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6 free fundraising platforms for nonprofits, compared

Explore some of the best free fundraising sites, what features they offer, and what fees you can still expect to see.

Anna Bean
June 30, 2023
June 16, 2021
Nerd Mr Butter

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If you're ready to launch a fundraising campaign for a good cause, you want to ensure you actually keep the majority of the funds you raise. Unfortunately, many popular fundraising platforms charge hefty fees, keeping 8% (or more!) of what you earn.

After costs to add on additional features or more contact records—plus platform and processing fees—many "free fundraising sites" aren't really that free. We’ve searched high and low to find the free-est fundraising platforms for nonprofits so you can make an informed decision as you choose the right fit for your organization. 

Are there any free fundraising sites?: Each platform is a little bit different, including how they define “free.” We’ve boiled our list down to six fundraising sites that do not charge platform fees or any monthly or annual subscription fees. And while most free platforms still require transaction fees for secure payment processing, you’ll see how they’ve come up with ways to offset these costs and put more money toward your mission. 

Let’s see what’s free!

1. Givebutter

💸 How free is it? Givebutter is 100% free—no subscriptions or platform fees thanks to optional donor tips. Just the standard 2.9% + $0.30 payment processor fee, which donors cover 95% of the time.

🫰 Can donors cover fees? Yes.

🤝 Optional donor tipping? Yes.

Givebutter is an all-in-one fundraising platform that brings together everything nonprofits need to fund their missions. All of Givebutter’s fundraising features—donation forms, donate buttons, fundraising pages, peer-to-peer campaigns, event ticketing, auctions, and more—are free for nonprofits. And thanks to optional donor tips, Givebutter’s transparent pricing model results in zero platform fees. 

The only fees you’ll see on Givebutter are for secure payment processing, but 95% of donors opt to cover these fees at checkout, which means the average campaign keeps 99.5% of all funds raised. 

Givebutter's donor-friendly platform also saves you the cost and hassle of juggling multiple fundraising websites and logins. With Givebutter, there’s no need for an external email marketing platform, auction software, events management, or even a nonprofit CRM—it’s all included with Givebutter for free.

Plus, Givebutter offers the flexibility for supporters to give however they see fit, accepting ACH, PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, Google Pay, text-to-donate, and donor-advised funds—plus easy offline donations and transaction imports, helping you raise more and keep more to fund your mission.  

2. GoFundMe

💸 How free is it? GoFundMe is also 100% free—no monthly costs or platform fees. But donors do not have the option of covering the standard 2.9% + $0.30 payment processor fee, so you’ll never take home 100% of what you earn.

🫰 Can donors cover fees? No.

🤝 Optional donor tipping? GoFundMe users are required to ask donors for tips.

GoFundMe is the go-to free fundraising site for anyone that needs to get a quick crowdfunding campaign up and running, whether for individual needs like medical emergencies or emergency costs in response to natural disasters. Nonprofits now have more options for fundraising on GoFundMe, and individuals and teams can create pages that fundraise directly on behalf of charities.

GoFundMe’s fee structure is almost identical to Givebutter—except for one little caveat. GoFundMe (like Givebutter) charges zero platform fees—only the standard 2.9% plus 30 cents per donation transaction fee. However, GoFundMe doesn't give donors the option to cover the cost of these fees, so the grand total gets deducted from your campaign. GoFundMe also 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.

Plus, GoFundMe doesn’t support a wide range of payment options. Since GoFundMe doesn't accept Venmo, text-to-donate, or scan-to-donate, donating while on the go (i.e., while attending ticketed fundraising events) can be a hassle for volunteers and supporters alike. And with no event registration features, auction software, or built-in email marketing and donor management, nonprofits on GoFundMe are limited in the scope of fundraising strategies. 

🔎 See a full side-by-side comparison of Givebutter vs GoFundMe →

3. Give Lively

💸 How free is it? Give Lively is 100% free—no subscriptions or platform fees. Payment processing fees vary but are pretty standard.

🫰 Can donors cover fees? Only for certain payment methods.

🤝 Optional donor tipping? Yes.

Give Lively pricing takes a different approach to being free. With philanthropic backing, Give Lively provides a suite of free fundraising tools for nonprofits with no monthly costs or platform fees, although the platform has also recently introduced donor tipping, called “pay free forward.” 

Organizations must complete an application process to access the platform, but those that are accepted can create fundraising pages and peer-to-peer campaigns, and enjoy engaging event features like live display. 

But without features like auction management or CRM, you’ll still have to seek out additional platforms to have a fully operational fundraising and donor engagement plan in place. 

🔎 See a full side-by-side comparison of Givebutter vs Give Lively →

4. Zeffy

💸 How free is it? Zeffy is 100% free with a 0% platform fee and no payment processing fees.

🫰 Can donors cover fees? There are no fees to cover!

🤝 Optional donor tipping? Yes.

New to the scene, Canadian fundraising platform Zeffy takes “free” even further, covering even the fees from its payment processor so that nonprofits always take home every cent they raise. 

Thanks to optional donor tips, Zeffy is able to run on this free model, providing fundraising tools like donation forms, event ticketing, eCommerce, in-person payments, and donor management features. But Zeffy is limited in terms of accepted payment methods and doesn’t provide email and SMS marketing features, auction software, or the level of integrations you can find on other free platforms. 

5. Facebook 

💸 How free is it? Facebook is 100% free—verified nonprofits that raise money on Facebook pay no fees at all.

🫰 Can donors cover fees? There are no fees to cover!

🤝 Optional donor tipping? No.

Anyone can create a fundraiser on Facebook, and in recent years, Facebook has stepped up its nonprofit fundraising offerings, giving organizations the option to add a donate button to their Facebook page and accept donations that get paid out through Meta Pay or Guided Fundraising's donor-advised fund (formerly Network for Good). It’s also easier than ever for any supporter to set up their own Facebook fundraiser for a nonprofit and spread the word to their friends on the platform. 

But while Facebook fundraising is completely free and convenient for organizations and supporters who are active on the platform, nonprofits are quite limited in terms of the donor data they can access. With Facebook’s Nonprofit Manager, organizations can only connect with donors who opt-in to receive messages, and from there, they can only communicate via Facebook Messenger. 

Other free fundraising platforms offer more features, greater access to donor information, and flexibility in engagement options—not to mention easy integration with Facebook too!

6. PayPal 

💸 How free is it? PayPal’s donation features are 100% free. Payment processing fees for charitable donations are 1.99% + $0.49 per donation.

🫰 Can donors cover fees? No.

🤝 Optional donor tipping? No.

Like Facebook, PayPal for nonprofits provides online fundraising pages and donate buttons for small organizations, as well as convenient ways for supporters to contribute when they use PayPal for their online shopping. But as with Facebook, you’ll have limited access to donor data when you accept donations on the platform, making it hard to steward new supporters and build relationships. 

Plus, beyond accepting donations, PayPal doesn’t come close to offering the range of features you’ll get with other free fundraising platforms. A good workaround? On most free fundraising sites, PayPal is offered as a payment option among several others—all on one universal fundraising form or donate button. Plus, your nonprofit doesn’t even need to have a PayPal account to easily accept PayPal donations

🔎 See a full side-by-side comparison of Givebutter vs PayPal →

Free fundraising is better with Givebutter

To reach your fundraising goal, you need a platform that offers enough features to engage your audience without taking a huge cut of your earnings.

Givebutter is the best free fundraising platform for nonprofits, equipping changemakers with hundreds of free features to create a truly all-in-one fundraising solution.

With Givebutter, you can: 

Ready to start fundraising for free on Givebutter? Sign up today and launch your first campaign in minutes. 

Get started
Set up your peer-to-peer fundraiser for free in just a few minutes →

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