Accept online donations effectively with this guide.

According to the 2014 Charitable Giving Report, online giving is on the rise. Giving donations online increased by 8.9% from 2013 to 2014. As technology and interconnectivity continues to improve, giving donations online is expected to become the norm. If your organization has not yet started accepting donations online, here is a complete guide on how you can begin, and leverage the power of the internet in supporting your cause:

Start with a well-detailed website about your organization

Before your organization starts accepting donations, you need to create a website that provides details about your group and the causes it supports. After all, you would be asking people to give a portion of their hard-earned money to your organization’s mission, therefore it would be important to present all the information about your group. Your “About Us” section should detail how your organization begun. What is your story? How did you arrive at your vision and mission? A well-detailed history about your organization can spark interest in people, and inspire them to pitch in to help your group achieve its goals.

Your vision and mission

What does your organization want to accomplish? Whether it’s to raise the literacy rates of children, or to reduce the garbage at a nearby river, you need to state your vision and mission at your website. Your mission and vision provides your audience with the foundation of your initiatives that you are asking them to support.

Contact information

Putting your phone number, email address, and physical address at your website establishes credibility. You can even add a map to your physical address. Include also your social media accounts on your website to engage social media users and rally more people to your cause.

Documentation of your initiatives

Your organization’s website should also contain expense reports, photos, and videos of your past projects as these will help establish trust for your group. These can also encourage more people to support your cause. When asking donations, your organization should present a well-detailed plan on where the proceeds will be spent.

Integrate payment processor

Once you’ve established your website, you can begin accepting donations online. To accomplish this, you should integrate a payment processor into your site that will help you receive funds online. There are some factors you need to consider when it comes to selecting a payment processor:


Some payment processors charge fees for setup, or for every transaction. Take this into consideration as fees may impact the amount of proceeds that you will receive.

Currencies and payment methods

If your organization aims to establish a global presence, you should choose a payment processor that can accept several currencies and different payment methods. In return, you will be able to reach your audience worldwide.


You should also select a payment processor that offers good security features such as fraud prevention and risk management to safeguard the donations you receive. When it comes to accepting credit cards, the payment processor should comply with PCI-DSS standards.

Timeframe for settlement

In choosing a payment processor, you should also learn how long it would take for it to remit the funds to your own bank account. This would help your organization manage the timeframe for its projects by knowing when the funding would arrive.

Accept donations through different payment methods

As mentioned above, your payment processor should be able to accept different payment methods to be able to cater your audience worldwide and to make it easier for them to make a donation. Here are the different payment methods that you can use:

Credit cards

Being able to accept donations from credit cards allows your organization to reach out to donors that do not have time to contribute personally. With credit cards, donations can be made one-time or at a recurring basis. Your organization needs to set up a merchant account to be able to accept credit cards. Setting up a merchant account can be time-consuming and require fees. However, there are also third-party payment processors that can process credit cards and other payment methods for your organization, such as Paymentwall.

Bank transfers

Bank Transfers help organizations reach donors who do not want or cannot use credit cards for online donations. To accept fund transfers, your organization needs to have a bank account shown on your website. For larger organizations, you may need to consider setting up several accounts to accept donations in different currencies. The Red Cross, for instance, has different account numbers to accept donations in U.S. Dollars, Great British Pounds, Euros and others.

Mobile payments

Using mobile devices for donations is becoming increasingly common nowadays, especially for crowdfunding initiatives. About 17% of donations for crowdfunding are made from mobile devices. For nonprofit organizations, you need to make sure you are ready to accept payments made through mobile devices. Mobile payments can be accepted through mobile service carriers or through a payment service provider.

Cash and gift cards

When it comes to giving donations, cash still remains king. In 2014, cash and checks comprise 93% of donations given to nonprofits, according to Blackbaud’s 2014 Charitable Giving Report. Apart from using cash, people may opt to donate money through gift cards. Donation gift cards allow people to specify the causes they would like to support, and when they would like to use the cards to make a donation. For instance, the donation gift card may be used to mark a special occasion, such as a birthday or an anniversary.

Report the results of your donation drive

Let’s say your organization has reached its goal in terms of the funds it wants to raise. Once you start your project, don’t forget to take note of every expense your organization has made. Provide a breakdown of your expenses to your donors, as well as the results of your project. Your donors will then be able to see where their money went, which would cultivate credibility on your part. By being transparent, your organization will also be able to encourage others to support your cause in the future. In return, your group will be able to pursue all of its projects and reach its vision of bringing about change.

Would you like to streamline the process of collecting donations for your nonprofit? Read our blog to learn more.