Short Reviews of Online Giving Tools
Knowledge Center
 

Short Reviews of Online Giving Tools

All nonprofit organizations should offer some type of secure online giving option. It wasn't long ago that people didn't purchase items on the internet. Or bank online. Or share lots of personal information online via social networks like Facebook. But now they do - and many expect the convenience of supporting their favorite nonprofits online as well.

If your constituents can't give to your organization online currently (or you are not happy with your current provider), please read on. We have reviewed a number of online giving options that nonprofits can utilize to offer their constituents a simple, secure way to donate online. These brief reviews are listed below with some basic details to help you understand the benefits and challenges with each option. For more detail, please follow the link provided to the appropriate vendor website. Click here to find a detailed comparison chart of each of these options. (Note: to print out a larger version that is easier to read, print in Landscape.)

What's the right solution for your organization? It depends on your budget, your expected number of online gifts, your need to integrate the form with your database, and your technical know-how.

Note that all of the options described below will bring your donor to a separate website to process their donations; other providers can implement a form integrated with your website, but the process usually takes more time and effort (and money) to implement. Some of the options listed here will customize the form to keep your website or organization branding very prominent; others do not.

That said, for organizations that need a simple option for their donors to give online, here are our recommendations:

  • If you are using DonorPerfect Online, speak to the Technology Program Team about implementing online giving through the Alumni Portal.
  • Consider Network for Good. Both of their options are easy to set up and somewhat competitively priced. Custom DonateNow in particular is fairly sophisticated. Using them also supports another nonprofit organization.
  • Consider PayPal. Its prices are among the lowest available, and users are aware of their brand. It is very easy to set up, although offers very little customization.

Amazon Simple Pay Donations

Amazon Simple Pay Donations are an easy-to-use and secure way for US-based, IRS-certified 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations to collect donations. This service allows Amazon's tens of millions of customers to donate using the information they already have on file with Amazon.com. The organization simply adds a donation button on their site and the user will be redirected to Amazon's server to checkout on.

Amazon Simple Pay Donations provide you the flexibility to define the amount of money donated by donors. You can set a fixed or minimum amount or let donors choose the donation amount. You can collect amounts as small as $1.00.

A benefit of using Amazon Simply Pay is Amazon's brand image. Many users have already placed an order with Amazon at one time or another. This makes the checkout process easier as they will have a credit card already registered with Amazon.

Pros:

  • Trust in the security of the process. Donors will recognize the Amazon brand. Most likely have an account and can make a quick donation.
  • Fees are reasonable and competitive.

Cons:

  • There is no customization of the checkout form.
  • Users must leave the organization's website to donate.

Misc. Features

  • Additional Input Boxes:
    • Yes
  • Look and Feel Customization:
    • None
  • Level of tech/programming knowledge needed to implement/customize:
    • Beginner

Fees:
2.9% + $0.30 processing fee

Site:
http://www.Amazon.com

 

BlackbaudNow

 

BlackbaudNow seamlessly integrates online giving with PayPal. The service includes WebNow, a tool to easily create a basic website (including an online giving form); DonorNow, a very basic constituent/gift management database; and EmailNow, which offers basic email functionality. These services can help an organization just getting started with online giving cultivate its donors, display its cause online, and accept online donations via credit card or PayPal account. BlackbaudNow can also be used to set up a "microsite" for a specific fundraising cause or event.

Blackbaud gives an organization its own subdomain (http://you.bbnow.org). The page is white labeled, meaning there is no Blackbaud branding on the site.

Pros:

  • Offers a free integrated website in addition to an online giving form.
  • Very simple donor management system is built in.

Cons:

  • If you already have a website, look at other tools to integrate online giving with your current brand.
  • Relatively expensive per transaction fees.

Misc. Features

  • Additional Input Boxes:
    • No
  • Look and Feel Customization:
    • Moderate customization is available with a selection of templates.
  • Level of tech/programming knowledge needed to implement/customize:
    • Beginner

Fees:
4.95% + $0.30 processing fee

Site:
http://www.bbnow.org

 

Click & Pledge

 
Click & Pledge offers a strong online giving solution. By placing a button on your website, the donor will be redirected to Click & Pledge servers to go through the robust checkout area that allows you to collect as much (or little) information as you want from your donors. You can customize the colors and include your own header image as well.

Click & Pledge offers some integration with a variety of tools. Please see their website for more information.

Pros:

  • Organizations are able to sell items as well as collect donations.
  • Supports Pledges.

Cons:

  • American Express per transaction fees are extremely high. (8.5% + $0.30)

Misc. Features

  • Additional Input Boxes:
    • Yes
  • Look and Feel Customization:
    • Offers extensive customization with colors and custom images.
  • Level of tech/programming knowledge needed to implement/customize:
    • Beginner

Fees:

Premium Premium Global
Setup Fee: $0 $150
Monthly Fee: $5 $25
Processing Fee: 4.5% + $0.30 4.5% + $0.30
(Fees for Discover, JCB, MasterCard, and VISA)
American Express: 8.5% + $0.30 processing fee

Site:
http://www.clickandpledge.com

 

DonorPerfect Online (DPO) WebLink

DonorPerfect Online (DPO) WebLink allows organizations using DPO as its donor management system to offer customized, integrated online donations and events forms. Reviewing, accepting and downloading data from completed forms is quick and easy using WebLink's Review and Acceptance Center.

Simple forms are limited to standard background colors (you choose from 5-6) and standard fields (Name, Address, Phone, Email) + up to 5 Custom Fields.

The direct integration with DPO comes at a cost. You'll be spending almost $1000 before you even get your first donation.

Please also note that organizations working with the Grinspoon Institute can implement a donations form as part of our Alumni Portal; this form also integrates with DPO but doesn't require the high setup and annual fees. Please contact the Technology Program team if you have questions.

Pros:

  • Direct integration with DPO.
  • Offers support for pledges.

Cons:

  • High setup and annual costs.

Misc. Features

  • Additional Input Boxes:
    • Yes (up to 5)
  • Look and Feel Customization:
    • Form is made to resemble your site with colors and images.
  • Level of tech/programming knowledge needed to implement/customize:
    • N/A. Setup fee includes customization completed by DPO.

Fees:

Setup Fee: $395
Yearly Fee: $480
Tribute Processing: $50
Merchant Account Fee: 2.99% + $0.35 + $10 monthly statement fee
*Note: This is a sample Merchant Account fee (from a DPO-recommended vendor). Other Merchant Accounts may have different setup, monthly, and transaction fees.

Site:
http://www.donorperfect.com

 

Firstgiving

 

Firstgiving offers nonprofits and even its constituents the ability to create easy to use donation forms to collect funds online. Constituents who wish to promote a cause for an organization can do so easily by searching for the organization they wish to solicit funds for and then customizing the form to include specific text, images, and video files. When funds are received, they are automatically sent to the organization without any user interaction.

Supporters can make a direct donation to the organization or they can create a fundraising team page.

Pros:

  • You can add YouTube video and Flickr pictures to your donation page to help support your cause.
  • Thermometer that shows goal progress can include offline donations as well.
  • Form can be setup by anyone interested in soliciting for the organization.

Cons:

  • High per transaction fees. (7.5%)
  • Does not support pledge, recurring gifts, or honorariums/tributes.
  • Cannot add custom fields to form.

Misc. Features

  • Additional Input Boxes:
    • No
  • Look and Feel Customization:
    • Customization is limited to videos and images. Colors can not be changed.
  • Level of tech/programming knowledge needed to implement/customize:
    • Beginner

Fees:

Processing Fee: 7.5%
Annual Fee: $300
*Additional benefits includes: Branding on your page, event registration, & fundraising teams.

Site:
http://www.firstgiving.com

 

Google Checkout

 
Google Checkout is Google's online giving option. The price is low, but you will sacrifice features found with other services. Organizations can direct users to make a donation with a button on the organizations website. The user will then be redirected to Google's servers where they must have a Google account or register for one on the spot in order to complete the donation process. Google has simply repurposed their Shopping Cart to collect donations.

Pros:

  • Low per transaction fees. (2.9% + $0.30)
  • If users have a Google account, will speed up checkout process.
  • Can integrate with Google Analytics.

Cons:

  • The cart can be confusing as it shows quantity ordered and asks about the shipping address.
  • Limited features and customization.

Misc. Features

  • Additional Input Boxes:
    • No
  • Look and Feel Customization:
    • Not available.
  • Level of tech/programming knowledge needed to implement/customize:
    • Beginner

Fees:
2.9% + $0.30 processing fee

Site:
http://www.google.com/checkout

 

JustGive

 

JustGive.org makes it easy for any charity to accept donations online. A charity that doesn't have the technical know-how or the budget to pay high transaction fees can turn to JustGive.org for its simple solution.

JustGive offers a clean interface in which your constituents will be able to easily make a quick donation to your organization. JustGive supports recurring gifts and honors/tributes. One turnoff of the service is they ask for an additional $3 donation on the checkout page for their own organization.

Pros:

  • Low per transaction fees. (3%)
  • Offers recurring gifts.

Cons:

  • Asks your donors to donate to Justgive.org during checkout.

Misc. Features

  • Additional Input Boxes:
    • No
  • Look and Feel Customization:
    • Not available.
  • Level of tech/programming knowledge needed to implement/customize:
    • Beginner

Fees:
3% processing fee

Site:
http://www.justgive.org

 

Network for Good

 
Network for Good offers non-profits an easy way to collect donations online. It is affiliated with Guidestar, so all nonprofits are already listed with the service. Network for Good offers three different levels of service, DonateNow Lite, DonateNow, and DonateNow Deluxe, with distinct levels of customization and pricing. It's basic per transaction fees are relatively high, but the service can be cheaper than other services in situations where the user chooses to pay the credit card processing fee. In addition, Network for Good ensures that you can legally accept donations from donors in any U.S. state.

Network for Good's DonateNow Lite page offers an average online donations form with a unique tipping pricing structure. The processing fee is passed onto the donor by requesting a "tip" of 5 to 15% to cover Network for Good's costs . No other fees or monthly charges apply. DonateNow & DonateNow Deluxe offers a customized donation page. The processing fee is a low 3% with a setup fee of $199 and $49.95 or $99 respectively; the user is not asked for a tip..

DonateNow Lite DonateNow & DonateNow Deluxe
Pros:
  • Offers recurring gifts.
  • Donors have the option to cover the credit card processing fee on their transaction.
  • Offers recurring gifts.
  • Pages resemble your website design.
  • Single page donation form.
Cons:
  • No customization.
  • Multiple page donation form.
  • Relatively high per transaction fees.
  • Relatively high setup and monthly fees.

Misc. Features

  • Additional Input Boxes:
    • Yes
  • Look and Feel Customization:
    • Customized donations pages to match the look of your site. (DonateNow & DonateNow Deluxe only)
  • Level of tech/programming knowledge needed to implement/customize:
    • Beginner

Fees:

DonateNow Lite DonateNow/DonateNow Deluxe
Setup Fee: $0 $199
Monthly Fee: $0 $49.95 / $99
Processing Fee: 5, 10, or 15%* 3%

*When they make a gift, donors are presented with three options to make a "tip for good" to Network for Good - a 5%, 10% or 15% tip - that they can add to their donation. A minimum "tip" of 5% is required. This will help Network for Good support the expense of maintaining the technology to process and distribute your donations without having to pass those costs on to you.

Site:
http://www.networkforgood.org

PayPal Website Payments Standard

 
PayPal is one of the most recognized and trustworthy online payment gateways available on the Internet. PayPal offers some of the lowest fees as well. PayPal has multiple options to accept payments and donations through your current website or through PayPal's own website. We focus on PayPal Website Payments Standard here - we believe it is the most appropriate PayPal option for a majority of the organizations we work with.

PayPal Website Payments Standard makes it easy for you to place a "Donate Now" button on your site and then have your constituent redirected to the PayPal website to complete the donation process.

Pros:

  • Secure; Well recognized brand.
  • Users can donate without creating an account.
  • Low per transaction fees. (2.2% + $0.30)

Cons:

  • Website Payments Standard offers limited form customization.

Misc. Features

  • Additional Input Boxes:
    • Yes
  • Look and Feel Customization:
    • Limited customization.
  • Level of tech/programming knowledge needed to implement/customize:
    • Beginner

Fees:
2.2% + $0.30 processing fee

Site:
http://www.PayPal.com

 

Sage Donate Now

 
Sage, who is best known for credit card processing, now offers a solution geared towards non-profits looking to accept donations. Sage offers one time and recurring credit card and check donations. The checkout process takes place on Sage's server and allows the organization limited customization of the form such as colors, logo, and where the user is sent after checkout.

Pros:

  • Relatively low monthly and per transaction fees (for customized form).
  • Supports donation allocation and fund designation.
  • Users don't have to register in order to donate.

Cons:

  • Limited customization (but more than other low-cost providers).

Misc. Features

  • Additional Input Boxes:
    • Yes
  • Look and Feel Customization:
    • Fonts and colors may be customized.
  • Level of tech/programming knowledge needed to implement/customize:
    • Intermediate

Fees:

Setup Fee $75
Monthly Fee $6
Per Transaction Approx. 2.3% (2.5% for AMEX) + $0.10 per transaction

Site:
http://www.sagepayments.com