Online fundraising has seen a dramatic rise in the past few years, with more and more donors choosing to make donations online. With such a change, nonprofits need to adjust the way they do things to adapt to the new environment, making the donation process for their donors a smoother and efficient one.
To make this simpler, there is plenty of fundraising software out there, which can make the process more robust and not just make it easier for the donors to make their contributions, but for nonprofits to cater to them and look for new donors at the same time.
When choosing between different fundraising platforms, a comparison is a must to be able to make sure that the one you choose is best suited to your organization. How do you go about comparing?
Goals and Objectives
Your team should be very clear about what they need from a fundraising platform. Whether they aim to be able to receive donations online, or if they want to find a way to manage their donors. Maybe you need email marketing or additional features like crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising. Depending on what exactly you are seeking from a fundraising platform, you will want to eliminate certain choices and keep others.
As a nonprofit, you likely have a strict budget to follow. Be clear to yourself on what you’re willing to pay for a fundraising platform. Most have upfront fees and monthly fees, but some platforms also consider the extent to which you need their services and can quote a price for you accordingly. Also, keep an eye out for different kinds of costs – direct costs and indirect costs. You want to make sure that you’re minimizing the amount you spend in indirect costs and that all direct costs are mentioned clearly to avoid having to fork over more than you had budgeted for.
Of course, the most important part of any software or platform you want to use is what features it offers. Does it allow you to customize and create forms? How does it process payment, and what forms of payment are supported? Are you able to let your donors sign up for recurring donations? Make sure all the features you need are part of the platform you choose and see what your priorities are in terms of such options.
Since you are dealing with donor data, including card and personal information, making sure that this data is secure is absolutely vital.
See how the platform stores data and who has access to it, whether the data is encrypted, etc. before you make a decision.
You don’t want to spend too much time trying to figure out how to use the platform. Otherwise, you’d just have transferred where you spend your time. The platform you choose should be easy to use and understand and require minimum training. Look for platforms that are intuitive so that what you don’t know can be easily figured out, without the need for help.