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Choosing Online Fundraisers Wisely

Reviewed by Tori Meglio
VP Of Donors
Donors
Written by Jaeme Velez
Updated: June 24, 2024
14 min read
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Wondering which fundraiser is the right choice? With so many kinds of online fundraising ideas to raise funds for various causes, picking one can feel overwhelming. Using virtual fundraisers to connect with a wider audience, engage donors effectively, and simplify the online donation process has many benefits.

Nonprofits can now launch fundraising campaigns that go beyond physical boundaries, raising money and garnering support from around the globe became easier. In this blog, I will go over the key steps in this process include assessing your specific needs, online fundraising ideas, important features, prioritizing security and compliance, and considering transparent pricing.

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The digital landscape of charitable giving is constantly evolving, offering exciting new ways to support causes you care about. While the sheer number of online fundraising platforms might seem daunting, understanding key trends empowers you to make informed decisions and maximize your impact on fundraising online events.

With its growing popularity, selecting the right online fundraising strategy becomes crucial to ensure that your efforts produce optimal results. Each digital fundraising platform offers distinct online fundraising ideas and requirements and choosing a platform requires careful thought because it directly impacts your campaign's success.

Raise Money: Where Does Your Support Go?

In today's world, transparency is paramount. Look for platforms or online donation pages that are upfront about fees and how donations are used. Avoid platforms with hidden costs or where virtual fundraising can be diverted for administrative purposes.

Imagine the satisfaction of contributing to a platform that consistently empowers students through scholarships, a cause close to your heart.

This is why I can't emphasize enough to consider platforms like Bold.org, specifically designed for scholarship and fundraising ideas for schools, where your contributions go directly toward the students.

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Aligning with Your Values: Finding Causes You Care About

Effective online fundraising platforms allow you to go beyond simply donating. Consider the platform's mission and the types of causes it typically supports.

Does it resonate with your philanthropic goals? Research the platform's success stories to see if they align with your values.

Building Community in Virtual Fundraising

The most impactful online fundraising platforms foster a sense of community between donors and beneficiaries. Look for features that allow you to track the impact of online donation pages and your donations, see how your funds are used, and even connect in virtual events or even in-person events.

By understanding these key trends, you can navigate the digital world of giving with confidence. Choose a platform that aligns with your values, prioritizes transparency, and fosters a sense of community.

Remember, donations are powerful tools for positive change and raising money for good causes. Choose wisely, and become an active participant in shaping a brighter future.

Improving Your Campaign in Virtual and Out of Virtual Platforms

Virtual fundraising ideas can be strengthened by events. An In-person event can improve trust with potential donors because humans are likely to trust more people they have met in person.

Therefore, planning events in local restaurants to support meaningful exchanges can help to raise awareness of your virtual fundraiser.

An online event is also a strategy to increase traffic on your online donation page. Activities such as: Online multiplayer video games, Online raffle, virtual craft fair, or a virtual food festival with an online cooking class are great examples of trending activities.

Others might include what has always been considered in person events that with that with our current times might be more convenient for participants to attend online. These could be a virtual happy hour, virtual trivia night, virtual movie night, virtual talent show, or even online voting for contests.

Many of these other activities are all virtual fundraising ideas that you can use to explain your organization's mission and attract future board members to improve online sales.

Creating events is a form of gathering people and improving human connection. Virtual or in-person events will possibly create a community that believes in the cause you are promoting.

goals and needs assessment

Assessing Your Needs and Goals

When choosing an online fundraising platform, it's important to start by assessing your specific needs and goals. This will help ensure that the platform you choose is the right fit for your online fundraising strategy and objectives.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Online Fundraising Platform

Campaign Types:

  • Identify whether you are running a one-time campaign or need a platform for recurring donations.
  • Determine if you require peer-to-peer fundraising capabilities or crowdfunding features.

Target Audience:

  • Analyze who your donors are. Are they tech-savvy individuals who prefer mobile-friendly interfaces?
  • Consider geographical reach – will your campaign target local donors or an international audience?

Fundraising Goals:

  • Define clear monetary goals for your online fundraising campaign.
  • Outline any specific milestones or timelines crucial for achieving these goals.

Examples of Aligning Goals with Platform Features

It is essential to align the fundraising platform qualities with your goals. If you are wondering which business software best suits your preferences, G2 is a website that provides a detailed comparison of fundraising platforms, helping organizations make informed decisions. Below are some examples of how different platforms cater to different audiences and needs: 

  • For nonprofit organizations aiming to engage a younger, tech-savvy audience, platforms like GoFundMe offer robust mobile-friendly features and social media integrations.
  • For organizations seeking to run extensive peer-to-peer campaigns, platforms such as DonorPerfect and Bold.org provide tools tailored for personalized fundraiser pages and team-based fundraising initiatives.
  • An individual raising funds for medical expenses might find platforms like YouCaring more suitable due to their specialized support and user-friendly setup.
evaluate specific areas to choose an online fundraising platform

Key Areas to Evaluate

It's crucial to evaluate certain key areas when choosing an online fundraising software platform:

  • Usability: Ensure the platform is easy to navigate both for the fundraiser and the donors.
  • Customization Options: Look for platforms that allow customization of donation forms, email templates, and campaign pages to align with your branding.
  • Payment Processing: Verify the variety of payment methods supported, like credit cards, PayPal, or even cryptocurrency if relevant.

By thoroughly evaluating these key areas in relation to your needs and goals, you can make an informed decision about which various online fundraising software platforms will best support your mission. This strategic alignment maximizes the potential for successful fundraising efforts.

Essential Features for Effective Fundraising

When choosing an online fundraising platform, there are certain features that can greatly improve your efforts. Understanding these key features will help you select a platform that aligns with your own fundraising strategy and goals and maximizes donor involvement.

Customizable Donation Forms

Customizable donation forms are crucial for creating a smooth and personalized experience for your donors. Look for platforms that allow you to:

  • Customize donation forms to match your brand's look and feel.
  • Add fields to collect specific information from donors.
  • Offer various payment options, such as credit cards, debit cards, and digital wallets.

A well-designed fundraising page, donation page and form makes the process easy for donors, increasing the chances of receiving contributions.

Crowdfunding Tools

Crowdfunding tools are essential for reaching a large audience and quickly gaining support. Key features include:

  • Campaign pages that showcase compelling stories and visuals.
  • Progress tracking, displaying real-time updates on funds raised.
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising, empowering supporters to create their own mini-campaigns.

These tools make it simple to share your mission with potential donors and keep them engaged throughout the campaign.

Social Media Integration

Integrating with social media platforms is crucial for expanding your reach. Effective social media campaigns should be proficient in the following:

  • Simple sharing options on popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Social media analytics to measure engagement and improve posts.
  • Automated thank-you messages that publicly recognize donations.

Social media posts allow you to tap into wider networks, encouraging more people to contribute and spread awareness about your cause. A social media account can help fundraising online by targeting potential donors according to the media platform.

To stay on top of social media challenges, improve the landing page experience of your fundraising page. To collect donations, check the user experience of your donation page. A good donation page will consequently drive more traffic and enhance online donations.

Online auctions are also a way to improve the advertisement of your online fundraising campaign. An online auction requires bidding at a higher price for the winner. However, the creative part will also help to win the auction because creativity will increase traffic on social media platforms and will also help expand your online fundraising idea.

recurring

Recurring Donations

Encouraging recurring donations can significantly increase long-term funding stability. Make sure the platform supports:

  • Monthly giving programs allow donors to set up automatic donations.
  • Flexible giving options, enabling donors to adjust their recurring gifts as needed.
  • Donor retention tools, such as automated reminders and personalized communication.

Recurring donations provide a steady income stream, supporting your initiatives over time.

Comprehensive Reporting

Detailed reporting features enable you to analyze performance and make informed decisions. Look for:

  • Real-time data access, providing insights into donor behavior and campaign success.
  • Customizable reports that focus on specific metrics important to your organization.
  • Export options for integrating with other tools like CRM or email marketing systems.

Accurate reporting helps you refine your strategies and demonstrate the impact of your work to stakeholders.

By focusing on these essential features, you enhance your ability to run successful online fundraisers that engage donors effectively and meet your financial goals.

Security, Compliance, and Trustworthiness

Security, compliance, and support considerations in online fundraising platforms are extremely important. When handling sensitive donor information, it is crucial to have strong security measures in place. This includes things like data encryption, secure payment gateways, and regular security audits. These measures help protect personal and financial information, which in turn builds trust with your donors.

Why Compliance Matters

Compliance with regulations is another critical factor for nonprofits. It is essential to follow all local, state, and federal laws regarding fundraising activities. Using platforms that have built-in compliance features can make this process easier.

Look for features such as automated tax receipts, adherence to GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), and PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance. These features not only make your job easier but also ensure that you are not breaking any laws.

The Importance of Customer Support

Having reliable customer support is key to maintaining donor trust. If something goes wrong with the donation process or there is an issue with the platform, it can be very frustrating for potential donors. That's why it's important to choose a platform that offers 24/7 customer support through various channels like live chat, email, or phone. This way, any problems can be quickly addressed, and donors can feel confident that their contributions are being handled properly.

Key aspects to consider:

  • Data Encryption: Ensure the platform uses advanced encryption methods to protect donor information.
  • Secure Payment Gateways: Choose platforms that partner with reputable payment processors to safeguard transactions.
  • Compliance Features: Look for automated tax receipts, GDPR adherence, and PCI DSS compliance.
  • Customer Support: Opt for platforms offering round-the-clock support through multiple communication channels.

For example, platforms like Classy and GoFundMe Charity prioritize security by using top-tier encryption technologies and secure payment systems. Bold.org ensures all the funds go towards the students. They also have comprehensive compliance tools to help nonprofits meet regulatory requirements seamlessly. Additionally, their strong customer support ensures that any technical issues are quickly resolved.

These measures not only protect your organization but also build a foundation of trust with your donors. When contributors feel confident about the security and integrity of collecting donations through your fundraising platform, they are more likely to support your cause generously and consistently.

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Pricing Transparency and Value for Money

It's important to understand how online fundraising platforms charge for their services so you can make sure you're getting the best value for your money. Different platforms have different pricing structures, which can include subscription fees, transaction fees, or a combination of both. Knowing these structures will help you choose a platform that fits your budget and fundraising goals.

Key Pricing Structures

Subscription-Based Pricing:

  • Platforms may charge a monthly or annual fee.
  • This often includes access to advanced features and dedicated support.
  • For example, some platforms offer tiered plans (Basic, Pro, Premium) where higher tiers provide more comprehensive tools.

Transaction-Based Fees:

  • A percentage is taken from each donation processed.
  • This often includes payment processing fees.
  • For example, a platform might charge 3% per transaction plus payment gateway fees.

Hybrid Models:

  • Combination of subscription and transaction-based fees.
  • This is flexible for organizations with varying fundraising volumes.
  • For example, a platform could charge a lower subscription fee with an additional small percentage per transaction.

Balancing Costs and Capabilities

When looking at these pricing models, think about the following things:

Feature Set:

  • Make sure the platform has all the important features like customizable donation forms, social media integration, and donor management tools.
  • Advanced features such as AI-driven insights or comprehensive reporting can make it worth paying more.

Scalability:

  • Choose a platform that can grow as your organization grows.
  • Go for options that have flexible pricing plans so you can do bigger campaigns in the future without spending too much.

Hidden Fees:

  • Watch out for extra charges like setup fees or premium support fees.
  • Read all the details carefully to avoid any surprises.

Practical Examples

Here are a few examples to show how different pricing models can work:

  • Platform A: Charges $50/month with no transaction fees. This is great for organizations that expect to get a lot of donations and need advanced features.
  • Platform B: Starts off free but takes 5% of each donation. This is good for smaller campaigns or one-time events where you're worried about upfront costs.
  • Platform C: Offers a $20/month plan plus 2% per transaction. This balances having a low starting cost with manageable transaction fees, so it can work well for campaigns of different sizes.

Ensuring pricing transparency helps you make informed decisions that maximize your fundraising potential while staying within budget constraints.

considering reputation and user feedback

Evaluating Reputation and User Feedback

To ensure the reliability and effectiveness of an online virtual fundraising events platform for your campaigns, it's important to evaluate its reputation. This involves gathering feedback and reviews from users, which can provide valuable insights into the virtual fundraising platform's strengths and weaknesses.

Why Reputation Matters

Understanding why reputation matters when choosing an online auction or fundraising platform:

  • Trustworthiness: A platform with a strong reputation will likely be more trustworthy, enhancing donor confidence.
  • Track Record: Established platforms often have a proven track record of successful campaigns, which can indicate their capabilities.
  • Community Endorsement: Positive feedback from other users can be a powerful endorsement.

Gathering Feedback and Reviews

To make an informed decision, leverage user reviews and feedback. Here’s how:

Third-Party Review Sites:

  • Websites like G2, Capterra, and Trustpilot provide unbiased user reviews.
  • Look for patterns in the feedback—recurring issues or praises can highlight strengths or weaknesses.

Social Media and Forums:

  • Platforms like Facebook groups or Reddit threads can offer insights from real users.
  • Engage with communities to ask specific questions about their experiences.

Case Studies and Testimonials:

  • Many platforms showcase case studies and testimonials on their websites.
  • Verify these by reaching out to organizations that have used the platform.

Direct Contact:

  • Directly contacting current users can provide honest feedback.
  • Networking events or industry conferences are excellent opportunities for these interactions.

Factors to Consider

When analyzing user feedback, focus on key areas:

  • User Experience (UX): Ease of use can significantly impact your campaign’s success.
  • Customer Support: Efficient and reliable customer support is crucial during critical moments.
  • Feature Reliability: Consistent performance of essential features like donation processing and reporting tools.

Balancing Positive and Negative Reviews

It's important to consider both positive and negative reviews when evaluating a platform:

  • Negative Reviews: Pay attention to how the company responds to negative feedback. A proactive approach indicates strong customer service ethics.
  • Positive Reviews: Ensure that positive reviews are detailed and not generic; this adds credibility.

Evaluating reputation through comprehensive research helps in choosing a platform that aligns with your goals while providing a satisfactory user experience.

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Our mission is to eliminate student debt. The student debt crisis is handicapping our next generation, making students far less likely to pursue dream careers, own homes, or start businesses. Bold.org enables anyone and any company to create a customized scholarship, fellowship, or grant, in minutes. Your story is unique. Your philanthropy should be too.

Why Bold.org is a Trusted Platform for Raising Funds

Bold.org stands out as a trustworthy platform for raising funds, particularly for scholarships and educational initiatives. The platform is dedicated to transparency, ensuring that every dollar donated goes directly to the intended scholarships without any administrative fees.

This transparency builds confidence among donors, knowing their contributions are fully utilized for their intended purpose. Bold.org also provides detailed data, allowing donors to see the number of applicants, scholarships awarded, and the overall impact of their donations.

The platform’s rigorous verification process for both donors and recipients further enhances its credibility. Donors can be confident that their funds are being used appropriately and benefiting deserving candidates.

Additionally, Bold.org's user-friendly interface and personalized communication tools, such as thank-you messages from scholarship recipients, create a strong connection between donors and those they are helping.

The Societal Impact of Raising Funds on Bold.org

Raising funds on Bold.org has a significant impact on society by making education more accessible. Scholarships funded through Bold.org help break down financial barriers, allowing talented students to pursue higher education. This not only benefits the students but also contributes to a more educated and skilled workforce, which is beneficial for society as a whole. By supporting students from diverse backgrounds, Bold.org promotes social mobility and reduces educational inequality.

The positive effects of these scholarships extend beyond the individual recipients. Educated individuals are more likely to contribute positively to their communities, engage in civic activities, and inspire others to pursue higher education.

Supporting students through Bold.org is an investment in the future, fostering a culture of learning and promoting equity and opportunity. The impact of raising funds on Bold.org is far-reaching, creating lasting benefits for both individuals and society.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Choosing Online Fundraisers Wisely

Why is selecting the right online fundraising platform crucial for my campaign's success?

Choosing the right platform can significantly impact your ability to reach your fundraising goals. The right platform enhances donor engagement, streamlines donation processes, and provides valuable tools for campaign management. It ensures your efforts are effective and efficient.

How do I apply the key criteria discussed to make an informed choice?

Evaluate platforms based on the following:

  • Your specific needs and goals: Determine if the platform supports the type of campaigns you plan to run.
  • Essential features: Look for customizable donation forms, crowdfunding tools, and social media integration.
  • Security and compliance: Ensure the platform adheres to regulations and has robust security measures.
  • Pricing transparency: Understand the cost structures and assess if they offer value for money.
  • Reputation and user feedback: Research reviews and ratings from other users.

What steps should I take before committing to a fundraising platform?

  • Shortlist potential platforms: Based on your evaluation criteria.
  • Explore free trials or demos: Many platforms offer these options to let you experience their features firsthand.
  • Engage with customer support: Test their responsiveness and helpfulness.

Applying these strategies to personal fundraising pages will help you choose wisely, ensuring alignment with your nonprofit organizations unique needs and maximizing your fundraising success.

Ready to create your own scholarship? At Bold.org, we make it easy!

Jaeme Velez
Content Writer

About Jaeme

Jaeme Velez is an exceptionally dynamic writer, researcher, and avid enthusiast for science and technology. He brings a deep understanding of securing scholarships, obtaining student loans, and navigating the transition from community college to university.

As a first-generation college student, Jaeme began pursuing the dramatic arts and made a significant transition to pursuing academic studies at L.A. Valley College, focusing on Communication and English. He graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Creative Writing at Columbia University in the city of New York. His academic excellence has been recognized through the Casdin Family Scholarship Award and his membership in the Columbia University Honor Society.

Jaeme's academic path is marked by a profound passion for literature and storytelling, particularly in exploring the confluence of diverse cultures and languages while addressing social disparities. Alongside his literary interests, Jaeme maintains a keen curiosity for science and technology, actively engaging in research and projects related to Artificial Intelligence, Design, and human-computer interaction.

Experience

Balancing work and full-time studies as a first-generation college student has endowed Jaeme with a wealth of experience and insights. In his role as a Content Writer at Bold.org, Jaeme shares invaluable wisdom and advice, drawing from his personal journey to provide the guidance he wishes he had received at the start of his academic journey. 

His work is fueled by the desire to equip the next generations of students with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate their unique academic paths. From financial literacy to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Jaeme strives to contribute to the ongoing discourse on education and support the next generations of scholars, regardless of their age, background, or current stage in life, as they traverse the complexities of higher learning.

Since joining the Bold.org team in 2023 as a Content Writer, Jaeme has employed his distinctive background as a first-generation student alongside his familiarity with scholarships and student loans to guide students through the intricacies of academic life, emphasizing that every student's journey is distinct and worthy of recognition. 

Through his writing and advocacy, Jaeme leverages his personal and professional experiences to provide comprehensive support to students. He is dedicated to empowering students and addressing the challenges they encounter in their pursuit of higher education. 

Quote from Jaeme

“Who is the person? What's their problem? Do your research. Offer solutions.”

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