Online Giving Usability

05-10-10 Ben Callahan

There are many resources that your organization can use to enable online giving.

Sparkbox likes to help out nonprofits. This article was derived from a presentation to a group of local nonprofits.

What nonprofit wouldn’t like more money for their organization? Though the process of raising funds may not be pleasant, the reality is that nonprofits need money to run.

Advancements in technology and services can help nonprofits take fundraising to the next level: the Internet. There are many resources that your organization can use to help receive money from donors.

There are a few different helpful fundraising software packages:

This software will help you manage donors, track donations or campaigns, and provide receipts. Some of these applications have web-based modules for receiving donations online, and this is probably a great place to start if you use an application like this. However, this is not the only way to proceed. There are also systems which will process credit cards for you. For this purpose, you can use these services:

  • PayPal
  • Google Checkout
  • Amazon Payments

These services don’t require you to pay monthly fees for a Merchant Account, but they do cost more per transaction.

An alternative to using other sources in conjunction with your website is custom programming. The initial cost may be hefty, because programming takes more time, and this time is reflected in the cost. However, custom programming is more cost-effective in the long-term, especially if you expect to receive large amounts of donations.

If you choose custom programming, the next step would be finding someone to do it. There are a few characteristics you need to look for.

These qualities include the following:

  • a portfolio with impressive examples of what they’ve done
  • an understanding of web standards
  • an understanding of usability and accessibility
  • trustworthiness

To begin this entire process, your organization has to evaluate its specific needs for online giving and determine the budget. Knowing what you can spend will help determine the best way to move forward with receiving online donations for your nonprofit.

Once you have your website configured to receive donations, you should place a heavy emphasis on content for your site. Fresh, relevant content will drive traffic to your site, which will increase donations. Without traffic, it’s impossible to get donations! In addition to this, you should make sure that you’re communicating the availability of online donations to your potential donors. Making it easier to give is a great way to encourage the giving you need to keep your organization running.