Each year we learn more about online fundraising, hosting fundraising events, donor outreach and donor retention. Technology leads the way by providing leaps and bounds in advancing the fundraising process, but nonprofit organizations and donors make the final decisions as to what works best in meeting their needs, and have the last word on what the best fundraising websites are.
Getting the job done is accomplished in part with the most user-friendly fundraising platforms. If websites require excessive training they tend to be overwhelming for non-technical users and impact donor retention. Finding a blend of the best technology, fundraising tools, pricing and usability can be a home run for your organization’s fundraising strategy.
Keys to the Best Fundraising Websites for Nonprofits, Schools and Charities
You’ll find that most of today’s top fundraising websites are cloud-based, software as a service (SaaS) companies. Why is this? Cloud-based websites and platforms are generally very secure and offer the best up-time guarantees.
Nonprofit teams work together more effectively with cloud-based apps, such as Google Docs. They can access, edit and share documents from anywhere at any time. Cloud-based file sharing apps allow them to make updates and gives them full visibility of their team collaborations.
Strong Reporting and Documentation
Since nonprofit fundraising is moving towards greater documentation, there are ways to make it a little easier for you. Managing, executing, tracking and reporting of fundraising events can be done with cloud-based fundraising platforms. Your crowdfunding event, charity golf event and donation website hosted within one cloud-based login. You’re assured that all stakeholders are making real-time updates and reports and auto-populated.
The best fundraising websites help organizations to document the success of their online fundraising campaigns. Fundraising platforms help to reduce costs and minimize resources by providing easy-to-use management tools for nonprofit administrators. Organizers can easily track donor information and fundraising progress, manage fundraising event details, sponsors, product sales, and generate numerous reports to help in meeting the growing need for documentation.
Secure, Flexible Payments
Many nonprofit organizations hold one annual event as their primary fundraising initiative for the year. Be it a fundraising golf tournament or walkathon fundraiser, they need to process online payments associated with only one or two events or campaigns each year. Many new nonprofit organizations and schools have a low payment processing volume (under $5,000 per month). These organizations don’t want to pay monthly fees or maintain an account year-round for the privilege of processing payments when they need to.
The best fundraising websites offer flexible payment processing options. Many organizations only need payment processing for a few months. The biggest downside of PayPal is that your donors must make payments on PayPal’s website directly. This extra step of leaving your fundraising website and going to PayPal may cause confusion and hinder donations. In fact, around 6-9% of PayPal donations end up in PayPal Pending status and administrators may have to follow-up with donors.
A merchant account allows you to accept credit and debit cards (and optionally e-checks) and receive funds directly in your designated bank account. It is akin to a line of credit, as you will receive credit card payments before your donors actually pay their credit card bills (usually within 2-3 business days of taking the online payment authorization). For this reason, you must apply for a merchant account by providing your business or organizational documents, such as a 501(c)3 designation for US non-profits. A designated signer is required on the account and some newly formed organizations may not be eligible for a merchant account. The application process is quite simple, yet allow at least 2-3 business days to be up and running.
Intuitive Design, Geared towards Donor Retention
A very important factor to look at is how easy it will be for a donor to make a donation. First, you’ll want to consider what the donation website will look like with regard to branding and consistency. Does your donation website have the same look and feel of your organization’s website, providing a seamless user experience? This is important in making donors feel comfortable and oriented when using your fundraising platform.
Consider how many clicks a donor must make to complete the transaction (and keep in mind that many online donors abandon mission if there are too many steps). Is there a simple “Donate Now” button that takes donors to a form that they can easily fill out & hit submit? A big consideration is also whether or not the donation processing form “lives” on your website. (i.e. one disadvantage of processing payment via PayPal is that donors are taken away from your site.)
Options for Fundraising and Events
Don’t be limited by fundraising platforms with few event options. Choose software that specializes in all event types so they go smoothly and you can make the most money. The best fundraising software integrates all of your creative events within one user interface and login.
Fundraising events that are stimulating and enticing for your entire community draw more donors to the table. This is the juice that keeps donors coming back. Yet if they if they have to learn how to make donations for each event and experience glitches, your events won’t be as successful.
Create exciting events with event management software for a concert series, wine tasting or Zumba fest. Or choose a golf tournament; the best fundraising websites even offer various tournament types such as golf marathons. Hold several events each year, and make them all unique. Crowdfunding opens the door to a walkathon, color run, bike-a-thon and so many more peer-to-peer events. Being limited by the fundraising platform you choose is not an option.
Personal Fundraising Pages for Crowdfunding & Peer-to-Peer Events
The best fundraising websites manage your nonprofit crowdfunding events seamlessly within a comprehensive, mobile-responsive website and powerful back-end administration and reporting area. You should expect the convenience of adding registrations, products and sponsors with a user-friendly shopping cart. Creating and selling custom products such as fundraising t-shirts, hats, and water bottles are always popular incentives and rewards for events. Expect to be able to easily configure registration fees or free registration, organizational and participant fundraising goals, and an event waiver, which participants read and approve to register. Make sure it’s easy for donors to access their favorite crowdfunding participant’s fundraising page and make secure online donations.
Participants of a color run or any peer-to-peer fundraising event need a responsive design for mobile donations and registration anywhere. Unlimited web pages are important so each user can customize their personal fundraising page. Fundraising thermometers are in demand to display the top teams and individuals for healthy competition. A well designed personal control panel is key, allowing fundraisers to manage their page, email friends, add off-line pledges, photos, videos and stories.
Must Have: Mobile Friendly Websites
Integrating mobile giving as part of your nonprofit fundraising campaign for each event provides a way for you to further extend the reach of online fundraising. It has become essential for the best fundraising websites to be mobile so participants, donors, sponsors and community members can interact as well as make safe and secure online donations. Mobile optimized websites allow participants to register, track progress, and send notifications. And it allows donors to make online donations to support your cause with any mobile device.
Mobile fundraising gives you the opportunity to more frequently engage donors while they are on the go. A mobile optimized nonprofit fundraising campaign increases social media engagement and draws more donors to your donate now button. Donors can easily make an online donation with a credit card using a mobile friendly screen from cafes. Sponsors, volunteers, media and any other community members can access your website at any time for information, to check the progress of an event, read comments and donate.
Flexibility for Large, Small & Growing Organizations
In summary, the resounding cornerstone of the best fundraising websites seems to be flexibility. Fundraising platforms that are designed for one or the other, large or small, tend to be less flexible. The best software is designed to accommodate and express agility so users have options on all fronts. Adding more participants to a large event should be easy and never limiting. Small organizations should be able to choose their own payment processor, as some require less fees than others. Cost should not be a prohibitive factor for small organizations. Adding different event types as needs arise within one user interface that can be shared within teams should be an option – small or large.
Experience the features and benefits of our fundraising websites through a free trial to find the best tools for your nonprofit fundraising campaign. The best fundraising websites offer your organization a cutting-edge, responsive platform which integrates your donation website with your events to manage each aspect of your campaign. Easily register participants, collect donations, sell and promote sponsor packages and manage event details with comprehensive software that performs on all platforms – mobile and desktop.
DoJiggy Offers Affordable Fundraising Software with All of These Important Features.