It’s a good time to be a non-profit right now, when it comes to the options available for accepting online donations. Ever since PayPal made their big splash when they unveiled one of the first easily accessible online payment platforms, other companies have popped up trying to find a way to break into the industry. There’s now a plethora of companies out there with their platforms, so, let’s take a look at a few.
We’ll start with the cornerstone of online payments. PayPal has long been the go-to for many online donation seekers, but using it now may not be the best choice. While they offer low rates in the industry (2.2% + $0.30 per transaction), the integration and user experience is far from seamless, as the user will have to be redirected to the PayPal website to complete their donation transaction. In addition, it’s much more difficult to set up something like recurring donations, and usually requires a developer to implement. Lastly, while PayPal prides itself on being a “one stop shop” solution, if you want to use an alternative payment gateway to process the credit cards (such as Authorize.net), you’re out of luck.
- Low transactions rates
- Easy to set up if you want a simple and quick donate button
- Very low feature set
- Unattractive landing pages and branding options make for an unimpressive user experience
- Will need a developer to enable more advanced options
Give is a WordPress-centric donation plugin that uses the “Freemium” model, where they provide the base platform for free and you purchase the more advanced modules on an as needed basis. This model is great for a non-profit that has a WordPress website and wants seamless online donations embedded right into their site, quickly and easily. Additional modules cost around $80/year per module, and include options such as recurring donations, PDF receipts, MailChimp integration, etc. If a non-profit wants a free WordPress donation plugin this fits the bill, but beware that the price can start to climb pretty quickly if many modules are chosen. They do offer bundle pricing, but once you move into that territory, you’re looking at the same pricing as other platforms, such as DonorBox and Classy (which we’ll discuss next).
- Free base platform for integrated online donations through WordPress
- Lots of customization options for both the layman and the more advanced user/developer
- A growing community of support
- Free platform is very limited, not even offering credit card processing unless an Add-On is purchased
- Having to chunk functionality out into add-ons can feel cumbersome and “patchwork”
- Can end up being pricey if your needs demand a number of add-ons to achieve your donation goals
If you took the core functionality out of PayPal Donations, enhanced the user experience and pumped it full of features desirable to non-profits, you’d have DonorBox. This platform has a reputation that precedes it, with 4/5 star ratings across the board. The dashboard is intuitive, the donation forms look great and the feature set is robust; recurring donations, multi-currency, facebook page donations, multiple payment gateways, great reporting, secure processing, SalesForce integration…the list goes on. And what’s even more surprising is that it’s free to use if you accept less than $1,000 in donations monthly. If you do take more than that, they take an additional transaction of 1.5% on top of the 2.9% + $0.30 that Stripe (the payment processor) will take. They have a WordPress plugin that will embed the forms right onto your website (and they also support a few other platforms as well). One big downside for some will be that they do not offer phone support, only online forums and tickets. Finally, if you’re looking for really advanced features that the platform does not offer, they don’t have an open API that a developer can tap into.
- Feature rich
- Low cost
- Full website integration
- Easy to use
- No phone support
- No open API for developers to leverage for advanced usage
As one of the biggest names in the online donation industry next to PayPal, Classy doesn’t need a big introduction. Classy is a full suite of non-profit fundraising features, including online donations processing, crowdfunding, donor management and more. It’s a big platform that tries to cover all the features that a non-profit might want. Their feature set is too robust to get into here, but Classy has evolved to an enterprise level platform so most small non-profits would likely not have the need or budget for it. Their pricing page only has a Contact form…but it’s known that their platform costs around $500/month to get into. While it’s a very niche platform, that will only be right for very large non-profits, we felt it was worthy of a mention here.
- Just about everything you’d want in a non-profit fundraising platform
- Very expensive
Non-profits looking for options for accepting donations online will only have more options in the coming years as this becomes an even bigger industry. If you know of another online donation platform you’d like to suggest of have related questions about payment processors, donation management, etc., please feel free to get in touch. Thanks for reading and happy fundraising!