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Collecting Donations Online for Your Nonprofit: What You Need to Know

How would you like a fundraising strategy that enables you to reach thousands of new donors and supporters all around the world — substantially increasing your revenue and brand awareness?

For many nonprofits and charities, digital donation tools like those provided by PayBee’s online platform allow you to do just that. While online donations won’t completely replace traditional in-person fundraisers, they can greatly enhance your existing fundraising strategies, enabling you to maintain your existing programs and even fund new events to create an even bigger impact in your community.

Case in point: according to an analysis conducted by the Blackbaud Institute, online giving rose by 21% in 2020, compared to overall giving which only increased by 2%. This rise has continued, with online giving in 2021 growing 9% for the nonprofit organizations in the analysis. All this shows your nonprofit can definitely benefit from online fundraising — if you know what to look for in digital donation tools and how to develop a winning online fundraising strategy.

To help, this article will provide you with a breakdown of how online fundraising can help you raise money, what they can offer your supporters, and the most important features to look at when selecting your digital donation tools. We’ll also provide you with a look at the type of online donation tools PayBee provides, along with links to more information.

What Online Fundraising Methods Can You Use to Raise Money?

As more and more people use their laptops, smart phones, and mobile devices to engage with the world, donating online has not only become an option for nonprofit supporters but also a way of life. Generally speaking, these donors transfer funds through your nonprofit’s online fundraising platform or website using a credit/debit card, checking/savings account, or other online method (such as PayPal).

However, the type of online fundraising methods your nonprofit or charity uses can vary greatly. Some of the most popular methods include:

Online donation forms

All nonprofits with an online presence should provide their donors with access to online donation forms on their website. The best online donation forms are also customizable and give donors multiple options to support your nonprofit. For instance, your online donation form should offer a choice between a one-time donation or a recurring gift that can be paid every month, offering your programs regular support.

Email campaigns

Email newsletters or “e-newsletters” are an updated form of the traditional newsletter you mail to your nonprofit’s supporters. However, since you send an e-newsletter via your online platform, you can also include donation buttons between your articles and updates that send readers to your online donation form. This makes it easier for readers to quickly donate to your organization after learning about all the good work your programs are doing for your community.

Because e-newsletters are so much cheaper to produce than physical newsletters and can be sent anywhere in the world with an Internet connection, you can increase awareness of your mission while also reaching a wider pool of donors. Take full advantage of this online fundraising method by constantly getting new people to subscribe to your e-newsletter at all your fundraising events and activities.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers

Here’s an online fundraising method that lets your pool of volunteers take an active role in your fundraising efforts. Peer-to-peer fundraisers enable individual volunteers, staff members, and supporters to create fundraising pages of their own and collect donations from their social networks. This lets you increase the size of your donor base and collect much more revenue on a regular basis.

Crowdfunding

One of the biggest advantages online fundraising offers nonprofits is the ability to reach out to larger pools of potential donors. Crowdfunding uses this to its maximum potential by creating an online fundraiser that reaches out to a very diverse online audience and enables them to support your mission. Even if the individual donations you receive are small, the total amount you collect can be substantial — and you’ll have informed many more people about your nonprofit’s cause.

Mobile Giving

Do you have a smartphone? So do most donors, making mobile donating smart fundraising. The right digital donation tools will provide mobile giving options that make sure your donation pages are easy-to-read on mobile devices, that let supporters donate via text, and even allow donors to give during popular fundraising events like online auctions. 

What Should Digital Donation Tools Offer Your Nonprofit?

Nonprofits and their audiences should expect a number of benefits when they use digital donation tools in their fundraisers. Here are the top benefits your donation software needs to provide your nonprofit:

Convenience and speed

In today’s fast-paced world, people make decisions quickly — and that includes whether or not to donate to your organization. However, if your digital donation tools don’t make the donation process fast and easy for your donors, many may decide to opt out before completing the transaction. Make sure to use donation tools that let people donate quickly from anywhere in the world.

Security

People may make decisions quickly online, but they still expect their information to be kept safe when they share it — especially their financial information. Make sure your donation tools comply with Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards which securely process and store your donor’s credit card and personal information. And let your supporters know your tools are PCI-compliant — you’ll generate more trust that way.

Increased outreach opportunities

Improved revenue opportunities aren’t the only purpose of fundraisers. Being able to spread awareness of your nonprofit and your mission is arguably just as important. And thanks to the increased exposure online donation tools can bring you via your website, e-newsletter, and social media channels, the chances of other people learning about your nonprofit — and funding your cause — will only increase.

Affordability

Quality fundraising tools do come at a cost. But that doesn’t mean they should put a huge dent in your budget. Thanks to advances in online technology (and the necessity of digital fundraising during the pandemic), it’s more affordable than ever to invest in a quality online fundraising platform. Make sure to shop around and find digital donation tools that work within your budget.

Also, keep in mind that digital fundraising saves you money in other areas. Where traditional in-person fundraising may require you to rent expensive venues and hire on-site staff, virtual fundraising eliminates or minimizes most of these costs. Knowing how much money you’ll save should also factor into your decision when it comes time to purchase a quality online fundraising platform.

What Should You Look for In Your Online Donation Tools?

All right, now that you know about the benefits that come with using digital donation tools, what online fundraising platform should you invest in? That’s up to you — but you should know that many of the pricier software packages come with a lot of “bells and whistles” that most nonprofits don’t need. Be sure to assess your organization’s needs when selecting your software. Not only will this save you money, it’ll eliminate having to learn a lot of unnecessary features.

To help you get started, here are the questions all nonprofits should ask when selecting an online fundraising platform:

How much does it cost?

We already mentioned that digital donation tools should be affordable, but just how much should you spend on yours? Certainly, there are some online fundraising platforms that are free for any nonprofit to use — but considering you get what you pay for, a paid platform might suit your needs better.

When assessing cost, keep in mind that certain fundraising software comes with monthly or yearly fees. A number of fundraising platforms may also require you to get into a multi-year contract which we advise against — you don’t want to get locked into a single platform that makes you pay for features you might not need.

Finally, be sure to consider the processing fees an online platform may charge for donations made via credit card or other payment methods. Some of the better platforms give you the option of requesting that your donors pay these fees which can be beneficial to you since you’ll be able to keep more of the money for your nonprofit.

Are there different packages and options available?

When you start hosting virtual fundraisers, you may only need a basic online platform for a limited array of virtual activities. As you get more comfortable with the software, however, you may want to host more elaborate fundraisers or collect donations using more ambitious methods.

When this happens, you’ll want to work with a provider that offers additional tools that help you grow as your needs change. From software that lets you host a very basic silent auction to online tools that enable you to build an elaborate hybrid gala with ease, your online fundraising platform needs to scale with your needs. 

How easy is it to use the tools?

Some nonprofits hold back on producing virtual or hybrid events because they worry they won’t be able to use the technology. Likewise, some donors are hesitant about giving via text or online donation form if they’ve never used such methods before.

Make sure your online fundraising platform is easy to set up and manage. Test it out to see how easy it is for people to make donations on its system. If the provider offers a free demo of the software, be sure to sign up and experience first hand how intuitive the controls are.

Is tech support provided?

No matter how easy-to-use an online platform is, technical difficulties will come up — often at the most inconvenient times. When this happens, it’s good to know your provider offers technical support you can call up to talk you through any issues you experience. Some of the best online donation tools offer services you can access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They may also provide informative instructional videos and easy-to-understand printed instructions. Be sure to take advantage of all the help!

What Online Donation Tools Can PayBee Offer Your Nonprofit?

Can PayBee provide your nonprofit with the online donation tools you need? To help you answer that question, here are some of the most popular and useful features on our system:

Customizable Landing Pages

PayBee automatically generates an event landing page for your fundraiser that provides visitors with the dates and times for your gala as well as links to your registration page where they can purchase tickets. Best of all, these landing pages are customizable and can provide ways for visitors to leave one-time donations, long pledges, recurring gifts, or other contributions. Each page comes with a unique URL that allows you to share them anywhere, including email campaigns and social media.

Learn more about how to take advantage of PayBee donation options.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers

Leverage the power of your volunteers and staff by encouraging them to create peer-to-peer fundraising web pages that they can share with their personal social networks. This is a great way to widen your potential donor pool and build awareness of both your event and your nonprofit. PayBee’s system not only makes it easy for individual members to build peer-to-peer fundraising pages, it also links them to your main fundraising platform, making collecting donations easy.

Built-In Social Sharing Features

Promoting your event via social media isn’t just a great way to bring more people to your fundraiser. It’s also an excellent way to direct them to your online donation page and encourage them to contribute to your programs. And thanks to PayBee’s built-in social sharing features, you can easily reach out to large online audiences through email campaigns, Twitter, Facebook, and other popular social media channels.

Guest Management Software

Managing your guest list is the single most important thing you can do to keep your fundraising events running smoothly. And PayBee can help you every step of the way by letting you create customizable ticketing campaigns, confirming attendance, sending out reminders, building a seating chart, and keeping track of each guest’s special needs. By sharing all this information with your event staff and volunteers, you’ll be able to keep your audience comfortable and ready to donate during your galas.

Discover how PayBee’s guest management software is ideal for hosting your nonprofit fundraiser.

Event Activity Monitor Feed

Smart digital donation tools keep your audience engaged so they’ll donate more. The PayBee system’s event activity feed lets you share a live feed of every fundraising activity, from virtual concerts to auctions, with your online audience. What’s more, you can include features like an event donation thermometer on the screen, letting your audience see how close you are to your fundraising goal. This is an ideal way to keep your virtual and hybrid audiences excited and in a giving mood.

Learn more about the benefits of sharing live feeds with your audience.

QR Code Donation

QR codes offer an easy way for your audience to visit your donation page – or any web page — simply by scanning the unique codes with their smartphones. And PayBee’s system automatically generates customizable QR codes you can use anywhere in your event venue, offline or online.

Print QR codes and display them at your check-in tables and encourage guests to donate. Or create QR codes that allow guests to purchase event add-ons like raffle and drink tickets. There’s really no limit to the way you can use QR codes, which makes them the ideal digital donation tool.

Learn more about how to collect donations from literally anywhere using PayBee’s QR codes.

PayBee Mobile App

Keeping your fundraising events running smoothly is the key to ensuring your guests donate constantly throughout your gala. And by using the PayBee Mobile App, your staff and volunteers can easily handle tasks including checking in and checking out guests, mobile bidding, and bid adjustments using their smartphones. This enables your staff to give your guests a better experience, encouraging donations.

Smart Auctions

PayBee’s live auctions combine the fun of a classic auction with the high-tech features of digital donation tools. Our automatically generated smart bidding paddles are equipped with unique QR codes that record every donor’s bid in a cloud-based shopping cart. This makes it simple to keep a rally of all donations made at your event. And once your auction is concluded, checkout will be easy for all your guests since all the necessary information has been recorded in PayBee’s system.

Discover how you can enhance your auctions with our smart bidding paddles.

Mobile Bidding

Live and silent auctions are two of the most profitable activities a fundraiser can offer. And with PayBee’s mobile bidding features, your guests will be able to place their bids from anywhere using their smartphones and other mobile devices. They’ll also receive text and email updates that let them know when they’ve been outbid and when the auction is about to end, encouraging more bidding. This is an excellent way to collect more donations for your nonprofit since it widens your donor pool considerably.

PayBee also provides auto-generated silent auction sheets that make it simple to keep track of each auction item and allow guests to place their bids. And our silent auction pages can be customized to include photographs of your auction items and exciting product descriptions to entice your guests.

Learn more about PayBee’s silent auctions and mobile bidding features.

In-Person Mobile Payment Processing

Collecting donations should be a fast and convenient experience for both your guests and your staff. To facilitate this process, PayBee provides multiple checkout options, including mobile credit card readers linked to the PayBee mobile app that let your guests checkout with a simple credit card swipe. If your guests prefer to checkout using cash, check, bank transfers, or other online payment methods, PayBee’s system can accommodate them as well.  

Automatic Event Follow-Up and Reporting Features

Collecting donations from guests who left your event before paying their outstanding donation pledges used to be a hassle. But thanks to PayBee’s automatic event follow-up and reporting features, you can ensure you collect all your donations. The PayBee system automatically sends emails to any guests with outstanding pledges and offers a fast and convenient way for them to donate online.

Our backend reporting system also creates a breakdown of all donations, letting your team know which event activities generated the most revenue. This is very valuable information that can help you plan more successful fundraisers in the future.

Tech Support

Having help available to manage any technical issues is always important when using digital donation tools. PayBee’s tech support is always available to answer questions about PayBee’s online fundraising platform and all of its features. If you need help, simply contact one of their Support Specialists and get the assistance you require. You can also access PayBee’s helpful online guides to familiarize yourself with platform features.

Moving Forward

When selecting online donation tools for your nonprofit, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. However, it’s important to do your research and find an online platform with features that support your organization’s unique needs. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the digital tools of each system, find how well they fall within your budget, and consider how easily your nonprofit will be able to upgrade your system if you decide to pursue a more ambitious fundraising strategy.

To begin, you can sign up for a free demo of PayBee’s online fundraising platform. This will let you participate in a mock gala and learn first-hand what your supporters and donors will experience at your fundraisers. You can also ask any questions about digital donation tools to our team of experts.

Want to engage with our team one-on-one? You can schedule a mini demo and learn about the PayBee system that way. We’re here to help your nonprofit fundraise online for efficiently, so contact us today!    

Tags
Online Fundraising
Charity Fundraising
Fundraising
Michael Jung

Michael-Jung