Having worked with several non-profits and charitable organizations over the years, one of the most powerful and appreciated features of the digital world is the ability to connect with and receive donations from patrons all across the world to support an organization's mission.
5 years ago in the wake of the earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, millions of people's generosity was activated by the power of digital and social tools. More recently the earthquake in Nepal has once again shown the ability to quickly mobilize financial aid to help those most in need.
Large, multi-national organizations such as the American National Red Cross and United Way have access to resources to enable these donations unlike the vast majority of small non-profits and foundations.
Below are some of the simplest, yet powerful and effective, tools available to raise funds to support your organization. When reviewing options, a few important things to keep in mind:
Straight forward, right? You want the most amount of money donated to reach your cause. When reviewing services, make sure to compare pricing. Most services will charge a monthly fee along with a per donation transaction fee (often a flat rate + % of donation). One nice feature that several service include is the ability for the donor to add those fees on top of their donation so that the cost is not passed along to the organization. Although difficult to estimate, try to compare plans using a realistic estimate of your monthly donations so that you can understand at what point a larger monthly fee with lower transaction costs makes sense.
Mobile + Social
In today's environment, having a website is not enough for any non-profit. Mobile and social integrations are imperative in order to increase ease of use for your donors as well as reaching them where they already are. Make sure to compare and evaluate how well each service embraces mobile and social as well as the tools it provides to integrate into your mobile apps or social channels.
Some services go beyond just offering a donate button for your website. Some allow you to create events and sell tickets both online and in-person for an event or gala. Some allow recurring donations. Make sure to review all tools provided because you never know what direction your organization might take.