Accepting Donations Online: 8 Steps to Fundraising Success

Accepting Donations Online: 8 Steps to Online Fundraising Success

Accepting Donations Online blog image

The process to accept donations online has become easier and more accessible than ever. Whether you’re seeking support for a personal cause or part of a nonprofit organization or charity, this guide will walk you through the essential steps for online fundraising success.

With our guidance, you can harness the power of the internet to make a positive impact.

  • An online fundraising platform offers a diverse way to accept donations online and raise money efficiently
  • Consider the benefits of recurring donations to sustain long-term support for your cause and help you collect more donations
  • Providing suggested donation amounts can guide donors and boost contributions
  • Tailor your approach based on whether you are an individual, nonprofit, or charity
  • Crafting a compelling story and effectively promoting your online donation page can enhance your fundraising success
  • Explore user-friendly tools and web hosting options for non-profits to streamline the donation process

How to Legally Accept Donations Online Step-by-Step

As the world becomes increasingly more digital, nonprofits around the globe are recognizing the importance of accepting online donations as a form of giving.

Online giving can benefit nonprofits, from increasing donations to improving donor engagement. In fact, 63% of donors prefer to give online with a credit or debit card.

With that said, let us look at the most important steps you need to take to legally accept donations online.

Step 1: Choose an Online Fundraising System

Selecting the right fundraising system is the first crucial step. Look for platforms that suit your needs, offer user-friendly tools, and align with your goals.

Popular options like GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Crowdfunding platforms provide an easy way to create and share your fundraising campaign. But don’t worry, we’ll get into more detail on this later.

Step 2: Create a Donation Page and Form

Your donation page is where donors will land to contribute. Craft a compelling, straightforward page with a clear mission statement and visuals.

Keep the donation form concise, asking for essential information to streamline the process. Make it user-friendly to encourage donors to complete the form.

Step 3: Embed Your Donation Form on Your Website

Integrate your donation form into your organization’s website. This ensures a seamless user experience, as donors can contribute without leaving your site. Make sure the donation form fits the style and layout of your website for a consistent look and feel.

Step 4: Choose a Reliable Payment Processor

Select a trusted payment processor to handle financial transactions securely. Services like PayPal, Stripe, and Square are widely accepted and offer robust security measures. This builds donor trust and safeguards sensitive information.

Step 5: Automate Tax Receipts and Donor Acknowledgement

Simplify the process for both donors and your organization by automating tax receipts and acknowledgments. Send an immediate email confirmation with a tax receipt after a donation. This not only complies with tax regulations but also shows appreciation to donors.

Step 6: Segment Your Donor Email List

Organize your donor email list into segments to send targeted messages. This personalizes your communication and allows you to tailor content to specific donor interests, increasing engagement and potential contributions.

Step 7: Use Email to Promote Your Donation Form

Leverage email marketing to promote your donation form. Craft compelling, concise emails highlighting your cause and directly linking to the donation page. Regular email updates keep donors informed and engaged.

Step 8: Identify Your Non-Digital Donors

Don’t forget about donors who prefer traditional methods. Identify non-digital donors and offer alternatives, such as mailing checks or setting up phone donations. Make it as easy as possible for all supporters to contribute.

Step 9: Encourage Donors to Go Paperless

Encourage paperless transactions to save time, reduce costs, and minimize environmental impact. Prompt donors to opt for electronic statements, making it convenient for them and efficient for your organization.

Step 10: Collect Feedback and Improve

Continuously gather feedback from donors to improve your online fundraising efforts. Use surveys and feedback forms to learn about their experiences and make necessary enhancements. This shows your commitment to providing the best giving experience possible.

What to Look for When Choosing an Online Donation Tool?

When it comes to online donations, not all online fundraising tools are created equal. Choosing the right one is vital to ensure your fundraising efforts are successful. In this section, we’ll explore the key factors to consider when selecting an online donation tool.

Each element plays a crucial role in your online fundraising journey, from cost and ease of use to sharing options, storytelling capabilities, and customer service. Let’s explore what to look for when choosing the perfect online donation tool.


When selecting an online donation tool, keep an eye on the cost. Many sites charge platform fees, which can vary widely.

Some may ask for as little as $5 per month, while others could impose fees as high as 4.2% of the donation amount plus an additional $0.30 per transaction. Understanding the fee structure is crucial to maximize the impact of each contribution.

Ease of Use

Choose an online donation tool that’s user-friendly for both you and your donors. A simple, intuitive interface can streamline the donation process and minimize barriers.

Look for tools with clear navigation, responsive design, and straightforward steps to ensure a smooth and frustration-free experience for all involved.

Ways to Share

An effective online donation tool should provide diverse sharing options. Look for tools that allow easy integration with social media platforms, email, and website embedding.

This makes it simple for supporters to share your cause, expanding your reach and potentially attracting more donors. Amplify your impact with versatile sharing features.

Showcasing Your Story

A compelling narrative is key to successful online fundraising. Seek a tool that allows you to showcase your story effectively. Look for features that enable you to include images, videos, and personal testimonials to connect with potential donors emotionally.

Crafting a powerful story can inspire support and make your cause memorable.

Customer Service

Don’t overlook the importance of responsive customer service. The best online donation tools offer reliable support, ensuring you can address any issues or queries promptly.

Look for platforms with accessible customer service channels like live chat, email, or phone support. A responsive team can be a lifeline during your online fundraising journey, providing solutions when needed.

5 Best Ways to Accept Donations Online

Now that you know the key factors to consider, let’s explore five top platforms for accepting donations online. Each option offers unique features and advantages, catering to various needs and preferences.

  1. GoFundMe

GoFundMe is a versatile platform known for its ease of use and robust storytelling capabilities. It allows you to create compelling donation pages, embed them on your website, and share your story through images and videos. With transparent fee structures, GoFundMe makes fundraising accessible.

  1. PayPal

PayPal is a widely recognized and trusted payment processor. It’s easy to integrate into your website and offers secure transactions. While it doesn’t have extensive storytelling features, it excels in providing a reliable payment solution.

  1. Venmo

Venmo, a subsidiary of PayPal, is a mobile payment app that simplifies peer-to-peer transactions. It’s a great choice for smaller, more personal donations among friends and family. However, it may not be suitable for large-scale fundraising efforts.

  1. Cash App

Like Venmo, Cash App is designed for peer-to-peer payments. It’s user-friendly and convenient for small, informal donations. However, it lacks the extensive features necessary for comprehensive online fundraising campaigns.

  1. Zelle

Zelle is a fast and secure way to transfer money directly between bank accounts. It’s great for personal donations but doesn’t offer dedicated features for fundraising. Consider it for straightforward, non-campaign-related transactions.

Selecting the right platform depends on your needs, whether you require storytelling capabilities, cost-effectiveness, or a simple, straightforward payment solution.

What Is the Best Website to Receive Donations for Different Purposes?

A survey by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago revealed that millions of Americans use online campaigns to cover medical expenses.

With 20 million Americans starting fundraising campaigns for medical bills and 50 million donating to such causes, it’s clear that online donation platforms serve a crucial role. But which one is best for your specific needs?

For Individuals Raising Funds for Themselves

  • GoFundMe: GoFundMe stands out as a go-to platform for personal fundraising. It’s user-friendly and allows you to create compelling stories, share updates, and receive contributions. The transparent fee structure ensures you get the most out of each donation.
  • GoGetFunding: GoGetFunding is another excellent choice for individual fundraisers. It offers customizable pages, a supportive community, and global reach. It’s suitable for various personal causes, including medical expenses.
  • FundRazr: FundRazr is known for its ease of use and social integration. It’s ideal for personal campaigns, especially when social media plays a significant role in reaching donors.
  • Fundly: Fundly caters to both individuals and nonprofit organizations. It provides an array of fundraising tools and customizable campaigns to help individuals raise funds effectively.

For Nonprofits and Charities

  • Donorbox: Donorbox is tailored specifically for nonprofits. It integrates seamlessly with websites, offers recurring donations, and has robust donor management features. Its low fees make it an attractive choice for nonprofit organizations.
  • Kickstarter: While Kickstarter is famous for creative projects, it can also serve nonprofits and charitable organizations. It allows you to launch crowdfunding campaigns for various initiatives, engaging with a broader audience.
  • Fundly: As mentioned earlier, Fundly caters to both individuals and organizations. Its versatility and user-friendliness make it an excellent choice for nonprofits looking to raise funds effectively.

How to Get Donations for Yourself

There are various reasons why individuals seek online donations for personal causes, including medical bills, emergency expenses, educational pursuits, and more. To effectively raise funds for yourself, consider these steps:

  • Tell Your Story: Craft a compelling narrative that explains your situation and why you need assistance. Be open and sincere in sharing your story.
  • Use Social Media: Leverage social networks to amplify your message. Share your campaign across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to reach a wider audience.
  • Engage Supporters: Keep donors engaged with regular updates on your progress. Show gratitude, and let them know how their contributions are making a difference.
  • Create a Website for Free: Utilize free website builders like Wix, Weebly, or WordPress to establish a platform for your campaign. A dedicated website can serve as a hub for sharing updates and collecting online donations.
  • Choose the Right Platform: Select a trusted online donation platform like GoFundMe or GoGetFunding. These platforms offer user-friendly tools for creating compelling campaigns and accepting donations online.

By sharing your story authentically and making the most of free website-building tools and social media, you can effectively harness the power of online donations to meet your personal needs.

How to Collect Donations for a Charity

When it comes to collecting donations for a charity, it’s essential to build trust, show transparency, and make it easy for potential donors to support your cause. Here are some key steps to effectively raise funds for your charity:

  • Establish a Strong Online Presence: Create a professional website for your charity. You can use website builders like WordPress or Wix for free, and they offer templates specifically designed for nonprofit organizations.
  • Online Donation Tools: Utilize specialized online donation tools like Donorbox or Fundly. These platforms are designed to cater to nonprofits, offering easy integration and secure payment processing.
  • Storytelling: Craft a compelling narrative about your charity’s mission, goals, and impact. Share real stories that illustrate the positive changes your organization has made.
  • Transparency: Be transparent about how donations will be used. Clearly outline your fundraising goals and how contributions will support your charity’s mission.
  • Engage Your Supporters: Keep your donors engaged with regular updates on your charity’s achievements and activities. Show appreciation for their contributions and emphasize their role in creating positive change.
  • Leverage Social Media: Use social media to promote your charity and reach a broader audience. Share success stories, events, and donation campaigns on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • Collaborate with Corporations: Partner with businesses and corporations that align with your charity’s mission. They may offer sponsorship or matching donation programs.

How to Receive Donations for a Nonprofit Organization

While charities and nonprofit organizations both aim to make a positive impact, they differ in their legal structures and often their scope.

Nonprofits can encompass a wide range of activities, including education, research, and advocacy, whereas charities primarily focus on direct aid and relief.

To effectively receive donations for a nonprofit organization, consider these tips:

  • Legal Compliance: Ensure your nonprofit maintains tax-exempt status and adheres to all legal regulations.
  • Diverse Fundraising Strategies: Implement various fundraising methods, from grant writing and corporate partnerships to online campaigns and events.
  • Transparency: Demonstrate transparency by sharing financial reports and details about utilizing donations.
  • Donor Stewardship: Build strong relationships with donors by recognizing their contributions and keeping them informed about your organization’s progress.
  • Online Donation Platforms: Utilize specialized nonprofit donation platforms like Donorbox to simplify the donation process and manage donor information effectively.

By distinguishing your nonprofit’s mission and employing these strategies, you can effectively attract and manage donations to support your organization’s diverse initiatives.

Why Are Online Donations Important for Nonprofits and Charities?

Collecting donations and raising money online has become a critical aspect of nonprofit and charity operations. The advantages are numerous and include benefits for both the organization and the donors. Here are some key reasons why online donations matter:

  1. Organization Convenience

Online donation platforms simplify the process of collecting funds. Nonprofits can easily manage donor information, track contributions, and automate tasks like tax receipts and acknowledgments.

  1. Donor Convenience

Online giving is convenient for donors, allowing them to contribute from the comfort of their homes or on-the-go. It eliminates the need for physical visits or mailing checks.

  1. Accessibility

Online donation pages are accessible 24/7, making it easy for donors to support your cause at any time, which is especially valuable for international donors in different time zones.

  1. Increased Donations

The ease and accessibility of online giving often result in increased donations. Donors are more likely to give when the process is straightforward and user-friendly.

  1. Donor Engagement

Online platforms offer opportunities to engage with donors effectively. Through emails, updates, and social media, nonprofits can keep supporters informed and involved in the organization’s activities.

  1. Cost-Efficiency

Online fundraising is often more cost-efficient than traditional methods, reducing expenses related to postage, printing, and in-person events.

The importance of online donations for nonprofits and charities lies in the convenience and accessibility it offers to both organizations and donors. It enhances the overall fundraising process, increases engagement, and helps organizations operate more efficiently while reaching a wider audience.

How to Promote Your Donation Box Online

Collecting donations online is made easier through the use of online donation pages, but to ensure success, you need to promote your cause effectively. Here are various methods to spread the word about your online donation page:

Fundraising Campaigns
  • Launch dedicated campaigns to highlight your cause
  • Tell your story, set clear goals, and create a sense of urgency to encourage support
  • Direct potential donors to your online donation page
Social Media
  • Leverage the power of social media platforms to reach a wider audience
  • Regularly share updates, stories, and photos related to your cause
  • Include direct links to your donation page in your posts
Website Placement
  • Create a website for your nonprofit or charity if you haven’t already
  • Utilize web hosting services with special packages for non-profits
  • Prominently display your online donation page on your website
  • Make it easily accessible for visitors to find and support your cause
Fundraising Events
  • Organize both offline and online fundraising events
  • Draw attention to your cause through events
  • Engage with potential donors and encourage contributions through your online donation page

Promoting your online donation page through these methods increases the visibility of your cause and encourages individuals to support your mission of collecting donations online.

Final Word: Collect Donations Online with Ease

Fundraising can boost online donations, whether you’re an individual, nonprofit, or charity. With the right online donation tools and effective promotion, you can connect with supporters and make a meaningful impact.

Explore the best website builders and web hosting for non-profits to optimize your online fundraising and enhance your online presence and mission.

Next Steps: What Now?

Learn More About Non-Profit Websites

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a better alternative to GoFundMe?

While GoFundMe is a popular fundraising platform, alternative ways exist to accept donations online. Platforms like Donorbox and Fundly cater specifically to nonprofit organizations, offering various features to enhance your fundraising efforts. The choice depends on your specific needs and each platform’s unique benefits.

Can you use Venmo for donations?

Venmo is primarily designed for peer-to-peer transactions, making it less suitable for organized online donations and fundraising events. While it can work for smaller, informal donations among friends and family, using specialized online donation platforms for fundraising events is generally a more effective and efficient option.

Can an individual accept donations?

Absolutely, individuals can collect donations online. Platforms like GoFundMe, GoGetFunding, FundRazr, and Fundly provide user-friendly options for personal fundraising. With compelling stories and effective promotion, individuals can harness the power of online donations to support various causes, from covering medical bills to pursuing educational goals and more.

How can I accept donations online for my nonprofit organization?

To accept donations online for your nonprofit, you can follow these steps:

  • Choose a reliable online donation platform.
  • Create a compelling donation page.
  • Promote your cause through your website and social media.
  • Engage donors by sharing stories and updates.
  • Ensure secure and easy ways to collect donations.
How can I collect donations online for my charity or nonprofit using online donation forms?

To collect donations online through online donation forms, follow these steps:

  • Choose a reputable online donation platform that offers form creation.
  • Create a customized online donation form with clear fields for donor information and contribution details.
  • Embed the form on your website to facilitate easy access for potential donors.
  • Promote your online donation form through your website, social media, and email campaigns to maximize reach.
  • Regularly update and optimize the form for a seamless and effective donation process.
Do all nonprofit organizations have a .org domain?

No, nonprofit organizations are not required to have a .org domain. While many nonprofits do use .org for their websites, they are not restricted to this domain extension. Nonprofits can choose from various domain extensions like .org, .com, .net, and more based on their preference and availability. The choice of domain does not impact their nonprofit status or mission.

How can I track donations for a fundraising event?

Use specialized software or platforms with built-in tracking features to track donations effectively for a fundraising event. Assign unique identifiers to donors and campaigns. Maintain detailed records, regularly update your database, and use spreadsheets or donor management tools to keep you organized.

Promptly acknowledge donors with thank-you notes to ensure a transparent and efficient tracking process.

What is the best tool to help me collect donations online?

The best online fundraising tools depend on your specific needs. Platforms like GoFundMe, Donorbox, and Fundly are popular choices. GoFundMe is user-friendly and versatile, while Donorbox offers nonprofit-specific features and low fees.

Fundly caters to both individuals and organizations. The ideal tool aligns with your goals, budget, and the features you require for effective fundraising.

HostAdvice Speaks to ScalaHosting: An Interview with Chris Rusev

HostAdvice had the opportunity to speak with Chris Rusev, the CEO and co-founder of , a web hosting company that offers shared, cloud VPS, and res...
8 min read
Eddie Segal
Eddie Segal
Digital Marketing Specialist

Email Deliverability: What Is It, Key Factors & Best Practices

What is Email Deliverability? Think of it like mailing a letter and making sure it lands right in the recipient's hands, not lost or thrown...
17 min read
Ela Gal-Kfir
Ela Gal-Kfir
Digital Marketing Specialist

Email Marketing vs. Social Media: Which is More Effective?

What is Email Marketing? Email marketing is a  that involves companies reaching out to potential and existing customers via email ...
10 min read
Ela Gal-Kfir
Ela Gal-Kfir
Digital Marketing Specialist

Email Engagement Metrics, Calculation & Best Practices

Email engagement tells us how interested recipients are in the content of emails they receive. It provides insights into what types of em...
12 min read
Ela Gal-Kfir
Ela Gal-Kfir
Digital Marketing Specialist provides professional web hosting reviews fully independent of any other entity. Our reviews are unbiased, honest, and apply the same evaluation standards to all those reviewed. While monetary compensation is received from a few of the companies listed on this site, compensation of services and products have no influence on the direction or conclusions of our reviews. Nor does the compensation influence our rankings for certain host companies. This compensation covers account purchasing costs, testing costs and royalties paid to reviewers.
Click to go to the top of the page
Go To Top