Lesson 1 in the course Online Fundraising Basics
If you’ve decided that now is the time for you to start accepting online donations for your nonprofit, but aren’t sure where to start, this is the lesson for you. Perhaps you’ve done a bit of research and have quickly found that there are many choices when it comes to accepting online donations. So, what do you do? What works best for your nonprofit? In this lesson, I’ll cover the first steps you must cover when it comes to accepting online donations.
Read the full lesson below:
Where to Begin: Needs Assessment
To begin accepting donations online, you will need to select a payment processing method that will help your organization achieve its fundraising goals. There are many options that are suited for various situations. Before you decide, you should ask yourself a few questions.
First, what type of online fundraising are you looking to conduct?
- Accepting one-time donations
- Accepting recurring donations
- Goal-based campaigns
- Campaigns conducted by independent fundraisers
Second, what will you need your payment interface to do?
- Collect online donations
- Process ticket sales
- Collect donor contact information
- Swipe credit cards for merchant sales
- Process recurring Automated Check Handling (ACH) or bank withdrawals
Your donation tracking can be significantly simpler and faster if you only use one payment platform for all of your donations. Identify what is a “must have” so you can focus on systems that are the most cost-effective for your needs.
You should also evaluate your staffing, as some platforms are turn-key ready, while others require more staffing support in the set-up process or in an ongoing basis.
- Do you have a technician; someone who can figure out your technology needs?
- Will you be able to recognize that the system you have set up is working properly?
Balance the cost of transaction and processing fees vs. convenience, flexibility, and time saved.
Now that you have identified your needs and capabilities, in the next lesson we will go into detail about the different types of platforms available to accept donations online, as well as a description of each, so that you can be confident that you’ve done things the right way with accepting online donations.