What You Need To Know About Nonprofit Donation Platforms

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Online Donation Platform Questions

What You Need To Know About Nonprofit Donation Platforms

Harry Bartlett

Accepting donations online for nonprofits is essential. So how do you determine which online donation platform to choose? Below is a list of questions you need to answer in order to pick the right one for you.

  • What is your monthly budget for the platform?

Each platform has a different cost structure and offers different features. Know your requirements and have an estimate on your budget before choosing the platform.

  • How many donations do you typically receive annually and what percent are repeat donors?

How many donations you receive annually influences which donation platform you choose since some have caps per account level on the amount of records that maintain.

If you also have a high percentage of repeat donors, it would be within your best interest to choose a platform that handles recurring donations well.

  • Where will the donation form exist?

There are 2 options based on your budget, if you can afford it then embedding a donation form on your website is the best option, it creates a seamless experience for the user and allows you to maintain design control over how the form and donation process will look.

If budget is of concern then you will have to link to the donation form that will then live on the donation platform's domain. Some platforms allow you to integrate design elements like logos and imagery that makes the page look similar to your website. For example, we worked with Minute Man Arc on their donation platform Network For Good

Minute Man Arc for Human Services  Inc.   Minute Man Arc Holiday1.png

  • Is the ability to donate displayed prominently on your website?

With donations being an important source of cash flow for a Nonprofit then it should be obvious that you accept donations. Adding a large call-to-action (CTA) button near the top of your website helps to show people you accept donations and makes sure they know about it on every page they go to. For example, when we designed and developed the new Concussion Legacy Foundation website we included a large CTA button near the top of the page that always stands out in contrast.

Concussion Legacy Foundation   Traumatic Brain Injury.png

  • What types of reports do you want to be generated? (mail merges, donor list information, misc. exports)

This goes along with the trend of knowing what you need before you choose a donation platform that might not fit all your needs.

  • What is your team's level of comfortability learning a new software platform and how many users do you think your team will need?

Once the platform is integrated with your website your team will need to know how to use/maintain it, work within it to update information, as well as pull reports. Some platforms need more digital savvy mindsets while others are simpler to use.

Based on the number of user accounts you will need it will also be used in determining which platform you choose, some allow for unlimited users while others increase cost as you increase user accounts.

Answering these questions will help determine which online donation platform is right for your nonprofit. Stay tuned to our blog as we plan on developing a part 2 where we discuss the cost differences and compare a couple of the major players in the industry: eTapestry and Network For Good.

UPDATED: View Part 2 here where we discuss cost differences of donation platforms.

About the author

Harry started BI in 1998 and focuses on integrating best practices in branding, user experience design, Internet marketing, and technology to increase the value of an online presence.
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