9 Steps to Collect More Online Donations [2022] | Donorbox

9 Steps to Collect More Online Donations [2022] | Donorbox

accept donations online

Cash and check donations are mailed or collected at events. Your organization may have a large number of older donors who are comfortable with the check and cash system, but the pandemic has limited many of these options. Older, as well as new generations, have now become used to virtual or hybrid events. They find it easy to donate from their mobile devices with just a few clicks and the assurance of improved security. As per the latest statistics, online giving has grown by 12.1% and there has been a whopping 50% increase in the number of transactions completed through mobile. This holds true for all kinds of events and campaigns.

Online systems are quickly becoming the favorite way of collecting donations. The ease of making a donation on the go, knowing it is successfully done, receiving an automated and instant receipt – all this has made your donors want to give online. To accept these donations, your organization will need a system to collect donations on your website, store donor information, and promote these new ways of giving.

This article will walk you through the 9 steps to help you easily raise more donations online.

  1. Create a donation form
  2. Set up a crowdfunding page
  3. Enable recurring donations
  4. Add a peer-to-peer fundraising option
  5. Encourage company gift matching
  6. Create urgency with a goal meter
  7. Launch a text-to-give campaign
  8. Make online giving simple and quick
  9. Share your donation page in fundraising letters

Before we get on to the steps, it is also important for you to know the best way to collect donations online. Let’s have a look.

The Best Way to Collect Donations Online [5 Tips]

accept donations online

Before you can benefit from online donations, you need a system set up to make the process easier. Collecting donations is only part of it. As you research online donation systems, you will need to find one that helps with donor management and soliciting and automatically scheduling some of these actions.

1. Collect donations

Collecting donations online is easier than many realize. To start with, you need a donation form. Then, there are several processing systems out there like PayPal and Stripe. Donors can use credit or debit cards to make their gifts. There are other popular options such as ACH bank transfer, SEPA, and Direct Debit payments using bank accounts. You can also give them options to donate via digital wallets.

Processing fees are usually included with these transactions, but your online donation tool should let your donors choose to cover the processing fee, so you get to make the most of their donations. When it comes to collecting donations, you need to open multiple paths for all types of your donors to boost online fundraising efforts.

2. Have a storage system

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, managing donors and donation data, and raising more funds.

Donor management systems that include donor records, donor segmentation, tracking and reporting tools, and dedicated donor accounts will significantly benefit your organization. It should also let you integrate seamlessly with utility and communication tools that are essential for managing and marketing efforts.

Your online donation tool should do more than just store information; it should be able to use these details to help you drive more donations and maintain better relationships. For e.g., Donorbox lets donors manage their recurring plans on their profiles, check and download donation receipts, and QuickDonate to repeat a donation from their mobile devices on the go.

3. Automate processes

A nonprofit fundraiser’s time is limited, and they must spend it efficiently. Online donation tools that automate some actions are a good use of money for an organization. Accepting online donations and storing donor information can be highly automated with the right online donation tool.

Donor gifts that can be collected online weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually will impress your donors and make life easier for your staff. Your tool should automatically deduct the amount from their preferred payment system and send them donation receipts. In addition to these, Donorbox also includes a list on its dashboard called “Moments” for nonprofits to know about giving anniversaries of their donors, first-time giving, and changes to recurring donations. These moments will help you reach out to donors and create a lasting relationship with them. Donation receipts should also be automated to put less stress on your staff.

Your online fundraising tool should let you seamlessly integrate with other utility tools and software. Tools like Salesforce, Zapier, MailChimp, etc. make managing donors, analyzing donor data, and communication easier with automation. Some integrations with tools like Double the Donation can also help you attain matching gifts effortlessly. It is necessary to choose an online donation tool that takes care of all this and more.

Automated processes make raising more donations online easy and manageable for you and your nonprofit.

4. Promote ways to give online

After choosing an online donation system and having all tools in place, it is vital to promote the option to donate online to your donors. If your donor management system allows you to segment your donors, you can send targeted campaigns to your donors.

Easily find donors who have given online already. Split these donors into small, medium, and large donors and send emails to each group. You can create donation forms that include amounts that are targeted to each group and programs that appeal to specific donors. Also, if your staff makes calls to these donors, the fundraising scripts should be personalized for different donor groups. Personalized appeals are sure to touch hearts and create a better impression.

Your nonprofit should definitely use social media to promote ways to donate online. Let your followers know which campaigns they can donate to and how. Use catchy images and videos and add donation links to your every post. You should ask your volunteers and best supporters to share these posts and help give a boost to your online fundraising.

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. They can 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.

You do not have to use all their feedback to improve your online donation tools and the process. But they will give you an idea of what your donors expect and gradually, you need to bring them that to ensure increased donations. For example, someone might suggest that they were expecting a smoother online donation process, faster payment options. Someone else might have been put off by not receiving any impact information. And someone might just tell your staff what they found more convenient on a different nonprofit donation page or form.

9 Simple & Proven Steps to Collect More Donations Online

how to receive donations

After choosing an online donation system that provides ways to collect donations, store donor and donation information, and promote campaigns online, it is time to start accepting donations online. Here are the 9 most simple and effective steps to collect donations online.

1. Create a donation form to drive online donations.

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. Collect only the necessary donor information and if possible, include donation amounts that fit within the donor’s budget. Donorbox donation forms make it easy to collect donations online with suggested amounts, donation tiers, memorial donations, company matching gifts, and recurring donation options.

With Donorbox UltraSwift Pay, your donors get to skip the step in which they have to input their personal details. And they can quickly choose the digital wallet they want to use to make a donation. This makes giving a breeze and you get to reduce donor drop-off rates.

Online fundraising tools will usually offer you two different donation forms to use for your organization. Embedded and pop-up forms each have pros and cons. Choosing which form to use and when to use it depends on your goals.

1.1 Embedded forms

Embedded forms are located on your website’s donation pages. Each email and social media campaign your organization sends out will link donors to a landing page on your website. These pages are an essential part of marketing to new donors. These pages are another way to answer questions and give website visitors more information on your organization.

Use the donation page links on every communication piece including letters, emails, and social media posts. Your website homepage should necessarily have a button to help donors navigate to the donation page and the embedded form.

Once your donors have reached your landing page and have decided to donate, an embedded form is the best option to collect online donations. These forms can also be branded to match the rest of your website. Embedded forms can also gather more information than pop-ups and are better for new donors. Collect donor names, addresses, and emails along with information on programs that most interest them. Here’s what an embedded Donorbox donation form looks like on a nonprofit website –

collect donations online

1.2 Pop-up forms

Pop-up donation forms are meant for those who know they want to donate. There is no extra room on these forms to convince donors, so they work as a call to action for donors. Pop-up forms can be most effective when the timing is right. Use this form to encourage visitors arriving or leaving your website to make donations online.

Popup donation forms are usually linked with a button, preferably, your donation button. So, they’re accessible from any page on your website. This can be a great opportunity for you to encourage people to donate without having to first guide them to the donation page.

truthout.org makes the most of a Donorbox popup form to encourage their website visitors to donate to their cause quickly.

accept donations online

Get Started With Donorbox

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. Organizations have found the most success with crowdfunding when used to raise funds for specific programs, equipment, research, mission trips, and other urgent needs.

It is rare to find someone who has not seen a crowdfunding campaign online. Whether these campaigns ask for donations in place of birthday gifts or are meant to collect money for a family facing tough times, people are becoming more comfortable asking their friends and family for donations. These campaigns have gained popularity because of how easy it is to share these campaigns. After seeing how many people started to use crowdfunding to raise necessary funds for individuals, nonprofits began to jump on the bandwagon. Crowdfunding is quickly becoming the first choice for many fundraisers.

Online donation tools like Donorbox offers crowdfunding pages that can be customized for each campaign. Nonprofits can tell the organization’s story and share pictures and videos on the crowdfunding page. They can post regular updates to the page about the campaign’s progress. There are options to allow visitors/potential donors to subscribe and send them personal emails to encourage donor involvement. With Donorbox, nonprofits can also add a donor wall to appreciate gifts and social media buttons for maximum outreach.

See how successfully Seeds Wilderness Therapy is running a crowdfunding campaign on Donorbox to help families with struggling teens.

accept donations

3. Enable recurring donations for a reliable stream of funds.

As a nonprofit, there are few things better than a recurring donor. Recurring donations can be collected weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. These donations are reliable and can add to an organization’s annual budget.

These donors are also primed for relationship building. They have already shown they trust your organization enough to give regularly. The more you learn about these donors, the deeper your relationship with them can grow.

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.

Online fundraising tools that collect recurring donations are easy to come by, but some systems, like Donorbox, offer more benefits to donors. With a login and password, donors can upgrade and manage their recurring donations themselves. Nonprofits can see on the dashboard when such changes occur or when a donor has canceled recurring donations. This way, they can reach out to them to get their feedback and understand the reason. Such an online donation tool will help improve your fundraising efforts.

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. Add a peer-to-peer fundraising option to boost donations.

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, volunteers, board members, family, and friends to fundraise for your campaign. They create their own online fundraising campaigns and reach out to their network to help raise money online for your cause. This way, you get to give them a chance to become more involved within the organization, raise more funds, and acquire new donors. Imagine the impact!

You should add peer-to-peer fundraising to all your events and campaigns to boost your online fundraising. You already have a strong group of supporters – your board members, volunteers, friends, and family. Encourage them to spread the word while also helping you get extra funds.

Your online donation system should automate the process as much as possible. Like, with Donorbox, you can achieve all this just by toggling a switch. Your online fundraising campaign gets a button added to it saying “I want to fundraise for this”. People clicking it will be guided to create their own fundraising campaigns. Also, 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. All this can happen in minutes and you’ll be all set to boost donations.

Here’s an example of a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Image 1 shows the parent campaign with a button to help fundraise and the 2nd image shows one of the child campaigns created from it.

Image 1 – 

Image 2 – 

Pro tip: Reward your fundraisers every time. You can call out their names at the event, give them gifts, highlight their story on your social media pages, and also mention their names in your monthly newsletters.

5. Encourage matching gift programs and multiply donations.

Many corporations offer a matching gift as an extra employee benefit. You’ll be surprised to know that over 18 million people work for companies that offer matching gift benefits. This option can help nonprofits double or even triple the donors’ donations by simply enabling them to find out if their companies are on the list.

Donorbox has partnered with Double the Donation to make adding this to your donation form/website easier, as shown in the below image. A matching gift widget like this added to your donation form will intrigue donors to search for their company names. As soon as they make the donation, they’ll receive the necessary details to complete the process. Thus, your nonprofit won’t have to put in a lot of effort to receive the matching gift.

accept donations online

Another way to encourage more donations is by starting a campaign highlighting a company’s matching gift. If you have built a relationship with a local business and formed a community partnership, ask if they are willing to match a campaign’s donation amount in exchange for free advertising. Many companies are open to this option instead of another event sponsorship.

Once you have the company’s buy-in, you can start sending out communication pieces asking people to donate to reach the matching amount. Give them a specific campaign ending date and encourage excitement and involvement in the campaign.

Usually, such campaigns do well since people can see that the impact of their donations will be multiplied. Also, since a company is trusting you with their donation, it is highly likely to fetch you more trustworthiness from people as well.

6. Create urgency with 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 earnest supporters and regular followers would love to help you reach that goal and might donate more than they otherwise would. Tarjimly is a great example of a nonprofit leveraging the benefits of a goal meter in the best way possible.

accept donations

It is also encouraging for donors to see their individual donations having an immediate impact on a campaign. If your campaign goal is to reach a specific amount to gain a matching corporate gift, your donors will gain more excitement when they can see how close to that goal you are. Donors may even give more and share the word with their network to push your campaign over the goal. Online fundraising tools like Donorbox will let you add this feature to all your campaigns. 

7. Launch a text-to-give campaign and make giving easy.

Text-to-give campaigns started out only being successful for large brand name organizations, like the Red Cross. In the past, a news story would come out about a flood, tornado, or hurricane hitting a large location with hundreds of people being affected. The Red Cross would just have to send out the campaign information to the news and their millions of supporters to see a quick response.

Today, there does not need to be a tragedy for people to use text-to-give. Nonprofits and even churches have begun to use text-to-give campaigns as ways to reach supporters. Instead of asking for an offering every Sunday, churches can simply start a text-to-give campaign. Younger donors are the most open to this type of campaign. Plus, most of your donors have stopped carrying cash with them so for events and programs, this might just be the best way to let them make a donation.

Online fundraising tools like Donorbox make it easy and convenient. You can enable the feature on the Donorbox dashboard once you’ve created a campaign. Choose from the 2 available plans – basic and shortcode plan. You get a unique campaign ID and a texting number as soon as you enable text-to-give. Your donors need to send that ID to the number and in turn, they’ll receive a mobile-friendly donation page link for making the donation. The next time they want to repeat the same donation, it’s even easier, as shown in the image below. Donorbox repeat donation feature ensures that your donors need not fill up the form again or input payment information.

Our ultimate text-to-give guide will help you understand text-to-give better, along with its benefits, tips to excel, platforms to know about, FAQs, and more! learn about the best text-to-give platforms here.

Pro tip: Text-to-Give is the simplest and quickest way to give but it requires educating your donors. Add your campaign ID and the texting number in your communication pieces as well as talk about the process during your events. When you start, it is advisable to send an email to all donors introducing the new giving method to them.

8. Make online giving simple and quick 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 problem. They are used to making faster payments with digital wallets that take less than a minute. You cannot expect them to take pains to go through a long donation process to help your mission.

Your nonprofit should add multiple payment methods to your online giving. That can range from credit/debit cards to Direct Debit methods to bank transfers to digital wallets like Apple Pay, Venmo, Google Pay, PayPal, Mercado Pago, and more. Older generations of donors often prefer bank debit or card payment methods as they find them more reliable. Younger ones would love to dive into the digital wallet ones for a faster experience. This way you ensure all groups of your donors are happy and they feel more at ease about making an online donation.

With Donorbox, you get all these payment options, a faster online donation process, and a simple-to-use online donation form for you and your donors. Know more about our donation forms here.

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. These donors will often send checks or even give cash. Some of these donors will never give online. 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.

Letting donors know about ways online giving can save them and the organization money may also get their attention.

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.

Final Thoughts

accept donations online

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. Moreover, online fundraising tools, like Donorbox, make it an affordable option for even the smallest organization.

Donorbox has helped 50,000+ nonprofits across the globe make a greater impact on lives. Its simple-to-use features ensure you get started in minutes and raise more funds online. Our features include Recurring Donation Forms, Customizable Donation Pages, Text-to-Give, Crowdfunding, Peer-to-Peer fundraising, Events, Memberships, Donor Management, and more. To know more, please check out this page here.

As you start to accept donations on your website, you can learn more about how to raise more funds online and find more donors for your nonprofit. Visit our blog and subscribe to our newsletter for tips to help you succeed at online fundraising.

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.

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