Looking to raise money for a good cause?
If you're ready to launch a fundraising campaign, you want to ensure you actually keep the majority of funds raised. Unfortunately, many popular fundraising platforms charge hefty fees, keeping 10% (or more) of what you earn.
This only worsens an ever-present problem within the nonprofit sector: underfunding. In 2020 alone, more than half (58%, to be exact) of nonprofit employees reported cases of budget cuts. In addition, roughly 1 in 5 nonprofit organizations experienced layoffs in 2020, while 30% had hiring freezes.
Translation: During a global pandemic, between headlines of social unrest, fights for social justice, and climate change, nonprofit staff are strapped for cash.
This can prevent nonprofit employees from getting the tools, resources, and extra hands necessary to do their jobs—and a fundraising platform keeping 10% of what you raise certainly won't help.
To help you hit your fundraising goal and keep more of what you raise, we're diving into a list of free fundraising platforms for nonprofits. Below, we explain which online fundraising site will help you hit your financial goals, while offering the tools needed for a successful campaign.
6 free fundraising platforms for nonprofits to hit their campaign goal
Plenty of fundraising websites advertise themselves as a free platform, yet take 5–10% of your funds raised. Keep reading to see which fundraising sites offer the lowest (and highest) rates in the industry.
1. Givebutter 🏆
Givebutter's all-in-one, always free, donor-friendly platform is a great choice for nonprofits — mainly because it offers 130+ free fundraising tools to get you up and running.
Givebutter is the world's first completely free, end-to-end fundraising platform empowering more than $150 million in donations across 35,000 campaigns. The Givebutter platform offers a complete suite of fundraising features, marketing automation to engage supporters, and a built-in CRM platform to track your progress and donor data.
With Givebutter, you can:
- Create beautifully branded donation pages
- Livestream virtual events
- Integrate with 1,000+ third-party applications
- Embed donation forms on your website
- Launch peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns
- Plan ticketed fundraising events
- Accept virtually every payment type, including Venmo, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Stripe, text-to-donate, or even mailing a check
So, how does Givebutter remain free for supporters?
With Givebutter, there's no contracts, no hidden fees, and no hidden costs. Givebutter is free thanks to optional tips, which can be paid by donors (and 95% choose to do so). Donor tips cover the use of Givebutter's all-in-one platform and payment processing fees (which range between 1.9–2.9% + 30 cents per donation). Typically, the average fees across all Givebutter campaigns is 1%, the lowest pricing in the industry.
2. GoFundMe 🤑
GoFundMe is a fundraising website that allows individuals to raise funds for personal causes. Unfortunately, if you're looking to use GoFundMe as part of your fundraising strategy, you'll find it lacks many must-have features to hit your goal.
GoFundMe's platform is not intuitive, and requires a long learning curve to get up and running. Plus, the platform has hardly changed in 10+ years, and lacks a number of features expected from online fundraising platforms. For example, while GoFundMe allows you to invite support through text, email, and social media outreach, it doesn't enable multi-team campaigns. And while you can create an online campaign with video, photos, and a story, GoFundMe can't handle event registration, live streamed events, or even a supporter feed.
Lastly, GoFundMe is not transparent with their pricing model. They charge a 2.9% + 30 cent credit card processing fee, which remains hidden from supporters. In addition, they charge platform fees that can be as high as 15%, and the site makes it incredibly difficult for donors to opt out.
3. Classy 🖥
Classy's fundraising solutions are fairly robust, helping nonprofit startups expand to a global scale. Classy's functionality comes with a built-in CRM platform, donor management, event ticketing, and customizable online donation pages with image, text, and video widgets.
Unfortunately, if you want to start fundraising with Classy, you should expect to pay a pretty penny. Classy doesn't offer any pricing information on its website, forcing you to fill out a potential user form before gaining a price estimate. After waiting for a response, you might be shocked to find the platform charges monthly fees of $299 (or more).
4. Bonfire 👕
Bonfire is a fundraising and crowdfunding platform that's built entirely around T-shirt campaigns.
With Bonfire, users design and sell custom T-shirts before selling them through their donation pages or an online merchandise store. The platform is incredibly user-friendly, even allowing users to build a design from scratch or start from a pre-designed template.
While Bonfire is technically free to use, you won't keep 100% of total sales. Instead, Bonfire takes a cut of your gross sales to pay for manufacturing, sourcing, printing, and shipping costs. While Bonfire does allow supporters to contribute extra dollars to your cause, it charges a significant 8% donation processing fee.
5. Kickstarter 🏃
Kickstarter does not allow general charitable fundraising on its platform, so it wouldn't be a good fit for many online giving campaigns. However, if you're creating something new and shareable on your fundraising page (example: Your organization records and distributes a holiday album to boost year-end donations), that would fall within Kickstarter's guidelines.
Kickstarter's fees are some of the highest in the industry, yet offer the lowest success rating. Kickstarter's crowdfunding campaigns follow an all-or-nothing model, and only 56% of campaigns succeed. Here's how it works: If you hit your campaign goal, you keep what you raise — but if you fall short, you have to return your funds to your supporters.
In addition, Kickstarter does not list transparent platform fees on its campaign pages or display them during the check-out process. Kickstarter charges an 8% + 20 cent platform fee on average, with micro pledges (donations less than $10) charging a discounted 5% fee.
6. Fundly 💰
Fundly's fundraising software is built for nonprofits, clubs, universities, and social clubs.
Launching a nonprofit fundraising campaign on Fundly is incredibly easy, offering an intuitive interface. In addition, Fundly offers some basic features, including social sharing tools, a supporter feed, mobile app, and custom-branded pages with photos, videos, and an easy-to-use page builder.
Unfortunately, Fundly's platform fees can put a serious dent in your fundraising efforts. To start, Fundly charges a 4.9% platform fee per transaction. Plus, Fundly strictly uses Stripe for payment processing, which charges an additional 2.9% + 30 cent transaction fee. In total, you can expect to give up between 8–10% of your funds raised using Fundly.
Givebutter is the best free fundraising platform for nonprofits
Nonprofit organizations are facing layoffs, budget cuts, and hiring freezes now more than ever before.
To help support your organization and hit your year-end goal, you need a free fundraising platform.
Givebutter is the best fundraising platform for nonprofits because it offers hundreds of free features, while offering the lowest fees in the industry. Givebutter's all-in-one platform comes complete with event management, virtual fundraising livestreams, branded pages, third-party integrations, marketing automation, and a built-in CRM platform.
Plus, unlike its competitors, Givebutter is actually free to use. Thanks to Givebutter's optional tips model, the average fees across Givebutter hover around 1%.
Ready to see how Givebutter can take your nonprofit to the next level? Launch your free account to get started.
Kylie thrives on supporting others, going above and beyond every task, making everyone’s jobs easier, and cinnamon in her coffee.