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Online Donations 101.

Whether or not you know it, you have most likely been the beneficiary of some sort of nonprofit organization. Nonprofits do so much good and help make this world a better place, and most of them rely on some form of a donation to help fund and operate their organizations.

Nonprofit organizations have long relied on traditional marketing channels like direct mail or grassroots outreach by development teams or fundraising events to bring in dollars. Those channels work. No question about it. But with an ever-changing generational landscape, we encourage our nonprofit clients to embrace new channels that reach more donors, faster, with less effort and less money.

Today we’re talking about Online Donations.


We know that donations are the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations. By integrating online donations, not only do you make it easier and more accessible for your donors to give, but you statistically increase the amount of giving you receive. In fact, Blackbaud found that overall donations increased by 2.1%, but online donations increased by 9%.

Whether you are a brand new or well seasoned nonprofit, it is important to start thinking about how you can better yourself by integrating online giving. Below are some things you should be thinking about when updating your online giving platforms or if you’re just starting your organization.

How Big is Your Donor Base?

  • Bigger donor pools will require more extensive database management. Managing thousands of donors in an excel doc may not be the best solution. Use tools that allow you to segment your database into specific audiences that you know well. This will allow you to target your messaging better and increase donation dollars. We highly recommend having a way to organize your donor pool, create forms, and send digital communications. Don’t have one? We can help!

Are you Collecting Digital Data?

  • You would be surprised how many nonprofits do not collect email addresses. By collecting emails you can provide additional touch points to donors, create data points for better campaigns, and add personal touches.

Are Your Marketing Materials For Print and Digital?

  • Most nonprofits have a wide demographic of donors. By offering both print and digital options, you are allowing people to learn about you in a way they like best, removing barriers to entry for folks to get involved.

Are You Allowing Donors To Give Recurring Monthly Amounts?

  • One of the benefits of online donations is that it offers the ability to set up recurring giving, automatically. One of the biggest mistakes we’ve seen when orgs embark on online giving is not making it obvious that recurring giving is an option on their forms. Not everyone has the cash flow to give a large amount at once. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to help! Recurring gifts allow more people to donate and over time, they really add up.

Are You Using Design to Build Trust?

  • No one wants to put their financial information into a website that looks like it’s still living in the 90s. The user experience of your site is critical for the user to complete their online donation.

Some helpful design tips we recommend:

  • Have a clear call to action (CTA) button to GIVE so the user can find it without searching through your whole site.
  • Use secure online giving forms to ensure safety and security, and help the user have a good experience on your site.
  • Make sure you have an SSL Certificate for your domain.

We know that the future of donations is online, but we also know many nonprofit organizations don’t quite know where to start. If you have questions about integrating online giving into your nonprofit marketing strategy, we’d be happy to help.