The Social Observer

The Social Media Marketing Blog by SNHU Students

Top 5 Online Fundraising Platforms for Nonprofits

online fundraising

It’s important for online fundraising websites to integrate social media into their sharing options seamlessly into their platforms in order to increase the ease of use in which fundraisers can share their pages with friends and family, and make the biggest impact for your campaign.

I will be covering 5 different nonprofit fundraising platforms developed to be used by 501(c)3 organizations and the strengths and weaknesses of each.  It is also important to consider the demographic of audience they draw, the value of their traffic and SEO, the ease of use on their back end, the appeal of their platform for users, and the ease of social media integration.  Another important aspect is the percentage they charge for their rates, and whether they are more appropriate for large or small nonprofit organizations.  These are all things to consider as a nonprofit when you are choosing a fundraising platform to establish your brand on.

1. Stay Classy

Stay Classy is an online fundraising platform for nonprofits that caters to a youth market in its approach, named after a quote from the popular movie “Anchorman” in which character Ron Burgundy has the tagline “Stay Classy San Diego.”  Unsurprisingly, the headquarters are located in San Diego.

A benefit of using the Stay Classy platform is the Classy Awards.  This annual awards ceremony serves as the “Oscars” for nonprofits in order to gain exposure and fundraising boosts for all nonprofits that are contenders.  The platform also specializes in SEO and leads to easy Google searches for both past and active fundraiser events.
With so many well-developed features, there are some drawbacks as well.  There is a required monthly fee for the platform in addition to transaction fees on donations, which can vary depending on the size of the plan you choose.

2. Crowdrise
Crowdrise is a hip, graphically clean and attractive platform that specializes in encouraging fundraisers to partake in creative events in order to get people fundraising in ways that are meaningful to them instead of just the standard organized walk-a-thon.  Some of the ways highlighted are by donating your birthday, creating a “challenge,” or getting friends and family to sponsor you in achieving a personal goal.

Another thing that sets this crowdfunding tool apart from others it the star power from co-founder Edward Norton and social media-powered, high profile fundraisers that are often highlighted on the home page.

3. Causes
Causes is a free platform that allows people to not only fundraise online, but to organize boycotts, petitions and more. Nonprofits still must pay the 4.75% processing fee via Network for Good, and any nonprofits that are registered 501(c)(3) can place a profile on the site and raise funds. The site has a network of 153 million people in 142 countries, which means profiles created have the potential of being seen by a lot of passionate users.

4. Active
Active is a great platform for organizations that specialize in runs, walks or marathons for their fundraising.  Active is an interactive community that allows users to search for runs or walks in their area, and it is used mostly by active runners.
The cons are that the display is sporty but not as attractive as some of the others.  Also, the backend and user interface is not very easy to navigate for nonprofits as well.  Unfortunately, the website does not seem to have great SEO either, which makes it difficult for potential participants to Google the events they are looking for.

5. GoodSearch
Lastly, a fundraising platform with a slightly different spin on it is GoodSearch, which works as a search bar that allows you to choose a 501(c)3 nonprofit to receive a donation every time you search, powered by Yahoo!  It also offers shopping, surveys, games, dining, travel and more to be converted into small donations to your nonprofit when used on this platform.  This method is a way of incorporating giving into everyday media use and creating a community that understands and participates in the same way.

Finding the right platform for you is a very important aspect of nonprofit fundraising because it allows individuals to fundraise online by sharing through their social media outlets and through email, and streamlines the ease of donating for friends and family, allowing for much more funds to be raised and greater participant interaction.  Online fundraising also allows you to see real time tracking and visuals as you reach your goal, which is a big incentive for donors and fundraisers, so the importance of having it as part of a fundraising platform can be crucial to a successful campaign.

Happy online fundraising!

Category: Advanced Tactics