Fundraising—you either love it, or you hate it, right? Regardless of how you feel about it, it’s critical to a nonprofit’s success. An online donation platform is a valuable tool that can support your organization’s fundraising efforts.
Whether you’re a brand new nonprofit embarking on your first fundraising campaign, or a global nonprofit with millions of donors, investing in an online nonprofit donation platform can help you streamline your fundraising efforts and increase your donations.
Sounds good, right? Keep reading to find out what a nonprofit donation platform is, why you need one, and 11 of the best platforms out there!
What is a Nonprofit Donation Platform?
Let’s start with the basics: what is a nonprofit donation platform? It’s an online fundraising software or tool that allows your nonprofit to solicit, collect, and process donations securely. Cool, right?
These platforms help you and your organization streamline your fundraising processes by serving as a one-stop-shop for all things donations-related: splicing them, processing payments, generating acknowledgment letters, etc.
They also make things easier for your donors by allowing them to quickly, easily, and securely support causes that are near and dear to them. And when it’s easy to donate, donors will likely give money more frequently!
Now you know the “what,” so let’s move on to the “why” ….
Why Do You Need a Nonprofit Donation Platform?
It’s no secret: fundraising can be stressful and time-consuming. Especially if you work for a nonprofit with limited resources—and to be frank, don’t they all?
However, an intentional fundraising strategy and strong donor recognition practices are critical pieces of your nonprofit’s fundraising puzzle.
If you’re still using spreadsheets to track your donations and donor information, it’s time to investigate using a donation software. Donation software platforms make it easier to tackle a wide range of fundraising functions including:
- Collecting detailed information about your donors and funders
- Generating reports on specific aspects of your fundraising
- Tracking metrics for individual fundraising campaigns
- Tracking donor engagement
- Processing registrations for fundraising events (like a gala or a 5k race)
- Sending donor communications, including thank-you letters, tax letters, and event invitations
Small, medium, and large nonprofits all reap extraordinary benefits from these platforms, including increased efficiency and increased donations!
In short, a donations platform will save you time and help you make money—so it’s a win-win situation!
11 Best Donation Platforms for Nonprofits
By now, you know what a donation platform is and why you need one. So let us help you choose the best one for your nonprofit! We’ve highlighted 11 of the best donation platforms and outlined why we like them, who they’re recommended for, and what they cost.
Why We Like It:
GiveLively offers many tools to help you raise money online, including e-commerce sites, donation pages, and integrations with payment processors like PayPal and Stripe!
Startup nonprofits to mid-sized organizations. It lacks some of the fancier bells and whistles of the bigger platforms but has enough functionality to help get your fundraising efforts off the ground.
Perhaps the coolest thing about GiveLively is that the platform’s founders fully fund it—so it’s completely free!
Why We Like It:
GiveButter offers tools like payment forms, event ticketing, customized fundraising campaigns, live-stream fundraising, and donor management. It’s super user-friendly, and your account can be set up in a few short minutes—no bulky build-out process to worry about. Phew! And it’s the fastest growing platform on the market!
Anyone! Large or small, your nonprofit will certainly benefit from using GiveButter! GiveButter is one of the few platforms that is also used by schools, religious institutions, and sports teams as well!
It’s hard to beat “free”! But “almost free” is also great! That’s what you’ll find at GiveButter—a platform that is completely free to use and doesn’t have setup fees! Transaction and processing fees are pretty standard, but donors are given the option to cover those when they make their donations.
GiveButter’s standard features are free to use, but if you find you need something more robust, you can upgrade to paid Pro and Premium plans.
Platform fees depend on whether you show or hide GiveButter’s tipping option. If you hide tips, there’s a platform fee of 1% for a donation form, 3% for a fundraising page, and 5% for an event page. If you don’t hide tips, your platform fees disappear!
Why We Like It:
DonorBox has a great reputation as a donation platform that helps nonprofits increase their recurring donors. They do this by placing a huge emphasis on the checkout process. They offer DonorBox Memberships where donors can opt-in to monthly donations—with options to pause, increase, and decrease their recurring donations.
DonorBox offers some other advanced online fundraising features, like campaign marketing, text-to-give, crowdfunding, and donor management.
Another great feature is that DonorBox integrates with other tools like MailChimp, Zapier, and SalesForce!
DonorBox is recommended for small, medium, and large-sized nonprofits! Its user-friendliness and varied payment plans make it a good fit regardless of your size or budget.
DonorBox isn’t free (bummer!), but it is certainly affordable. There are no upfront costs to use DonorBox, which is great! They charge a 1.5% platform fee for that month’s donations, which is lower than many competitors.
They also offer low payment processing fees:
- 0.8% and $0.30 per transaction for ACH bank payments
- 2.9% and $0.30 per transaction for PayPal payments
- 2.9% and $0.30 per transaction for Stripe payments
The good news is that DonorBox gives donors the option to cover processing fees, which is a great cost saving!
4. Salsa Engage
Why We Like It:
Salsa Engage is a part of Salsa Lab’s suite of nonprofit CRM tools. Salsa’s SmartEngagement Technology provides tools to assist with advocacy, fundraising, and digital marketing. It’s truly a one-stop-shop of integrative tools that work together!
Salsa Engage is totally customizable—you can personalize all your donor communications, build gorgeous fundraising pages, send out automated acknowledgments and thank-you emails with tax receipts.
There are also tools to track peer-to-peer fundraising, individual donation pages, and event registrations. So many tools in one space will streamline all your nonprofit's marketing and fundraising efforts—and lead to increased efficiency and revenue!
Salsa Engage is another platform that is a great fit regardless of the size of your nonprofit.
There is a cost for all this, however. The fee for this platform is $179 per month, which doesn’t include transaction fees. Those fees will vary based on your gateway processor and your merchant accounts.
An important note: SalsaLab is becoming Bonterra! Learn more about this change here.
Are you overwhelmed with a lot of bells and whistles? Are you searching for a simple solution? Donately might be for you!
Why We Like It:
Donately is known for its simplified software. In fact, it’s designed to be as easy to use as possible!
It’s important to note, however, that simplicity doesn’t mean Donately is skimping on functionality. They offer customizable donation forms, support for recurring donations, text-to-give options, and peer-to-peer fundraising pages. You get a lot of great features from this platform!
Small and mid-sized nonprofits can certainly take advantage of Donately’s startup plan. However, the enterprise plan is best suited for much larger organizations.
So, what does it cost? Donately’s platform fee is tiered: you will pay 3% of your first $100k, 2% from $100k - $1M, and 1% for greater than $1M. You’ll also pay transaction fees, which are 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.
Why We Like it:
If you’re looking for crowdfunding tools, Fundly is for you!
Fundly has a reputation as the best crowdfunding platform on the market! This is a great option for small nonprofits who want to try crowdfunding without making a significant investment in a specific software.
With Fundly, you can launch crowdfunding campaigns and interact with your donors to encourage peer-to-peer fundraising. It’s also super user-friendly—for nonprofits AND for donors. Even better: there are no mandatory campaign deadlines, which means that your nonprofit can take as long as you need to raise funds!
Some other great features include:
- Nonprofits can create a blog to support fundraising efforts. This is a great way to keep your donors updated on your progress!
- It’s super easy to share on social media. Fundly easily integrates into several social media channels, including Facebook. Your donors can share your campaign with their networks and help you increase your reach!
Nonprofits that are looking for crowdfunding tools to boost their fundraising activities.
The platform is completely free to set up, and there are no monthly fees or contracts. There’s a 4.9% transaction fee, plus credit card processing fees of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
Why We Like it:
NeonOne offers cloud-based donor management software for nonprofits of every shape and size. This is a good platform for growing nonprofits who want to engage with donors, manage memberships, and host events.
Some of NeonOne’s best features include:
- Relationship tracking
- Event registration
- Volunteer management
- Email marketing
- Grant management
- Survey-building tools
NeonOne also integrates with QuickBooks, MailChimp, and Constant Contact, which is helpful for many nonprofits who use those tools as well.
NeonOne’s website says it's best for small to medium-sized nonprofits who are looking to scale up their fundraising activities.
There are package options to meet every budget and price point!
For small nonprofits that need only the most basic features, pricing starts at $50 per month. The monthly cost increases to $200 for larger nonprofits that need more advanced features and tools.
NeonOne charges a processing fee of 2.9% which is deducted from all funds raised through their software. There’s also a $0.30 fee per transaction.
8. Fundraise Up
Why We Like It:
Fundraise Up is an amazing nonprofit donation platform for large, enterprise organizations. It’s trusted by some of the largest nonprofits across the globe, from UNICEF to Autism Speaks. That’s impressive!
Some top features of this platform include easy-to-understand reports that break down your donors’ behavior and help increase your online fundraising! It also offers analytics reporting and provides the ability to export your data so you can really dive in to understand who your donors are.
They also offer customizable forms, donation pages, embeddable donation buttons, and a comprehensive donor management portal.
Because of the increased functionality and price point, this donation platform is recommended for mid to large-size nonprofits.
What’s the cost? Good news—there are no setup fees, no monthly fees, and no contracts! Fundraise Up collects a small payment per transaction, however, donors can opt to cover all those fees. According to Fundraise Up’s website, 92% of donors choose to do this, making the cost to nonprofits much more manageable!
Why We Like It:
Qgiv is a good all-around option for securing donations. Nonprofits using Qgiv can create customized donation pages, utilize mobile giving, and manage peer-to-peer fundraising.
Other great features include mobile-friendly donation pages and customized donation receipts. You can also invest in a handheld kiosk to process on-site donations, which is great for hosting fundraising events!
Qgiv is best for small or mid-sized nonprofits that process less than $350,000 annually.
The Start version of Qgiv has no contracts or monthly fees—but it only offers basic features. Nonprofits pay a transaction fee of 3.95% and $0.30 for all donations received through the platform.
If you need more features, there are several package options with monthly or quarterly billing choices. These start as low as $10 per month and can reach up to $400 per month for advanced features. The great thing about Qgiv is that it is incredibly nimble—if you start with a free version and decide you need to increase to a higher package, it’s super easy to do so!
Why We Like It:
Want to know the coolest thing about Funraise? It was built by nonprofit professionals! Who knows what a nonprofit needs better than someone who has done fundraising at a nonprofit?
Funraise is targeted at growing nonprofits that need a flexible fundraising platform. It can handle high volumes of donations and can grow with you as your fundraising efforts scale up.
Funraise’s tools can support you with various activities, including donation forms, peer-to-peer fundraising, text-to-give, and automated emails.
Better yet—Funraise integrates with MailChimp, Constant Contact, Safe, Salesforce, QuickBooks, Stripe, PayPal, and Apple Pay. That’s a lot of integrations!
Anyone! Funraise gives you a ton of bang for your buck!
Let’s talk price—Funraise is unique in that it does not offer packages. Instead, you have to connect with them directly to get a customized quote that is individualized to your specific needs.
Why We Like It:
As the name suggests, Classy is a high-end donation platform (it’s like a Mercedes of online donations software!).
Classy offers mobile-friendly, high-converting donation pages that are totally customizable. It also offers a wide range of other fundraising tools, such as crowdfunding, recurring donations, event management, and peer-to-peer fundraising.
Classy is trusted by more than 6,000 nonprofits across the world, including the Cleveland Clinic, the United Nations Foundation, and FirstBook.
Classy is definitely a better fit for larger, more established nonprofits. It’s an incredible tool with a lot of functionality—but it is costly, and certainly geared toward organizations with an established fundraising function.
Classy offers a few payment options: you can “pay as you go”, or choose a monthly subscription payment option. Subscription plans start at $499 per month.
What to Avoid When Looking for a Donation Platform
Okay—we’ve talked through why you need a nonprofit donation platform, and we’ve shown you 11 of the best options on the market. But now we need to talk about what not to do when you’re considering investing in a nonprofit donation platform.
Here are some things you want to make sure you avoid:
1. Choosing a platform that only meets your needs RIGHT NOW.
Donation platforms are an incredible tool that ultimately will help make your job easier. But not every platform is a good fit for every nonprofit. Some platforms are best suited for smaller nonprofits with fewer donors, while others are meant for large, enterprise-sized organizations that receive millions of dollars in donations every year.
It’s really important that you understand what your needs are right now but also take future growth into consideration. Choosing a donations platform is an investment, both of your time and money—so if you choose one that works great for your organization today, but you outgrow it in a year, you’re going to have to make that initial investment all over again!
2. Choosing a platform with high fees.
One of the driving factors behind investing in a donations platform is to help increase the amount of donations your nonprofit receives, right? You want to generate more revenue so you can pay your staff, pay your bills, and grow! So you need to make sure that you choose a platform that you can afford.
Most platforms charge fees which will eat into your donations and impact your bottom line. These fees can be a monthly subscription fee, a percentage of each donation, a setup fee, or a transaction fee. That’s a lot of fees! Compare and contrast all your options (and their associated fees), and make sure you choose one that is affordable to you (and to your donors!).
3. Choosing a platform that doesn’t offer customization and integrations.
No two nonprofits are the same, so choosing a donations platform isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” decision. It’s important to choose a platform that allows you to customize and modify the tools to meet the needs of your nonprofit, now and in the future.
It’s also important to make sure the platform you choose integrates with other software that you use on a day-to-day basis. If you use Constant Contact for all your donor communication, but you choose a platform that only integrates with MailChimp, that creates more work for you in the long term.
4. Choosing a platform that doesn’t prioritize donor security.
It goes without saying that maintaining the integrity of your donor data should be of the utmost importance to you as a fundraising professional. It should be equally as important to your donations platform!
It’s important to choose an up-to-date platform with the latest security standards—this will give both you and your donors peace of mind that their information is safe.
5. Choosing a platform with subpar customer support!
Murphy’s Fifth Law tells us that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. This is as true in fundraising as it is in life! This means that you need to choose a donations platform that offers great customer support.
When the inevitable happens, you want to be able to reach someone quickly and easily. You should even consider choosing a platform that offers 24/7 service because fundraising events don’t always happen during the normal workweek. And what could be worse than a donation platform failing you during a huge fundraising event?
Wrapping Up: 11 Best Donation Platforms for Nonprofits
We gave you a lot of information in this article about nonprofit donation platforms! So what are the biggest takeaways? Let’s review:
- A nonprofit donation platform can streamline your fundraising processes, increase your number of donations, and make your life a LOT easier.
- There are 11 amazing platform options listed in this article - but there are also a lot more out there on the market! Take some time to review all your options and determine which platform is a great fit for your organization. If you can’t decide, that’s okay! Most of the platforms we listed offer free demos for nonprofits who are interested in learning more. What better way to learn than to see the platform in action?
- There are some definite “don’ts” to remember when choosing a donations platform. Keep these at the front of your mind during this process!
The sky is the limit in terms of the ways a donations platform can positively impact your nonprofit organization. We hope this article gave you some good tools and resources to use as you explore making this investment. Happy fundraising!