The Ultimate Guide to Donation Website Builders for Your Nonprofit

Website & Technology May 06, 2021

Wild Apricot

By Wild Apricot

So your nonprofit has been taking off, and you realize you’ve gotten big enough that it’s time to build a donation website. Exciting, right? 


Objectively, yes. But the idea of building a website can seem daunting depending on your experience. 


Does it cost an arm and a leg to get somebody to build it for you? And if you choose to build it yourself, how do you actually build a website? Isn’t it a lot of code?


Luckily, you don’t need to spend thousands on getting somebody to build a donation website for you. There are a ton of great programs out there for you to choose from, built specifically to help those who aren’t coders by trade — some of which can even be set up in an hour or less! 


To help you sort through your options, we’re going to dive into what you should be asking when comparing donation website builders, and provide you a top ten list with where to start. 



What Features Do You Want in a Donation Website?

Even simple website builders will have differences between them. Here are some questions you can ask to help differentiate. 


What Are The Platform Fees?

Even websites advertised as “free” tend to have some costs associated with them somewhere. You want to make sure the website does the things you need it to do, and some of those features (like forms for email subscribers or ability to customize colours) may be locked behind a premium fee. 


If you go into your search with an idea of what you want your donation page to look like, you know better what features to ask for!


Ask about any and all fees so you know not only how much it costs today, but how much the platform will cost you in the long run. If you need to add a ton of additional features as you go on, it may be more affordable to find an all-in-one solution and pay fees from the start.


Are There Startup/Setup Fees?

Some providers will have startup and setup fees as part of their product offering, while others may have this as an additional charge. If it’s an additional charge, you may be tempted to struggle through the program setup on your own (which defeats the purpose of getting an easy-to-use program). 


On the other hand, the additional charges to get set up may bring you up to the price of an all-in-one solution. Knowing what fees are associated specifically with getting started is key to a positive start!


Pro Tip: Read reviews about the different softwares you’re evaluating for your donation website! If people have a negative onboarding experience, chances are they’ll share that. This also gives you valuable insights about each solution well beyond the onboarding process. 



What Kind of Customer Support is Offered?

When you’re in the nonprofit game, losing the ability to collect donations can be crippling. 


The fact is, something will go wrong eventually. There is no 100% solution available for anything, so you want to know who is there to help you out when it does go wrong. Ask if there is any support available and – more importantly – at what cost. Some programs only offer support on a paid basis. 


What Functionality Does It Have?  

This is a top priority. If the provider doesn’t do what you want it to, then it’s not going to be a fit right away. 


Ask them what kind of donation websites their software can actually support. Can you make a peer-to-peer fundraising page, so your networks can have a page they use to raise money? What about crowdfunding pages for specific causes? Can you have a general donation page that stays up constantly? 


All of them are useful, and you want the flexibility to use whatever works! 

 

How Is Your Data Stored & Protected?

There is nothing more valuable than your data, especially as a nonprofit. You have a database full of past donors, volunteers, and staff – that information is the cornerstone to your success. You want to make sure that, no matter what platform you go through, you can rest easy knowing it's secure. 


Ask how each platform stores the data. Ensure whatever partner you choose is reputable (again, check out the reviews!) and ask about PCI compliance.



How Easy Is It to Use? 

Why bring in new software if it’s complicated? You’re looking for something that is easy to use so you avoid the hard part of building your donation websites. 


For a lot of options, you can get a demo that will show you how it works. This will give you a good sense of how easy – or hard! – it is to use, and if it’s something you could pick up. 



The Top 9 Donation Websites for Nonprofits


Now that you know what to ask and look for, it’s time to start shopping! Here’s a list of nine donation website builders for nonprofits to help you get started.


1. Wild Apricot

Wild Apricot is a great option because you can do more than just donations through it. Wild Apricot is an all in one platform for your membership management, meaning you can build a website, manage events, manage a membership database, and more, all while running donations through it. You can even set up recurring donations, pages to email out to donors, or an online store so members have different ways to support. It’s so much easier keeping everything in one place!


With Wild Apricot, you don’t pay a percentage on fundraising efforts. Rather, you pay for a monthly plan based on the number of contacts you require. 


 


Who is Wild Apricot best for?


Wild Apricot is a great choice for any organizations who work with membership databases. Given the payment model, they’re also a great choice for an organization that is growing. You can start small and scale up as your database grows. Best part is you don’t pay for Wild Apricot out of funds you raise with your efforts. You know exactly how much it costs each month, versus losing a percentage of donations to pay.



2. GoFundMe


GoFundMe is a fundraising platform that specializes in crowdsourcing efforts. There have been over 50 million donors who have supported a cause through GoFundMe, resulting in over $5 billion raised. In 2017, they also acquired CrowdRise, another fundraising platform, to expand their offerings in supporting charities and nonprofits.


The fees to use GoFundMe are baked into the donations, however, so you will net less than you actually raise. There are two pricing models for charities. With the two models, you will net anywhere from $94.50 - $100.00 on a $100.00 donation. The only way to net the full $100 is if donors choose to donate an additional amount that covers the fees.


Who is GoFundMe best for?


GoFundMe is less nonprofit-focused, but may be the best option if you are looking to create a one-off personal fundraiser, versus as part of an organization.


3. Fundly


Fundly offers two types of fundraising options – one for individuals that you access for free through Facebook or personal email, and another for nonprofit organizations. Over $300M has been donated through Fundly donations! They have had fundraisers for causes across different categories, ranging from military and memorial services, to sororities, fraternities and fundraising for individual trips. 


Similar to GoFundMe, Fundly pricing comes from taking a cost off donations. While the initial setup is free, there is a cost in gathering donations. You are looking at a 4.9% platform fee, plus a credit card processing fee of 2.9%, and then $0.30/transaction on top of that. 


Who is Fundly best for?


Given the range of fundraisers they have participated in, Fundly is great for individual fundraising efforts, like a trip. It’s also a good option for organizations that are fundraising as a rare event. This is because they wouldn’t require it to be integrated with member management if it’s only on rare occasions. 


4. Classy


Classy was first started by a group of friends organizing a pub crawl to raise money for cancer. Since then, the organization has evolved to support nonprofits in tons of different ways. Classy allows you to create peer-to-peer, crowdfunding, and recurring donations. To this day, they donate 1% of their revenue back to the nonprofit sector.  


They offer a free trial, but you will have to reach out to get a quote on pricing. According to Capterra reviews, the plans start at $499USD per month.


Who is Classy best for?


Given the monthly price tag being higher than most, Classy is great for larger nonprofit organizations. If you are a small organization, the monthly costs may be too high.




5. Donately

Donately was started by a team who worked in an agency and saw the struggle that nonprofits faced when fundraising. Since then, they have grown to work with over 1,000 organizations and process $1M in donations a month. Their goal from the start has been to create a software that keeps things simple, so nonprofits can spend less time working on their site. 


The pricing starts at $0/month + 4% platform fee for startups. From there, monthly subscription costs increase to $49/month + 2% platform fee. Beyond that, Donately works to create custom pricing plans.



Who is Donately best for?


Donately has an incredible suite of integration partners. If you find that your organization is bouncing between numerous softwares, Donately may be a great option for you! It can help you bring all of your software platforms together in one central place.



6. Funraise

Funraise is an easy-to-use site that lets anybody create a donation page. 


There are two standard plans for Funraise. The Free plan has no monthly standard fees, but there is a 3.5% platform fee on anything you raise. The Spark plan is $300/month, plus a 3% platform fee. It’s important to note that each plan has fees attached to support. There is a fee of 2-3% to contact support on the Free plan, and 1-2% on the Spark plan. 


Who is Funraise best for?


If you are a fairly established organization, Funraise is a great option. Similarly to Donately, there are a lot of integrations available. Having built-in integrations will help you keep everything together.

 

Considering there is a fee for each time support is accessed, Funraise is also a better option for organizations that feel confident in their ability to run the platform. If you think your team will require more hand holding, Funraise could get expensive. 


7. DoJiggy


Founded in Boulder, Colorado, DoJiggy is an easy to implement online fundraising software. Their program provides a secure registration for donors online, and even allows you to manage donors for events online.


DoJiggy’s pricing varies depending on the product you are using – you’re looking at 4.9% for stores or 7.9% for raffle fundraisers, as examples. For any of their options, you can add a free optional tipping method. The tipping method allows donors to cover platform fees through a “tip”, so the organization fundraising receives everything. 



Who is DoJiggy best for?


One cool feature worth noting is the fact DoJiggy has a platform that’s exclusively for running golf tournaments! If that’s your bread and butter as an organization, DoJiggy is the perfect fit as it’s a software designed for those tournaments.



8. MightyCause


MightyCause is a donation website built by a team similar to a large amount of nonprofits – a small but scrappy team. They bring their experience working within limited resources to achieve a mission to the nonprofits that they help with their fundraising goals.


MightyCause has two pricing models – $59/month for the basics and $99/month for the full functionality. The full functionality includes features like text-to-give and embeddable donation forms, which other platforms might not have. 



Who is MightyCause best for?


MightyCause is a software that focuses entirely on fundraising. If that is your organization’s only purpose and you have a website that’s already built, it’s a great fit for your donation website. However, MightyCause also has the option to add a donation page to your website. If you’re already built and just need a simple donation page, it’s a great option to check out. 



9. DonateKindly

DonateKindly is a website that lets you create donation forms that easily embed into your website. The simple-to-use tool can have you building your first widget within five minutes, and accepting donations quickly after. 


The DonateKindly platform pricing is unique in that there is no percentage charged for the platform. All the fees are processing fees – you pay 2.9% on top of donations plus $0.30 per donation.  


Who is DonateKindly best for?


If you need the fastest possible way to get a donation widget on your site, DonateKindly is a great option. The service is based on quick and easy-to-use widgets. If you’re looking for more flexibility in your donation efforts, you may need to look elsewhere, as DonateKindly isn’t actually a donation website but rather an option to add donation functionality to an existing site.  


Final Thoughts on Donation Websites

As you can see, there’s no need to panic about your donation website, even if you don’t have a degree in coding! There are so many easy-to-use options available that you’ll be able to find the right fit with a little bit of homework.


If you go into calls and demos with providers armed with the questions about features we started this article with and a clear understanding of the need you’re trying to fill, you’ll be building a donation website in no time – and seeing the financial benefits to your organization for doing so. 

 

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