focus your energies on a younger crowd than those who don’t even know how to work a cell phone.

With donor wealth screening factors and philanthropic indicators, you can figure out who potential major donors are. Major donors usually have very consistent and personable relationships with nonprofits. Having a list of potentials can give you a clue into who you should be investing time in to develop a stronger relationship with.

 

Peer-to-peer fundraising

Remember when we talked about online donation tools that help create your donation page? Now, imagine that your online donation tool creates multiple donation pages, maybe even personalizing each one with a different story, but each page still is giving to the same campaign. This is the basic idea behind peer-to-peer fundraising and by also using an online donation tool, it can be incredibly simple.

Peer-to-peer fundraising is when you recruit a group of volunteers to fundraise on your nonprofit’s behalf. Each volunteer will have their own donation page which they can then post on their social media to encourage family and friends to donate. Their pages can then be shared further by the volunteer’s social network.

Because of its wide reach, peer-to-peer fundraising can raise a lot of money and fast! This is why you have to have the right online donation tool to really milk the benefits. Look for these features:

  • Individual donation pages for each volunteer. This way, each individual’s personal network will know that they are supporting a friend when they donate.
  • Event updates on the page. This way, the campaign feels more like an ongoing story, which keeps people invested and encourages more donations.
  • Post-campaign analytics. If your online donation tool is able to compile data from past fundraising campaigns, you can start to track how well your event did in donor engagement and retention. This data can then help you for planning future events!

Your online donation tools are your nonprofits best friends. They should be working together for one common goal: to increase donations. From matching gifts to planning fundraisers, there’s a lot you can do to make the most of your online donation tools!


Now that you’ve read our guide, you should be confident enough to take the first steps to increase your online fundraising. You might have known some of these things already, but it always helps to go over it again and learn which tools are the best for what. Good luck!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adam Weinger is one of the leading experts on corporate giving programs.

He’s the President of Double the Donation, a company which helps organizations raise more money from employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs. The company partners with nonprofits ranging from arts and cultural organizations, hospitals, educational institutions, and community based organizations to help them increase fundraising from corporate giving programs.

Adam is a frequent contributor to many leading nonprofit magazines and blogs, including NonprofitPro, GuideStarNonprofit Marketing Guide, Top Nonprofits, Nonprofit.About.com and of course, Double the Donation’s blog.

Organizations looking to learn more about employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs should check out the resources the company provides which include lists of the top matching gift and volunteer grant companies.

Have questions for Adam Weinger or Double the Donation? Email Adam or connect with Double the Donation on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Comments (8)

Leave a Reply to Tina Cancel Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Updates

Get nonprofit articles, best practice advice, fundraising ideas and invaluable industry reports and webinars delivered for free!