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[Book Research] What vendor(s) do you use for your online fundraising campaigns?

December 13, 2010

[tweetmeme] I tell ya! My head is spinning from the large number of vendors now available to the nonprofit sector for “Donate Now” buttons and peer-to-peer fundraising. I have a couple of favorites that will be discussed in the book, but I know there are some other good vendors out there that are not on my radar screen.

In terms of “Donate Now” buttons, some basics are necessary in order to maximize your nonprofit’s online fundraising campaigns:

1. The ability to insert the donate content/process inside of your website with your website’s branding.
2. Donors are not required to create an account, username or password to make an online donation.
3. Donors are not required to provide a phone number to make an online donation.
4. Automatic thank you e-mails are sent. Ideally, these e-mails are customizable to match the organization’s branding.
5. The ability for donors to sign up to give monthly recurring donations.
6. The ability for donors to give in someone’s name.
7. A 5% or less donation processing fee.
8. Modest monthly fees for custom branding, automatic deposit, and phone and e-mail customer service.

In online fundraising, you tend to get what you pay for. The most expensive vendors offer all of the above for $50-$100 a month plus a transaction fee of 3-5%. The discount vendors offer lower fees, but only a couple of the basics listed above.

What vendor does your nonprofit use, and why? Are you happy with them? What do they charge?

How about peer-to-peer fundraising tools i,e., empowering your supporters to fundraise online for your nonprofit through fundraising pages? There seems to have been an explosion of these tools over the last year or two. I am looking for the best peer-to-peering fundraising vendors in terms of design, functionality, and cost? Anyone using Razoo, Crowdrise, First Giving,, Causes’ Wishes, 10Beyond, Changing the Present, etc.? Others?

I am getting ready to jump into the chapter about social media and online fundraising. “Donate Now” buttons and peer-to-peer fundraising tools are the backbone of successful online fundraising campaigns. I would greatly appreciate you sharing your experiences. Thank you!

Related Links:
Book Research & Interviews
Book Tour
Book Tour Sponsors
List of Nonprofits Mentioned in the Book

14 Comments leave one →
  1. December 13, 2010 10:13 am


    Have you looked at what’s been happening in Minnesota on the platform? ( was built by Razoo) At both Razoo and, we’re trying to move more fundraising online and social media has been a huge factor in this effort. Check out my guest blog post on Beth Kanter’s blog about our recent “Give to the Max Day” online fundraising event:

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      December 13, 2010 10:19 am

      Great example… thanks!

  2. December 13, 2010 10:34 am

    2.. Donors are not required to create an account, username or password to make an online donation.

    I would be interested in hearing some statistics on this requirement. How many donations do you lose if you require it? A reference please! Not just a gut feel.

    I can understand this requirement if all you are doing is collecting money and you don’t care who it comes from. Very appropriate to a typical Red Cross disaster appeal. However if your main goal is to establish a relationship you need that sort of information.

    It also seems to be dependent on how wide spread your appeal is. If you are only talking to the committed, they are probably already registered.

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      December 13, 2010 11:07 am

      Nothing wrong with asking for contact information, but you will lose donors if they have to create an account, username, password, all that. The trick is simplicity and ease of giving in as little steps as possible. That’s one of the big hurdles in giving portals and using PayPal… they require accounts.


      So, what vendor do you use? What do they charge? Are happy with them? Thanks!

      • December 15, 2010 4:12 pm

        Collecting a name/address is creating an account. The organization is putting that info somewhere (I call that an account). If you later come back with another donation they certainly want to match you up with your account (a multi-donor is more valuable than a one time donor). At this point there are lots of options for enhancing the recognition or maybe degrading the experience.
        In the spirit of theagitator link above do some testing on:
        1) conventional register up front
        2) no password required, but sent one with the thank you letter to make it easier to give again.
        3) no password at all, but database matchups may be flaky because two Tom Jone’s may be combined.

        None of the references above, tackled this issue. So as far as I am concerned the only data is gut feel.

  3. December 15, 2010 3:12 pm

    Our Raiser’s Edge (through NetSolutions) donation links are an annoying 2-step process and require some registration. Furthermore the registration screen wears a basic agency branding customization, but is not further customizable to specific programs or campaigns (the next screen and thank-you letters are). Despite all this, our giving through the website has been on a positive grown trajectory for the past 3 years or so. We are about to upgrade the RE to Netcommunity Sparks which should provide greatly enhanced customization.

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      December 16, 2010 1:06 pm

      Glad your giving is growing! I’ll look into this. Thank you. 🙂

  4. December 16, 2010 4:25 am

    Add 2 more to the list above:
    9. Your organization wants to be sure you have your own credit card merchant account so the donor sees YOUR ORGANIZATION’s name on their month-end credit card statement, not the name of a merchant account aggregator. This will reinforce your brand, help the donor with year-end charitable gift summations and assure no chargebacks (when a credit card holder refuses a charge for fear of fraud or they just don’t remember authorizing that transaction!)

    10. Be sure that your organization’s bank account is paid in 3 or so days and paid directly into that bank account for the proceeds of the donation. Don’t settle for a monthly paper check mailed to you or for having to move money from the aggregator’s account in your name to your own bank account. The delay means they are using your money and that’s just NOT fair!

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      December 16, 2010 8:23 am

      Useful. Thank you.

  5. December 16, 2010 8:20 am

    Online donations should not simply ask how much you want to donate and for your credit card info. Here are some examples of how the online donation experience can be much richer for the donor and more effective for the nonprofit.

    The donor should be able to donate by credit card or by e-check – which is becoming an increasingly popular way to make online payments. They should be able to make a recurring gift, like $100 a month for 12 months – it should take a minute to set up, and then all 12 donations are processed automatically. They may want to choose from preset donation amounts or enter an amount of their choice. They can target their gift toward a particular program or service, or designate the gift as unrestricted. They can make the gift in their own name, in someone else’s name, in memory of, etc. They can opt into your e-mail list, even indicating their specific areas of interest. If they wish, they should be able to track their donations and other activity over time.

    Also, the donor should not be kicked off of the nonprofit’s site to pay on a third-party site. All money should be collected securely within the nonprofit’s website. Here are a number of reasons:

    CharityFinders ( has a tool, NonprofitSite123, which incorporates all of this donation functionality. Here are a few sites built using NonprofitSite123:

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      December 16, 2010 1:10 pm

      Thanks. “Donor loyalty is 67% lower on 3rd party sites than on a nonprofit’s own website.” And yet look at this TwtPoll I just started today:

      The high PayPal number was very surprising.

  6. December 22, 2010 10:13 am

    Giving people an option to register is key. Allowing them to donate without registering eliminates the burden on donors who do not want to go through a tedious registration process.

    At VineStock our whole process is based around the fact that we want to help build relationships for our clients and their donors but we also understand that we better have options or our clients might lose donations.

    Another great way to enhance the donor experience is by allowing them to login with a twitter and or facebook account. This automatically registers the donor and all that is needed is their personal information to finalize their donation. We will be testing that next.

  7. Colin Smith permalink
    January 8, 2011 12:36 pm

    DonorDrive from a company called GlobalCloud

    Flexible, configurable….excels at” a-thon” type fundraising. Great facebook integration. Might be robust enough to be your CRM as well as your online fundraising solution.

  8. March 5, 2011 5:18 am

    We utilize and connect everything through API. Check out to see our portal.

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