In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, our world is grappling with more than a global health crisis.
We’re in a crisis of severe economic turmoil where individuals are being laid off, businesses are shutting down, and nonprofits without reserve funding are suffering. We’re in a crisis of urgent need for medical supplies, shelter, food, and other necessities. We’re in a crisis of mental health turbulence, disproportionately impacting those with pre-existing mental health conditions, individuals caring for infected loved ones, healthcare professionals, public service employees, and essential personnel in general.
The good news is, we can all make a positive difference in the world right now. As the virus continues to spread, new needs for financial support, and a shift in fundraising strategy continues to grow.
As a nonprofit consultant with over 8 years of experience working with some of the most successful U.S. nonprofits and international NGOs, I’ve never seen the philanthropic community rally on a global scale like this before. My friends at Givebutter are helping individuals, organizations, and communities around the world raise money to meet the urgent needs of those who need it most during this difficult time.
Loved by more than 15,000, Givebutter has always been (and always will be) completely free to use. What I love about the Givebutter platform is that it’s incredibly engaging (like social media), affordable (lowest fees in the industry), and 100 percent transparent (to both donors and fundraisers). Get started on Givebutter in minutes - it’s free.
In this article, I’ll be sharing what separates the good digital fundraising platforms from the best fundraising platforms for individuals, nonprofits, businesses, and groups during the novel Coronavirus outbreak.
Finding the best fundraising platform option, in a sea of good options
With so many solid online fundraising platforms out there, how do you narrow it down? Before I became a nonprofit consultant, I can vividly remember the exhaustion of being knee-deep in the fundraising trenches and my process looking something like this:
✔️Google “Best Fundraising Platforms”
✔️See what connects with our current CRM
✔️Read Capterra Comparisons
✔️Ask my network what they use
✔️Look at campaigns from people I know
✔️Sign up for a demo and wait for an eternity to hear back
✔️Browse for pricing, but can’t find the bottom line anywhere
✔️Use what we always have, even though I know we could probably raise more elsewhere
✔️Think to myself, “There’s got to be a better way.”
Have you had a similar experience?
As COVID-19 continues to rapidly spread, searching for the right fundraising platform to meet the urgent global needs is hugely time-limited. However, it legitimately can take organizations days, weeks, and sometimes even months to find or switch to the right fundraising platform. Let me help you save your time (and sanity) with some tips for figuring out what the best fundraising platform is for you, your nonprofit, or business.
Establish what you need
Before you begin to start your search, make sure you establish your budget and goals. Then, create a list of the five most important features you need in a fundraising platform.
For example, maybe it’s your first time creating a personal fundraising campaign. Your top five will probably value features that support ease-of-use (e.g., design templates, automatic email donor receipts, simple set-up). Or, perhaps you want to switch over to a more engaging platform. Then you might value more advanced features such as fully customizable forms and Supporter Feeds.
Not sure what features you’re looking for? Here are some questions to consider to narrow down your search:
💰 All-in, what’s this platform cost? (i.e., per-transaction fees + monthly fees)
💸 Are fees transparent? (Are there any hidden cancellation fees? Is there a contract?)
⏳ How long does it take to set-up?
🚙 Is it easy to navigate for you and your donors? (Can you see a live demo?)
⚡️ What integrations does it include? (e.g., Venmo, Squarespace, Mailchimp)
🎨 Can donation pages be beautifully branded, and are donation forms fully customizable?
🗄 Does it integrate with your CRM? (e.g., Salesforce, Bloomerang, Hubspot)
💵 What’s the payout process? (i.e., how long will it take to receive funds raised?)
Okay, you’ve nailed down your budget, goals, and top five features. Now what? It's finally time to compare platforms! I’ve done some of that legwork for you. Below, I’ll analyze the top fundraising platforms against my friends at Givebutter for the most urgent COVID-19 fundraising categories, including nonprofit, small business, and individual solutions.
Fundraise for nonprofit organization relief aid
Nonprofits are on the frontlines of supplying relief aid for the world’s most vulnerable populations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these populations include the elderly, immune-compromised, children, hourly wage earners, gig economy workers, immigrants, people with disabilities, and individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions.
Nonprofit relief aid examples:
- Finding a cure
- Emergency shelter
- Medical supplies
- Blood donations
- Protective equipment
- Critical response supplies
- Digital educational resources
- Hygiene promotion campaigns
- Testing sites
Some of the top nonprofit fundraising solutions compared to Givebutter are:
Classy vs. Givebutter
Classy is possibly best known for its easy-to-use nonprofit fundraising software that accepts 130+ currencies. This is especially helpful for the uptake in global fundraising we see right now. However, Classy’s mobile-friendly donation forms lack a number of key features, such as a Venmo integration and the ability to be embedded directly on a website, leading to decreased donor engagement.
Givebutter offers an intuitive and powerful online donation form - now including Livestream! - for nonprofits. Givebutter’s donation form is fully customizable to streamline branding but requires no custom coding. Unlike Classy, you can easily embed Givebutter’s online donation form right into your website. And boosting website traffic is more critical than ever!
Click here to see a full side-by-side comparison of Classy and Givebutter.
Help small businesses affected by coronavirus
In many states, public safety, healthcare, restaurant, and grocery workers are the only U.S. workers deemed “essential” right now. As a result, there are millions of “non-essential” small businesses suffering. These include:
- Coffee shops
- Salons and spas
- Boutiques and retail shops
- Bowling alleys
- Tattoo parlors
Some of the top small business fundraising solutions compared to Givebutter are:
GoFundMe vs. Givebutter
GoFundMe is best known for peer fundraising (i.e., crowdfunding), but their fundraising pages are surprisingly limited in functionality. Almost all of the focus is on the massive image/video in the top left, and the entire campaign often feels very transactional. This is good for one-time gifts, but not good for returning customers needed to help small businesses stay afloat during this pandemic.
Givebutter offers fundraising pages that place a much higher focus on the supporters of a fundraising campaign through engaging, social-media-like Supporter Feeds. Givebutter is fully optimized for team fundraising. Team fundraising allows for individual members to join campaigns, customize their pages, and easily receive credit for donations they help bring in from social networks for the business. This is especially useful for teams of small business employees who want to rally together.
Click here to see a full side-by-side comparison of GoFundMe and Givebutter.
Support individuals impacted by coronavirus
Countless individuals require additional support during the Coronavirus pandemic. Needs include:
- Living Expenses
- Food and Water
- Unemployment Support
- Emergency Medical Support
- At-home Childcare Resources
- And more
Some of the top individual fundraising solutions compared to Givebutter are:
PayPal vs. Givebutter
PayPal serves as the default donate button for many individuals. However, PayPal's donation form is missing key functionality, customization options, and fee transparency, resulting in fewer funds raised. Even though PayPal owns Venmo, they still do not offer a Venmo integration with their donation forms. The Venmo integration is critical for individuals impacted by Coronavirus because their potential donors are most likely friends and family who they already use Venmo with (i.e., convenience).
Givebutter offers transparent fees (under 5%) to both the individual fundraiser and its network of support. On Givebutter, more than 95 percent of donors voluntarily cover donation fees, resulting in an average overall fee to fundraisers of just 0.5% - the lowest in the industry. Unlike PayPal, Givebutter integrates with Venmo, the leader in mobile payments, and offers a fully customizable fundraising page.
Click here to see a full side-by-side comparison of PayPal and Givebutter.
Doing good, together
Together, in big ways and small ways, we can all do good in the world during the Coronavirus pandemic.
There are many excellent fundraising platforms available to help raise funds for some of the most vulnerable nonprofits, small businesses, and individuals in need.
But not all fundraising platforms are created equal, so it’s crucial to compare platforms to find what’s best for your unique fundraising needs.
For more information, check out this resource: Combatting Coronavirus: A Nonprofit's Guide to Going Digital for more information.
Rachel is a fundraising and marketing consultant for nonprofits whose aspiration since she was 16-years-old is simply this: help others, help others.