Payment Portals Ensure Nonprofits Can Do Business Online
By Erika Racicot

Erika Racicot
Erika Racicot
With the amount of funds raised online increasing by an estimated 19% per year, more and more nonprofits are looking to integrate online fundraising platforms into their development program, but many are not sure which is best for them.

The benefits of payment portals include: speed and efficiency in collecting donations instantly via computer or smartphone from users almost anywhere on earth, integration of systems into existing websites and marketing practices, systems able to scale seamlessly in times of increased giving, which are cost effective in the majority of cases, often leading to a reduction in administration.

Fee structures of payment systems vary between providers (see more below) but the majority tend to charge through one, or a combination, of the following: initial set up, monthly fees, or by individual transaction.

Depending on the specifics of a campaign or how a nonprofit most commonly receives donations, other considerations around which system will operate most cost effectively might also include checking if fees are charged more heavily on specific payment types such as credit cards or whether a provider offers fee discounts whereby fees are not charged for donations below certain amounts.

Which to Choose?

Following are some of the more popular online fundraising platforms currently in use.

DonorPerfect provides fundraising capabilities for nonprofits to manage a database for targeted fundraising efforts and easier donation processing, including receipting, credit card and EFT processing, and online donations.

Frendo offers nonprofits a variety of free services as well as more specialist offerings for paying customers. Nonprofits can integrate a donate button and the Frendo payment widget to their own website which comes with its own detailed reporting system. They can also create personalized donation pages on the Frendo site to take advantage of increased donor awareness through Frendo’s own marketing. Paid clients can also add ticketing services for events and recurring monthly giving. Frendo is fee-free for EFT and ACH transfers and charges a 2.9% fee on credit card transfers.

FundRaiser Software provides online or installed donor management systems for nonprofits. FundRaiser Software has three levels of options to help different sized nonprofits. Managing an unlimited number of donors, features range from online donations and Quick Books integration to support for email correspondence and mail management. Payment plans start at $99/month for online support to $3,800 and more when installed for larger organizations.

GivingFuel provides an online platform for nonprofits to interact with donors. Their interface is all online and accepts every major credit card, PayPal, and virtual checks. Nonprofits can set up any kind of fundraising campaign and costs start at $29/month. Different benefits of GivingFuel include custom confirmation emails, the ability to accept donations via Facebook, and full design customization.

GiftWorks provides software for nonprofit organizations to operate more effectively. As well as facilitating the collection of donations from an existing web page, it provides reporting, smartlists, and mailings, and data can be exported to a variety of external software, including MS Excel and QuickBooks. GiftWorks has two pricing options: $549 for the standard version, and $849 for the premium version that allows more customization, increased features for mailings, and security permissions for users. enables nonprofits registered on GuideStar to create campaign pages that facilitate online donation collection and tracks donors. Nonprofits can also include a “Donate Now” button on their own websites, that will redirect visitors to their JustGive donation page. JustGive deducts 4.5% of donations to cover transaction costs, but does not charge set-up costs or monthly fees.

Erika Racicot is co-founder and COO of, a provider of online services to nonprofits. She can be reached on twitter at @ErikaRacicot.
October 2012