Online Fundraising Basics: Part 1
If you’ve decided now is the time to start accepting online donations for your nonprofit, but you aren’t sure where to start, this is the lesson for you. Perhaps you’ve done a bit of research and quickly found there are many choices when it comes to accepting online donations. So what do you do? What will work best for your nonprofit? We’ll show you where to start.
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 suited for various situations. Before you decide, 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 you 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 setup process or on an ongoing basis.
- Do you have a technician—someone who can figure out your technology needs?
- Will you know if the system you have is working properly?
Balance the cost of transaction and processing fees versus 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 you can be confident you’ve done things the right way to accept online donations.