Fundraising is hard. We get it. We love nonprofits and everyone on our team donates time to work with at least one. Lately, we’ve been scratching our heads trying to solve a problem. How many fundraising platforms does your nonprofit really need?

From pre-sales emails, phone conversations, and in-person events, we have learned about a variety of nonprofit tech needs. Some nonprofits prefer a Salesforce integration while others are more focused on hooking up an accounting system. Other nonprofits want event-based donations and others prefer to collect donations only online.

So, let’s start from the beginning. What is a fundraising platform?

What is a fundraising platform?

At its most basic definition, a fundraising platform allows a nonprofit to accept credit card donations, have multiple forms, manage donors, and activate campaigns.

Online fundraising platforms are necessary for any nonprofit. Your fundraising technology should not only allow you to accept credit cards and manage donors but should facilitate donor communication. Lastly, your fundraising platform should integrate easily with your marketing technology since there’s no fundraising without campaigns.

A fundraising platform is a piece of technology that allows you to:

  1. Accept Credit Cards
  2. Add Multiple Donation Forms
  3. Manage Donors
  4. Activate Campaigns
  5. View Reports and Analytics

Accepting Credit Cards

Though many nonprofits accept payments through the mail or in person at events, donating online has quickly become the norm. Accepting credit cards for donations is facilitated through a payment gateway. Even five years ago, you needed a merchant account with your bank to do this. Those days are gone. Simply integrate through Give with a payment gateway like PayPal or Stripe, and you can both process of credit card payments and accept recurring donations.

We currently have over 15 payment gateways because we believe this is an essential component to any nonprofit organization (small or enterprise). We continue to dedicate resources to developing integrations with payment gateways.

Multiple Donation Forms

Most nonprofits have more than one fundraising campaign — ongoing general funds and campaigns for specific needs. For example, a church may have a general fund for tithes but several donation forms for missionaries. A camp may have a per-child donation form, a building fund, and campaigns for special projects. Every nonprofit has unique needs.

Not all fundraising platforms are created equally. As a nonprofit, you need control over how many donation forms (and campaigns) you can create. Not all fundraising platforms allow this.

With Give, you can create as many donation forms as you like. With Per Form Gateway, a premium Add-on (included in our Plus Bundle), you can choose which payment gateways you would like enabled for donors. You, as the nonprofit, have full control is provided on each donation form for selecting enabled gateways and customizing the default payment option.

Manage Donors

Donor management is a key component to any fully-featured fundraising platform. You should be able to understand who is giving to which funds and how often. This enables you to pinpoint your donors that should be honored as well as those who may need a bit of encouragement.

Our donor management allows you to dig deeper. View how many donations each of your donors have made and see their complete giving history with just a few clicks.

More importantly, with Give, you own your data. We don’t have your data; we don’t sell your donor data. We don’t market to your donors. You have full control and can export your donation data in PDF or CSV formats and integrate with your favorite CRM or accounting software.

Activate Campaigns

Marketing campaigns are also an important part of fundraising. After all, how can donors donate if they don’t know about your new project or need?

If you’re using services like MailChimp and Salesforce, we have many existing integrations. Give is developer-friendly when it comes to consolidating your donation management CRM or other software.

Blog posts, emails, hook up with MailChimp, call center, fundraising campaigns – marketing to acquire new donors – donor development. All this works with Give.

Growing Nonprofits and Fundraising

As an organization grows from a backyard passion project to a small nonprofit, or grows from medium to enterprise level, online fundraising is paramount.

Through these growing pains, many organizations end up adding tools instead of replacing them. Likely, this occurs because of tech recommendations, IT requirements, or budgetary constraints.

Until one day, your fundraising portfolio seems larger than necessary. And then, one day you’re wondering who is managing all of this technology and how much time is it taking away from your primary passion — your cause.

In the article, “How many fundraising platforms do you have?” Karin Rockwin talks about saving time and money by reducing fundraising platforms.

“Because each of our peer-to-peer and event initiatives has a specific set of technology needs and there were no event staff with technical expertise, we were using three different fundraising platforms. Two of these were one-stop shops, First Giving and Event Journal, which required very little work from staff but were limited in what they could provide in customized reporting. The third fundraising platform, Blackbaud’s TeamRaiser, was managed by one staff member and a vendor, because the customizations were seemingly endless.

Then, we decided to revamp our DIY program and needed a more robust platform that allowed for customization and provided more complex reporting, so we partnered with DonorDrive. Then we were required to use a specific fundraising platform (Crowdrise) by our charity endurance partner and all of a sudden we had 5 fundraising platforms, leading to more expense and more duplication of work.” Karin Rockwin, Director, Website Properties for Covenant House

As Karin points out, you can save money by strategically choosing your fundraising tools. What are your real priorities when it comes to features? Is it event management or is it online donations?

What Give Does Well

If you have an agile software department, Give excels. If you have a volunteer on staff, Give excels. Give was built to be feature-rich regardless of the skills of the user.

Not only that, but Give comes with reporting and donor management in the free version. Everyone, regardless of if they have the Plus Bundle or just the free version from the Plugin Directory have exactly the same tools built into the core of the platform. This is why our mission is to “Democratize Generosity.”

Because Give is built with developers in mind and the WordPress Way, the code is also extensible. This means there are hooks available to add to the functions as you so desire. With actions and filters, and our Give API, there’s almost nothing you can’t do or any software (CRM, Accounting) that you can’t integrate with.

How many fundraising platforms do you need?

Although nonprofits may have other needs, like robust event planning, ticketing, or peer-to-peer needs, we think the answer to this question is simple. It’s one.

Give is built to be a platform. This means you can integrate it with any API that is open. We spend a lot of our resources to make our hooks developer-friendly.

It comes down to this: we believe in our product, we believe in our support, and we believe in you.

“We replaced three fundraising platforms with Give.” Katie Murch, Aspen Camp

What’s stopping you from replacing your mixed bag of fundraising tools with Give?

Bridget Willard

Bridget is co-host of WPblab, co-organizer of Women Who WP Meetup, and Team Rep for the Marketing Team for WordPress.org.

4 responses to “How many fundraising platforms does your nonprofit really need?

  1. We’ve been using Give as one of our primary platforms and it does do a lot of stuff very well. As a nonprofit, we do accept donations in person (I’m sure many nonprofits will agree), or we sell t-shirts, and this is where Give is lacking. You (Give) should really look into getting a card reader and integrating ApplePay. These quick ways of accepting donations are the future of accepting donations for those that are on the move. Telling a person to visit the website to make the donation has the potential of losing the instantaneous donation that could have happened right then and there within seconds.

    Consider something like this: https://www.coinspeaker.com/2015/09/29/paypal-here-card-reader-launches-with-support-for-emv-cards-apple-android-and-samsung-pay-12216/

    For this reason, we use PayPal and Shopify. We use Facebook Donations, keep track of donors via excel, contact lists and quickbooks because there is certain information required for every donor and many programs just can’t handle managing all the data “out of the box”. The API’s/Hooks you’re talking about, very few nonprofits, especially the smaller ones will even understand what you’re talking about let alone be able to pay for a programmer to integrate it into their accounting software. Small non-profits needs an “all-in-one”, “easy to use”, program that “easily” integrates with accounting and CRM without having to hire an expensive programmer. Give still has a way to go if you want to be what you’re stating in this article. The WordPress platform is great and I understand a good chunk of it, but the majority of people that are in the non-profit business that I’ve worked with don’t understand anything about it and don’t have the time to learn and unfortunately can’t afford a developer.

    Your donation forms still rock compared to others that I have used in the past though (to include even Blackbaud’s 1990’s looking web form).

    Get a card reader, work with Event Espresso to be integrated with them, and maybe integrate with WooCommerce so someone can buy a t-shirt and make a donation, create a detailed donor management system, keep your prices transparent and affordable and you could rule the non-profit world.

    1. Victor,

      Thank you so much for your well-thought out comment. I’ve forwarded it to support and development teams.

      We’re so glad you’re using Give and it’s great to know what other pieces of technology our customers are also using. This is valuable insight. Thank you for the time you took to share with us.

      We’re so happy you love our forms, too.

      Again, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. We’re continuously developing our product and appreciate your input.

      Bridget

    2. Hey Victor,

      Thanks for your comment. It’s definitely well thought out and it’s clear you understand the needs of the non-profit world. It’s true, good developers are difficult to find and don’t come cheap. We’re working hard to bringing more of the features you discussed into our ecosystem and having it easily setup without the help of developers. It may be unrealistic to think we could ever fulfill the needs of every nonprofit, but we think we can fulfill a large percentage of them! :)

      Right now we’re evaluating the APIs of card readers like PayPal Here, Square, and Collect for Stripe. As well, it’s a priority to integrate with Woo better and The Events Calendar by Modern Tribe (Event Espresso, too). Note that you can currently use WooCommerce alongside Give, but asking for a donation at checkout and additional integrations are not possible without custom development.

      Thanks again for your thoughts on the post. I hope we get to interact again. If you haven’t please join our Community Slack: https://givewp.com/contact-us/ See ya!

  2. Hello,
    I use Gives for my association. The address of the site is the following: eglise-troglodyte.fr.
    At the moment I only accept donations offline, but I would like to use the stripe module for online donations. I do not understand very well how it works and especially what is the cost in euro per month to have this feature. We are a very small association and we can not afford to spend a lot of money at the moment. We do not have the hindsight necessary to measure the number of people who would accept to become of our association by paying an annual fee online. For your information the annual fee is 10 euro. Thank you for your return, in French if you can.
    Thanks in advance.
    Regards,

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