When it comes to fundraising tools, it doesn’t get much easier than the digital donate button. While fundraising efforts have steadily moved online, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend almost overnight.
Fundraisers of all kinds — from nonprofits and businesses to schools and individuals — were forced to adapt, many using donation buttons and launching online fundraising pages for the first time.
Experienced fundraisers had questions, too, wondering how to optimize their donation pages and get potential givers to actually hit “Donate.”
That’s where we come in! In this short guide, we’ll cover the basics of donate buttons, including features to look for and best practices to supercharge your fundraising.
Basics of the donate button
Simply put, a donate button is one of the most direct ways someone can give (besides handing you the money themselves). It’s linked to a donation form, where donors enter their dollar amount, add their payment information, and complete the transaction, all in a few clicks. You can add a donate button anywhere you want to raise money, like your website, social media profile, email campaign, or even text messages.
A donate button isn’t just a tool for collecting payments.
It’s also your big call-to-action button — how visitors scrolling your homepage or skimming your Facebook page learn what you want them to do next. So, it’s important to create a button and checkout form that’s easy to find and user-friendly. (We’ll give you tips on that later.)
To get a donate button for your cause, you can use online donation software (like Givebutter, a free all-in-one fundraising tool). There’s a variety of options, so finding a button with everything you need can be challenging. Let’s go over what a great donation button looks like.
Choosing the right donate button for your cause
The first step toward successful fundraising is a modern donate button that covers all the bases. The features and resources below let you reach a wider giving audience, tell your story, and keep your fundraising costs under control.
Multiple payment methods 💸
You can get your first quick fundraising win by accepting a wide range of payment types. Although 55% of worldwide donors prefer to give online with a credit or debit card, that leaves another 45% that expect different payment options.
For instance, 12% of donors prefer bank payment options, and 10% want to give with PayPal. Expanding the number of ways you collect donations comes with a lot of perks. See if each potential donation software includes the following:
- Credit card
- Debit card
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
Of course, your button should prioritize digital payment methods, but you’ll also want to be able to record cash and checks.
Recurring donation options 📅
A one-time donation is great, but a monthly recurring donation is a can’t-miss opportunity for most organizations. According to a 2019 Blackbaud report, the average monthly donor gives $35.46 per month — that’s roughly $425 per year. Compare that to the average one-time gift of $128, and you see why organizations are eager to create their monthly giving programs.
A great donate button should make it easy and attractive to change a one-off donation to a recurring one.
For example, Givebutter allows you to offer monthly, quarterly, or yearly donation options. You can also suggest different giving levels and include rich descriptions that explain what each level accomplishes.
Ample customization 🎨
The donation button that comes out of the “box” will be usable, but it may not match the spirit of your brand or cause. For instance, a lime green button might clash with your website’s bright red background. An oversized button, on the other hand, could look clunky to your web-savvy audience.
Make sure you can pull all the customization levers you need to. Here are the button components you should be able to edit (and tips to make them better):
- Text: See if you can freely edit text, use unlimited characters, and adjust things like font and text size. The goal is to use brief but compelling language that will make donors feel inspired, whether it’s “Donate,” “Give now,” or “Change the world.”
- Color: Look for a button image editor that includes a color selector tool or hex editor so you aren’t limited to preset colors (or worse, a single color).
- Size: Check that you can adjust your button size so that it’s always easy to spot among the other images, buttons, and text on your web pages and campaign materials.
A fee-free experience 👍
When you collect payments with your donation button, a number of fees will automatically be deducted by a payment processor like Stripe or PayPal. It’s common to see payment processing fees like 2.9% + $0.30 for each transaction. That means if you receive a $100 donation, you’ll actually end up with $96.80.
In addition, some donation button providers (like GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Indiegogo) charge platform fees as high as 5%, which also eat into your hard-earned funds. There’s good news. Some fundraising platforms, like Givebutter, let your donors cover donation processing costs so you receive 100% of their donation in your bank account.
Mobile-optimized tools 📱
When 50% of all nonprofit website visits come from users on mobile devices, it pays to choose a donation platform that’s mobile-ready. There are many factors that go into a mobile-optimized donation tool, but with the large number of mobile devices and screen sizes, your best bet is software that uses a responsive design.
That means your button and form will automatically change sizes and reorganize content to fit any screen or website builder (like WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, etc.). For instance, your button might shift to sit below your header instead of right beside it. No matter what, grab a mobile device and make sure everything looks alright before you start directing donors there.
Dedicated customer support 🔐
The pièce de résistance? A team of technical experts and customer service representatives ready to go when you need help.
Look for a donation platform that offers knowledgeable, around-the-clock customer support. No one wants to miss out on funds or lose donors due to a technical bug. Whether you prefer phone, chat, or email assistance, make sure there’s a way to ask questions and find answers any time of day. This might also look like an in-depth resource library, FAQ page, or community forum.
The magic button✨
As you can see, the smallest piece in your fundraising toolkit — your donate button — can ultimately have the biggest impact on your success. It’s the primary way your donors will engage with your campaign and make their support real.
So, don’t compromise. Look for a donate button that offers multiple payment methods and donation frequencies, tons of customization, zero fees, mobile optimization, and reliable tech support.
We hope this guide gave you the confidence to choose the right donate button and start collecting donations for your cause. The next step? Get people giving! Read our guide to asking for donations for helpful tips on understanding your audience, creating a persuasive message, and promoting your campaign effectively.
Rachel is a fundraising and marketing consultant for nonprofits whose aspiration since she was 16-years-old is simply this: help others, help others.