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 #1 rated fundraising platform on G2, powering more than $150M in donations annually for thousands of good causes. 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—all completely free, with no hidden fees.
With Givebutter, you can:
- Create beautifully branded donation pages
- Live stream virtual events
- Integrate with 1,000+ third-party applications
- Add Donate Buttons, Donation Forms, or Donation Bubbles to your website 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, ACH, text-to-donate, or even mailing a check
- Send messages to your supporters via email or text using Engage
- Track donor relationships in Givebutter’s built-in CRM system, Track
So, how does Givebutter remain free for supporters?
With Givebutter, there are 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 🤑
Note: In 2022, GoFundMe acquired Classy—while the two platforms remain separate, it did help expand the suite of services offered by each site.
GoFundMe is a digital fundraising website that serves two primary audiences: individuals raising funds for personal causes and nonprofit organizations.
GoFundMe's online fundraising platform offers several must-have fundraising tools, such as SMS outreach, social media sharing, a handy mobile app, and email automation. It also allows you to to build campaign pages complete with videos and photos, and accept payment methods such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and credit card. GoFundMe does not offer features such as multi-team fundraising, event registration, or a supporter feed, but some of these perks are available in Classy (see next section).
GoFundMe charges a 2.9% + 30 cent credit card processing fee, which is automatically deducted from each donation. GoFundMe asks donors to give an optional tip of up to 15%, but these tips do not cover GoFundMe’s transaction fees—instead, they go directly to GoFundMe.
3. Classy 🖥
Note: Classy was acquired by GoFundMe in 2022, but remains an independent platform.
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, in-person and virtual event ticketing, peer-to-peer campaigns, recurring donations, and customizable online donation pages with image, text, and video widgets.
Classy doesn't offer any pricing information on its website, which means you have to fill out a potential user form before gaining a price estimate. After waiting, nonprofits are frequently surprised to find such a high membership fee: The platform charges monthly fees of $299 (or more) plus 5.9% or more per transaction.
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.
Bonfire is free to use, but 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 an 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.
Kickstarter charges an 8% + 20 cent platform fee on average, with micro pledges (donations less than $10) charging a discounted 5% fee + 5 cents per pledge. There is no tip option on Kickstarter and gifts cannot be tax-deductible.
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.
When it comes to pricing, 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 spend between 8–10% of your donations to start fundraising on 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 platform comes complete with event management, virtual fundraising livestreams, branded pages, and third-party integrations, creating an end-to-end donor experience.
Plus, unlike its competitors, Givebutter is actually free to use. Givebutter is the always-free, donor-centric platform that brings out the changemaker in all of us. Givebutter’s all-in-one solution comes complete with 130+ fundraising tools, marketing automation, and a built-in CRM system. Plus, thanks to Givebutter's optional tips model, the average fees across Givebutter hover around 1%.
Kylie thrives on supporting others, making everyone’s jobs easier, and cinnamon in her coffee.