Online donations have become crucial over the last few years. People don't carry cash or checks anymore, and they expect you to have quick and easy online giving tools at your location or fundraising events. But how do you ensure more online donations in 2023? We have 5 essential tips and 9 proven steps to help your organization get more online donations this year and beyond!
Your organization may have already gotten comfortable accepting donations online by now, especially post-pandemic; but are you taking all the essential measures to boost your online donations?
The situation has shifted – older, as well as new generations, have now become used to virtual or hybrid events. They’re also more confident about online payment methods like card payments, bank transfers, digital wallets, and more. So now, it becomes your responsibility to offer them all these ways to easily increase your online donations!
Do you know revenue from individual online donations has risen by 19% over the past year?
This is quite inevitable – because online systems are quickly becoming the favorite way of making a donation. The ease of giving on the go, knowing it is successfully done, receiving an instant receipt – all this has made your donors want to give online.
This article will discuss the pro tips to collect donations online and the 9 essential steps to raise more donations online –
First, let us go through the some tips to effectively accept donations online.
The Best Way to Accept Donations Online [5 Pro Tips]
Before you can boost online donations, you need a system set up to make the process easier. These 5 pro tips will help you establish that for your organization.
1. Choose an online fundraising system
Collecting donations online is easier than many realize. To start with, you need a donation page either on your website or hosted outside and a donation form. Your donors will use this form on the page to make the donation online.
To make this happen, you’d need to choose an online fundraising system for your organization. It should be able to meet your fundraising needs, must be easy to use for you and the donors, and should grow to help scale up your fundraising with time.
On Donorbox, you can sign up for free – no contracts or monthly fees involved! You can then create unlimited fundraising campaigns including donation pages and forms. These forms are embeddable on your website – you can even add them as popups to your website!
Moreover, our giving system is donor-friendly. They can use credit/debit cards, bank transfers, as well as digital wallets like Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc. to complete their donation. Donorbox UltraSwift™ Pay comes enabled with every new campaign – it ensures that donors don’t have to enter their information during giving. It will reduce your donor drop-off rates. And don’t worry – we’ll collect the donor details from the digital wallet they choose to donate with!
Look at this live example – Supporters can easily & quickly make a donation using this super fast donation form on Donorbox!
Accepting donations online is just the beginning. Your online donation tool must include a donor and donation management system. This is essential for strengthening relationships with donors and raising more funds.
Donorbox doubles up as donor management system that securely collects and stores your donor and donation data on the tool. You can access them easily, add offline donors/donations, update any details, segment data, create and pull donor reports, and more.
In addition to storing your donor data and letting you manage that, Donorbox also seamlessly integrates with leading CRM tools like Salesforce, Blackbaud Re NXT, HubSpot, and 2000+ other apps via Zapier. These integrations ensure that you face absolutely no limitation when it comes to utilizing the data for significant tasks.
3. Send tax receipts
A nonprofit fundraiser’s time is limited, and they must spend it efficiently. Online donation tools that automate donation and tax receipts are a good use of money for an organization.
Your donors should automatically and instantly receive their donation receipts right after they’ve given. By sending these receipts, you’ll also be helping them easily file their donation tax forms.
On Donorbox, you get to customize your donation receipts for each fundraising campaign. Donorbox also lets you test your receipt emails to help the customization process. Here’s how simple this process is –
You can also easily customize your year-end tax receipts on Donorbox. These receipts come attached with a PDF file that includes the total giving of the donor. After customizing, you can send these receipts to selected or all donors through the click of a button. Read this step-by-step guide to learn more.
4. Promote different ways to give online
After choosing an online donation system and having all tools in place, it is vital to promote the options to donate online to your donors.
Your online fundraising platform should let you accept online donations in more ways than one. For example, with Donorbox, you can get to use crowdfunding, peer-to-peer fundraising, text-to-give, recurring donations, event ticketing, and more ways to boost online donations.
Our donor management system allows you to segment your donors. Split these online donors into small, medium, and large donors and send emails to each group. Find out their giving abilities and send personalized appeals including suggested donation amounts.
Use email marketing, social media, fundraising calls, and more methods to promote your online campaigns to supporters. Be sure to educate them on anything new you’re trying out and include inspiring stories of impact.
5. Take feedback and improve
You need to stay in touch with your supporters throughout the process. More so, after they’ve made a donation. There are high chances of losing a donor if you don’t.
Have your staff and volunteers reach out to them and take their feedback. Note down any suggestions and complaints the donors might have. Your donor management system should let you add these details to the individual donor records. That way, you’d always be on top of necessary information and feedback.
Donorbox lets you add communication notes to your donor records. You can select the channel and direction of communication and type details. This helps keep track of all communications ever made with the supporter. Your team can access them and make improvements accordingly.
9 Proven Steps to Collect More Online Donations
After choosing an online donation system that provides ways to collect donations, store donor and donation information, and create different campaigns online, it is time to start accepting online donations. Here are the 9 proven steps to do that in an effective way!
1. Create a customized donation form
Donation forms can be created for general donations and individual campaigns. They’re usually added to your donation page to help make donations. The main aim of your donation form should be to drive online donations in the simplest and fastest way possible.
Online donation forms should not overwhelm the donor. Create a simple donation form with no more than 3-4 steps. Collect only the necessary donor information. Add some donation-boosting features such as suggested amounts, donation tiers, donation designation, memorial donations, company matching widget, and recurring donation intervals.
With Donorbox, you can add all these options. Also, our UltraSwift™ Pay makes giving superfast for your donors by including digital wallets and eliminating the need for inputting personal information. You can customize our donation forms to fit your nonprofit brand, add additional questions, and embed them on your website. You also get to add our forms as popup to your website. Read this step-by-step guide to know the different ways you can use the Donorbox donation form.
The below donation form is embedded in Vibrant‘s website donation page. Look at how they’ve customized the form to include their brand color and features that are sure to drive more online donations –
2. Set up a crowdfunding page for specific programs & needs
Crowdfunding campaigns help raise funds from a crowd of people who usually donate in small amounts and can help reach the fundraising goal within a specific window of time. Such campaigns have great potential for shareability and can be highly beneficial for smaller nonprofits looking for more outreach and raising more money from small donations.
Online donation tools like Donorbox let you create customizable crowdfunding pages that are packed with storytelling and online shareability potential. You can add your logo, images, videos, and brand color. There are separate tabs on the page to post updates and highlight donors’ gifts. Your campaign visitors will be able to subscribe to the campaign updates. You can send update emails right from the campaign page. You’ll also get to include a goal thermometer to add a sense of urgency to the campaign.
Check out this live example from The Majority’s crowdfunding campaign that is successfully running on the Donorbox platform.
3. Add recurring donation intervals to your donation form
As a nonprofit, there are few things better than a recurring donor. Recurring donations can be collected daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually.
The convenience of automatically collecting these donations gives donors and nonprofits peace of mind. Donors do not have to waste their time visiting your website each month to donate, and your organization can count on these donations and add them to its budget each year.
With Donorbox, you can easily customize your donation form to add recurring intervals. You’ll be able to add up to 4 different intervals from the ones available on the platform – daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly.
With that said, finding and maintaining recurring donors can be a difficult task. You must know what it takes to turn a one-time donor into a recurring donor and how to retain them year after year. Watch this video for the 7 pro tips on how to turn your one-time donors into recurring givers.
4. Enable peer-to-peer fundraising for online campaigns
Your online fundraising campaigns can be boosted for outreach, engagement, and donations with a peer-to-peer fundraising option. The idea is simple – you invite your best supporters including donors, volunteers, board members, family, and friends to fundraise for your campaign. They create their own online fundraising pages and reach out to their networks to raise money for your cause.
Your online donation system should automate the process as much as possible. Like, with Donorbox, you can enable peer-to-peer for a campaign by simply toggling a switch. You get to invite supporters right from the tool with names and email addresses. The invitees will be guided on the tool to create and customize their fundraising campaigns. You can also add a button to your campaign saying “I want to fundraise for this” to let visitors opt to fundraise for you. You’ll be able to approve such campaign requests.
Your peer-to-peer campaign on Donorbox also lists the top fundraisers, thus acknowledging their efforts and acting as social proof.
With such powerful features, this Donorbox product is enabling nonprofits to substantially boost their online donations. For example, The Brighton Jones Richer Life Foundation has raised a whopping $211,383 in donations with peer-to-peer fundraising on Donorbox.
We have a list of more such successful peer-to-peer campaign examples to inspire your online fundraising – give it a read here.
Pro tip: Reward your fundraisers every time. You can call out their names at an event, give them gifts, highlight their story on your social media pages, and also mention their names in your monthly newsletters.
5. Create a donation matching campaign
Do you know corporations gave over $20 billion to nonprofits last year?
This means with company donation matching, you can double and even triple your online donations. All you have to do is enable donors to find out if their employers will match their donations to your nonprofit. How do you do it? By adding a search widget to your donation form!
Donorbox has partnered with Double the Donation to make this a breeze for you! Just enable the donation matching option on Donorbox. You’ll receive a search page link as well as a copy-paste code to easily embed the donation matching widget on your website. Alternatively (and for better results), you should create a campaign and add this widget to your donation form. Now, promote your campaign and let donors help you multiply your donations.
The rest of the process is very easy. Donors search for their employers and complete the donation. They receive details from Donorbox to complete the process at their end. Simple and hassle-free!
Check out this live example of a Donorbox donation form including a donation matching widget.
Pro tip: Show your donors the impact of a multiplied donation! Tell them what a $20 gift can do in comparison to a $10 gift. It is only then that they’ll want to help you double your donations through a donation matching campaign. We have a guide here to help you create and promote your donation matching campaign.
6. Utilize a goal meter to reach your goal faster
A great way to add a sense of urgency to your online campaigns is to include a goal meter on the landing page and any communication piece you send to donors. Goal meters, or fundraising thermometers, are a visual way to track how a campaign is doing. These goal meters should be added to all types of campaigns including crowdfunding and peer-to-peer ones. This is the easiest way to tell your visitors or donors that they can help push your nonprofit to the fundraising goal by making a donation or giving more.
Many people are visual learners, and this image of how a campaign is doing encourages action quicker than any verbal post will do. Your supporters would love to donate more than they otherwise would just to help you cross that goal. For example, this online campaign below has successfully raised way more than they set out to raise initially.
7. Use text-to-give during events
You might think the only way you get to raise money with an event is through ticket sales. But that doesn’t have to be the case. There are many ways you can increase event conversion and accept more online donations – the first being text-to-give!
While speaking about your mission, let attendees know how they can make a donation quickly through their smartphones. Donorbox Text-to-Give offers you a unique campaign ID and a texting number. Share it with your attendees. Ask them to send that ID to the number. They’ll receive a link to your mobile-friendly campaign page to complete the donation. Repeating the donation becomes even simpler – no need to go to that donation page again! Here’s how it works –
8. Make online giving fast and convenient for donors
No matter how many different campaigns and events you run, if your online giving process isn’t simple and fast, you will end up losing donors and online donations. Your donation process needs to have fewer steps and multiple payment methods.
Some donors may not like to enter their personal details such as name, address, phone number, etc. More so because that takes up a lot of time. With younger donors, that might be a bigger problem. So how do you intend to keep their attention on the donation form?
Offer them what they want – convenience and speed! Let your donors choose from multiple payment methods including digital wallets, card payments, and bank transfers. Use a superfast payment feature like Donorbox UltraSwift™ Pay to remove the step for inputting personal information. Donorbox anyway picks up these details from their chosen digital wallets.
Check out this example here – the form lets donors proceed with PayPal or continue to other payment options.
Pro tip: Thinking about your donors is the first step to ensuring more online donations. You can even run a survey with your supporters to find out which giving methods make them feel more comfortable, what might be missing at your end, and how they want to see you improve.
9. Share your donation page in fundraising letters
Just because your nonprofit is collecting donations online does not mean all your solicitations should be online. Many nonprofits have a large number of donors who are older and more comfortable with mailed solicitation letters. By reaching out to them the way they are comfortable, you have already started to build trust.
Fundraising letters can encourage online donations by simply mentioning the option and including a link in the letter or email. A better option is to add a QR code to the letter, that links to the online donation page. You should explain what different payment options are there and why they are more secure and reliable.
Giving them facts about the safety and convenience of online giving can encourage more donors to try this new option. Sharing details about your online system’s fraud prevention and protection services can assure them that your organization cares about their concerns. Online fundraising tools usually take care of security and fraud prevention at all times and provide extra support.
Fundraising letters can be a powerful tool to collect more donations online and offline. While you prepare your letters, remember to personalize them and add details that hold the donors’ attention. Have your team make a follow-up call to understand if they have further concerns and to guide them if they’re interested in making an online donation.
Donors are more comfortable giving online, and this trend is only growing. By choosing not to add online giving to your website, you are missing out on thousands of dollars. Accepting donations online is not as difficult or expensive as it once was. These simple steps and tips for accepting donations online will help you improve your online giving.
And while you do that, Donorbox is there to help you with its powerful yet simple online fundraising features! We’ve helped 50,000+ organizations raise over $1.6 billion in donations. You can also start your journey in just 4 simple steps – sign up now!
For more fundraising tips, ideas, and best practices, visit our Nonprofit Blog. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a curated list of our best resources directly in your inbox every month!
Kristine Ensor is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience working with local and international nonprofits. As a nonprofit professional she has specialized in fundraising, marketing, event planning, volunteer management, and board development.