The Top 5 Ways to Accept Donations Online

rupixen-com-Q59HmzK38eQ-unsplash-scaled
| 8 min read Crowdfunding

We all appreciate things that make our lives easier, from delivery apps to mobile wallets to smart home technology. Fundraising is no exception. Online donation tools give people a convenient way to show their generosity, whether they live down the street or across the world. If you’re looking to fundraise and accept donations online, you should know which tool is best suited for your needs. In this guide, we’ll break down what to look for in an online crowdfunding platform so your fundraising experience is quick, simple, and impactful.

Start a GoFundMe

5 easy ways to accept donations online

Once you decide which features are most important for your situation, you can start evaluating different platforms for online giving. Here, we break down four of the most popular online donation tools and the best way to accept donations online to save you time.

1. PayPal

PayPal is a secure payment processing system that allows users to accept donations online. In order for donors to send a donation to your account, donors need to know either your phone number, email address, or contact name.

Unfortunately, PayPal does not offer a section where you can post your story and photos to encourage donations. It also requires donors to use their personal PayPal account. This can be advantageous for existing PayPal users because they don’t need their credit card information to make a donation. On the flip side, it could deter donors who are forced to make a PayPal account in order to contribute.

2. GoFundMe

GoFundMe is a crowdfunding platform that is specifically designed for accepting donations online. But what sets it apart from the others on this list is the storytelling feature it offers to community members. Through GoFundMe you’re not only requesting donations, but sharing your needs, dreams, and ambitions with your network through photos, videos, and the campaign story itself. Out of the four platforms listed here, it’s the only one that allows you to:

  • Create fundraising goals
  • Feature your story
  • Accept donations without creating an account
  • Thank donors personally
  • Update donors with photos and new developments

Donors have the flexibility of donating on their mobile device or computer. They can also share your fundraiser on social media with the click of a button. If you already have the other donation options and want to make that information available to donors, simply add your payment handles in your fundraiser description. That way, donors can choose whatever option is most convenient for them and encourage even further giving. Wondering “how do I ask for donations online?” Our blog post on how to ask for donations will teach you in a few simple steps.

Fundraising for your favorite charity

GoFundMe also makes it easy for you to raise money and accept donations online for your nonprofit. When you set up your fundraiser, select which charity you’d like to support. All donations to your charity fundraiser are tax-deductible and go straight to the charity’s bank account, so you don’t ever have to worry about handling the funds.

3. Venmo

Like PayPal, Venmo is a user-friendly, no-frills payment platform. In addition, Venmo also doesn’t have a section to share your fundraiser story and post photos. To get started, all you need to do is download the mobile app to your smartphone or tablet. Compared to other platforms, it accepts most types of foreign currencies. Donors can easily search your Venmo username and send you money within seconds.

However, donors may incur a fee if they use a credit card. Generally, this isn’t an issue because most users connect their debit cards to avoid additional costs. Another limitation is that Venmo requires donors to have or create an account. Keep in mind that Venmo is only supported on mobile devices or tablets. This may discourage certain users, especially if they don’t have a smartphone or tablet.

4. Cash App

Venmo and Cash App are virtually the same, with minor differences. One similarity is the inability to share your story and images. While recipients have no receiving limits, donors can be restricted based on which platform they’re using.

Even if you’re not anticipating donations to exceed the limits set by the apps, keep in mind that donors might rack up a hefty weekly total for personal reasons. Many use these apps to pay rent, reimburse their friends, and more.

5. Zelle

Zelle, a digital payments platform, is similar to PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App. The difference is that you need to have a bank account in order to use it. You can send money to anyone who also has a US bank account. If your bank offers Zelle you can enroll through your mobile banking app. If not, you can enroll through the Zelle app. While money is usually transferred within minutes, there are sending limits through Zelle. However, like the other payment platforms, you can’t add a fundraiser story or photos, which are good to have for online fundraising.

What to look for when evaluating online donation tools

We live in a world of options, where you can pick and choose depending on your needs. While this is generally regarded as a good thing, what happens when you’re flooded with choices? How can you possibly make the best decision when trying to collect donations online?

To help you weigh your options, we created a list of key features when selecting a donation platform. This way, you’ll be able to pick the best platform for your needs.

Cost

Depending on your needs, you may not be able to shell out money for a paid giving platform. Luckily, GoFundMe doesn’t charge any fee to sign up.

Ease of use

Time is money. Two hours spent navigating an online giving platform is two hours that could have been spent collecting donations. Before committing to a specific donation platform, determine how easy it is to use, if it has a good mobile app, and if the sharing tools are simple to use.

A section to showcase your story

A successful fundraiser is dependent on an honest and compelling story. Does it move people to give to your cause? If donors understand the impact of their contributions, they will be more likely to give to your cause and share your fundraiser with their networks. Look for online donation tools that can give your story the attention it deserves.

Ways to share

Leverage the power of your networks to spread the word and encourage donations. In recent years, social media has become a popular and easy way to share your fundraiser with others. Does your donation platform make it easy to share on social media?

If you’re uncomfortable sharing your personal fundraiser on social media, there are other ways of fundraising without social media. Choose whichever method makes you most comfortable.

Customer service

See what customer service options your desired platform offers. Does it offer phone, email, or chat support? What type of response times should you anticipate? Even if you don’t anticipate roadblocks, it’s better to be informed when things don’t go as planned.

What you need to have on hand to receive your donations

In order to receive funds from your GoFundMe, you’ll need to have a few pieces of information available. This is to ensure the funds are going to the right person and the right place. Here, we outline what documents you’ll need to withdraw your donations.

Bank account info

If you’re raising money for yourself, this information should be pretty easy to locate. The most common way to find the requested information is to look at your checkbook or online bank documents. Please note that it’s important to double and triple-check your bank account information so there are no problems with your bank receiving the donations.

If you’re raising money for someone else, you’ll need to add them as the recipient so they can withdraw the funds directly. It’s as simple as sending them an email invitation. This will ensure that the donations go directly to them.

Raise more money with GoFundMe

Whether you’re fundraising for yourself, a friend, or a nonprofit, GoFundMe is here to help. What makes our powerful platform stand out is the ability to share your story with compelling photos and videos. Through storytelling and our fundraising tools, you can reach more supporters, encourage more donations, and build stronger relationships with the people who want you to succeed. Moreover, our Customer Care team is ready to answer your questions and offer expert advice along the way. So, what are you waiting for? Take advantage of our fundraising expertise and launch your online fundraiser today.

Start a fundraiser

Written by Brittany Armas

I believe we all have the power to make a difference. Through informative and heartfelt content, I hope to create change and inspire others to give back to those who need it most.