Comparing the Pros, Cons, and Ease-of-Use of Online Giving ToolsBy Kevin Martone and Joseph Ruotolo
All of the options described below will bring donors to a separate website to process their donations. Other providers can integrate a giving vehicle and form into your website, but the process usually takes more time and effort (and money) to implement.
These brief reviews explain the benefits and challenges with each option. For a detailed comparison chart of each of these options, click here.
Amazon Simple Pay Donations www.Amazon.com
Amazon Simple Pay Donations are an easy-to-use and secure way for Amazon's tens of millions of customers to donate using the information they already have on file with Amazon.com. The nonprofit organization simply adds a donation button on their site, which redirects the donor to Amazon's server for checking out.
Amazon Simple Pay Donations allow the organization to define the sizes of gifts that can be donated. You can set a fixed or minimum amount or let donors choose the donation amount--even as small as $1.
Fees: 2.9% + $0.30 processing fee per transaction
BlackbaudNow seamlessly integrates online giving with PayPal. The service includes WebNow, a tool to easily create a basic website (including an online giving form); DonorNow, a very basic constituent/gift management database; and EmailNow, which offers basic email functionality.
These services can help an organization just getting started with online giving cultivate its donors, display its cause online, and accept online donations via credit card or PayPal account. BlackbaudNow can also be used to set up a "microsite" for a specific fundraising cause or event.
Fees: 4.95% + $0.30 processing fee per transaction
Click & Pledge www.clickandpledge.com
This is a strong online giving solution that allows you to collect as much (or little) information as you want from your donors. A button on your website will redirect the donor to Click & Pledge servers to go through the robust checkout area that can be customized with your colors and your own header image.
Fees: 4.5% + $0.30 processing fee per transaction for Discover, JCB, MasterCard, and Visa. Also a $5 per month fee; additional fees for Premium Global option.
DonorPerfect Online www.donorperfect.com
DonorPerfect Online (DPO) WebLink allows its DPO customers to offer customized, integrated online donations and events forms. Reviewing, accepting, and downloading data from completed forms is quick and simple using WebLink's Review and Acceptance Center.
Simple forms are limited to five to six standard background colors; such standard fields as name, address, phone, email; and up to five custom fields.
The direct integration with DPO comes at a cost. You'll spend almost $1000 before even receiving your first donation.
Fees: Setup fee of $395, yearly fee of $480. Sample merchant account fee is 2.99% + $0.35 + $10 monthly statement fee
Firstgiving offers nonprofits and even their supporters the ability to create easy-to-use donation forms to collect funds online. Constituents who wish to promote a cause or an organization can quickly search Firstgiving for the organization they wish to solicit funds for and then create a form with customized text, images, and video files. By allowing supporters to create the donation form, the nonprofit can lose control of its messaging, however. Nonprofits can also use FirstGiving for running their own events, allowing participants to register, create teams, and fundraise for the event all in one place. Nonprofits are also able to brand their page with custom themes and images, to avoid the message being lost.
Supporters can make a direct donation to the organization or they can create a fundraising team page.Nonprofits can create their own accounts to control branding and messaging, event management, and widgets for their website, including Donate Now, event registration, top fundraising teams and individuals, and total amount raised.
Fees: $500 annual fee for the nonprofit; 7.5% per transaction processing fee for peer-to-peer donations and 4.25% fee for direct donations.
Google Checkout www.google.com/checkout
Google's online giving option, Google Checkout, offers a low price but doesnt offer features found with other services. Organizations can put a button on their website that redirects the user to Google's servers. Users who dont have a Google account must register for one on the spot in order to complete the donation process. Basically, Google has simply repurposed its Shopping Cart to collect donations.
Fees: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction processing fee
JustGive.org is attractive to an organization that doesn't have the technical know-how or the budget to pay high transaction fees. It offers a clean interface for quick donations and supports recurring gifts and honors/tributes. However, during the checkout process, the service asks each of your donors for an additional $3 donation to JustGive.
Fees: 3% per transaction processing fee
Network for Good www.networkforgood.org
Because it is affiliated with Guidestar, Network for Good already lists all nonprofit organizations. It offers three levels of serviceDonateNow Lite, DonateNow, and Donate Now Deluxeeach with distinct levels of customization and pricing. It's basic per-transaction fees are relatively high, but the service can be cheaper than services where the user pays the credit card processing fee.
Network for Good's DonateNow Lite page offers an average online donations form with a unique tipping” feature. The processing fee is passed onto the donor by requesting a "tip" of 5-15% to cover Network for Good's costs. A minimum tip” of 5% is required. No other fees or monthly charges apply.
DonateNow and DonateNow Deluxe offer a customized donation page. The processing fee is 3% with a setup fee of $199 and a monthly fee of $49.95 or $99 respectively; the user is not asked for a tip.
Fees: DonateNow Lite has no setup or monthly fees but requests the customer pay a tip; DonateNow and DonateNow Deluxe has a setup fee of $199, monthly fee of $49.95 and $99 respectively, and a processing fee of 3%.
PayPal Website Payments Standard www.PayPal.com
PayPal is one of the most recognized online payment gateways and offers some of the lowest fees for qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofits. PayPal has multiple options to accept payments and donations through your website or PayPal's own website. PayPal Website Payments Standardwhich allows you to easily place a Donate Now” button on your websiteis the most appropriate PayPal option for many smaller nonprofit organizations; it easily redirects donors to the PayPal website to complete the donation process.
Fees: 2.2% + $0.30 per transaction processing fee (for Website Payments Standard option)
Sage Donate Now www.sagepayments.comSage, which is best known for credit card processing, now offers one-time and recurring credit card and check donations for nonprofits. The checkout process takes place on Sage's servers and allows the organization limited customization of the form such as colors, logo, and page uses sees after checkout.
Fees: $75 setup, $6 monthly. Approx. 2.3% (2.5% for AMEX) + $0.10 per transaction
This article is adapted from Short Reviews of Online Giving Tools,” compiled by the Grinspoon Institute for Jewish Philanthropy, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.