The Best Donation Platforms for Nonprofits

According to M+R’s latest annual benchmarks study, traffic to nonprofit websites grew by roughly 4% over 2015 totals. A small percentage, but one that accounts for millions of additional website visits. In tandem with this, overall online revenue grew by 14% over 2015 totals with a 23% increase in monthly giving.
So if you’re getting people to your website, how are you getting them to make you a donation you can’t refuse? We’re asked this question a lot at Whole Whale. Here are our picks for the top donation platforms for nonprofits to help optimize your digital fundraising efforts. 
Online revenue is up for nonprofits. So what’s the best donation platform? Click To Tweet

For a Budget

Give Lively

Founded: 2014
Give Lively builds tech for peak fundraising experiences on both the donor and nonprofit side. And they give it all aways for free. Their founders cover the overhead cost to keep the Forever Free Pledge going, and as such they’ve been able to share the wealth with the Malala Fund, Girl Scouts, StoryCorps, and March for Our Lives. That means custom fundraising pages, embeddable donation forms for your own site, text-to-donate functionality (with live display for sharing your progress bar at live events), live event ticketing, and peer-to-peer options. All free. Forever. The one catch: If you choose to integrate Give Lively with any of your other tools, such as Salesforce, PayPal, or Stripe, these companies may charge their own fees in connection with your use of GiveLively.
Platform Fee: Free
Transaction Fee: Free
Setup Fee: Free
Commitment: None
Integration: PayPal

Quiks

Founded: 2014
Quicks works in both the nonprofit and corporate worlds as a mobile payment app that cuts the costs of processing ACH payments and donations. That means straight transactions from a supporter’s bank account to yours; no middle ground. This means a bit of a lift for donors, who will need to download the app and sync it with their bank account. The fee structure for nonprofits, however, is competitive: $0.50 transaction fees on each donation, plus a 10% discount for nonprofits.
Platform Fee: Free
Transaction Fee: $0.50
Setup Fee: Free
Commitment: None
Integration: None

For Basics

Donately

Founded: 2013
Donately was formed four years ago in partnership with creative agency Fifty & Fifty as the founders realized there was a gap in the online donation software market. More than 1,000 organizations later and they still focus on simplified solutions with an attractive pricing structure. While this does the job for covering basic needs, read on for more if you’re looking for ultra-customized experiences such as a tailor-made thank-you message or bespoke branding.
Platform Fee: 3% (first $100k); 2% ($100k to $1m); 1% (greater than $1m)
Transaction Fee: 2.9% plus $0.30/transaction
Setup Fee: $0
Commitment: None
Integration: Salesforce, MailChimp, Eventbrite, Optimizely, Google Analytics, Google Docs, HubSpot, Insightly, Stripe

Fundly

Founded: 2009
A leader in the crowdfunding space, it doesn’t get much more straightforward than setting up a page with Fundly for a simple means of collecting donations online. The platform is highly visual and narrative-driven, with features that make campaigns readily shareable. Plus, if you’re looking for a peer-to-peer option, they have Fundly Pro — and if you need a more robust donor management system, they have Fundly CRM.
Platform Fee: 4.9%
Transaction Fee: 2.9% + $0.30 / transaction
Setup Fee: $0
Commitment: None
Integration: Stripe, MailChimp
 

For Getting Fancy

iDonate

Founded: 2010
Designed with fundraising staff in mind, iDonate’s overall mission is to move overall giving from 2% of disposable income to 4% by 2025. In addition to web and mobile donation forms, this Dallas-based platform is also built to accept noncash donations, text giving, peer-to-peer fundraising, and allows for event creation and promotion. iDonate operates on four tiers of service: Basic, Standard, Pro, and Enterprise.
Platform Fee: $99/month (Basic), $199/month (Standard), $299/month (Pro), Call for Enterprise
Transaction Fee: 2.99% + $0.45 using iDonate Payments; 1% using external payment gateaways
Setup Fee: $250 (Basic: support team setup provided), $400 (Standard: setup and coaching), $750 (Pro: full-day system configuration), $1500 (Enterprise: custom)
Commitment: Month-to-month (Basic), 1 year (Standard), 2 years (Pro), 3 years (Enterprise)
Integration: Salesforce, Virtuous, Raiser’s Edge, MailChimp

MobileCause

Founded: 2008
MobileCause has a pretty simple goal: Help nonprofits raise more money with less time and effort. Designed to help fundraisers with a range of solutions, their areas of expertise include online giving, live and digital events, crowdfunding and peer-to-peer, donor communication and marketing, donor reporting and gift management, and payment processing. tl;dr? MobileCause is a one-stop-shop for online giving. Since MobileCause is an all-in-one platform, nonprofits that use the software are subscribing to all of the services rather than piecing together different elements based on need.
Platform Fee: 2.5%
Transaction Fee: 0%
Setup Fee: $0
Commitment: 12-month, annual subscriptions
Integration: Blackbaud, Salesforce, (plus, an open API for proprietary donor management systems)

For Repeat Customers

Donorbox

Founded: 2014
Focused on the checkout process, Donorbox encourages donors to increase their contribution with options for pausing, increasing, or decreasing recurring donations. Organizations operating on an international level benefit from the ability to accept payment in multiple currencies, and currently 4,000 organizations hailing from 25 countries are represented on this platform. Donorbox is a CMS-hopper as well as globehopper, integrating with WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and Joomla.
Platform Fee: Free if you collect less than $1000 for the month. After that, an 0.89% fee is applied for the month’s donations.
Transaction Fee: 2.2% + $0.30 per transaction
Setup Fee: $0
Commitment: None
Integration: MailChimp ($8/month), Employer gift matching ($40/month), Salesforce ($25/month)

Salsa Labs: Salsa Engage

Founded: 2003
Salsa Engage is the online fundraising software that is part of Salsa Labs’s comprehensive suite of fundraising products. Their software allows you to build branded and appealing online fundraising pages (for desktop, tablets, and mobile), send automatic acknowledgments with receipts for gifts, and create branded event registration pages. Salsa’s benefits are in the data: On average, users see a 74% increase in donor retention, 28% increase in donation growth, and 24% increase in donor growth.
Platform Fee: $179/month for Salsa Engage (Digital Marketing Software plus your choice of Online Fundraising Software, Online Advocacy Software, or Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Software)
Transaction Fee: Fees vary based on your chosen gateway processor and merchant account
Setup Fee: Contact Salsa for information
Commitment: Monthly subscription
Integration: Salsa CRM, WealthEngine, Quickbooks Online

For a Fundraising Swiss Army Knife

Causevox

Founded: 2010
We’re big fans of Causevox for the manifold resources that they provide nonprofits from their homebase in Brooklyn (sound familiar?). Client relationship game recognize game. The founders have over 50,000 campaigns under their belts and have used them to shape a customizable experience for fundraisers  ranging from digital natives to tech-averse. While there are no commitment requirements, they also offer a slight discount for paying for a full year upfront.
Platform Fee: $55/month (Lite; $49/month upfront); $155/month (Standard; $139/month upfront); $495/month (Premium; $450/month upfront)
Transaction Fee: 4.5% (Lite), 4.25% (Standard) 0-2% (Premium)
Setup Fee: $0
Commitment: None
Integration: Website integration with masked domain (Standard), Integrates with over 750 apps including Salesforce and MailChimp (Premium)
Client relationship game recognize game. @WholeWhale’s picks for fundraising platforms. Click To Tweet

Where to next?

Once you’ve found a match for your fundraising needs, or if you’re caught between a few options, schedule a demo with the organization. Be sure to think about what you want to ask in advance — and to consider the specific needs of your organization. Don’t play the “That Way You Have It” game.
Don’t play the “That Way You Have It” game. Know what you need from your donation platform. Click To Tweet

Psst… Looking to crowdfund?

We have recommendations for that, too. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding for Nonprofits.