Top 12 Best Donation Platforms for Nonprofits Comparison 2024

March 17, 2024
10 minutes
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Donations make the nonprofit world go round. But it's online donation platforms that keep it from spinning off its axis and crashing into the sun. After all, a solid donation platform allows your donors to give any time, anywhere, securely and easily.

Whatever your needs, there's a platform out there ready to spring into action and help you accept online donations like a pro. And while Funraise is the best donation platform for nonprofits (we'll get to why in a second), there are some other great platforms out there if you're not quite ready for that

What are online fundraising platforms?

It's ok to ask! Online fundraising platforms are digital tools that provide a convenient and efficient way for nonprofits to raise money for their causes. Platforms like Funraise leverage technology to help organizations reach a wider audience and maximize their fundraising efforts.

At its most basic, online fundraising software for nonprofits can be a PayPal form on your website and an Excel spreadsheet, but that's not a fundraising website or a donor database. To run online campaigns, create personalized fundraising campaigns, share fundraisers with potential donors, and collect donations securely through various payment methods, nonprofits need a wide range of modern tools.

What are the benefits of online fundraising platforms?

Online fundraising platforms like Funraise have become increasingly popular among nonprofits these days. Here are just a few of the advantages that nonprofits often see:

1. Accessible: Nonprofit fundraising platforms make it easy for donors to contribute to a cause. Donors can easily access the platform from anywhere at any time, making it easier for them to make donations.

2. Cost-effective: Traditional fundraising methods often involve significant costs to set up and maintain. And a bunch of separate fundraising tools each incur their own fees: platform fees, payment processing fees, and transaction fees. But a solid fundraising platform will help nonprofits see significant ROI and provide ways to cover those fees.

3. Time Savings: One of the biggest savings that a robust fundraising platform can provide is time savings. Instead of having to write individual gift receipts, imagine having them go out automatically. Instead of needing a team or an outside consultant to build a branded campaign page, imagine being able to do it yourself—in less than an hour.

Features to look for in a virtual fundraising platform

The funding world is your oyster! In a comprehensive fundraising platform (Funraise), you can find advanced features like crowdfunding campaigns, peer fundraisers, a wide variety of payment options like Google Pay and cryptocurrency donations, donor management software, customizable donation forms, donor portals, fundraising sites, and powerful tools for event fundraising

A word on fundraising platform fees

All companies that perform online transactions incur fees—including nonprofits. Whether it's processing fees from a payment gateway or platform fees from a nonprofit fundraising platform, online payment fees are necessary to maintain the security and performance of online payment infrastructures.

In 2021, Funraise took the unprecedented step to lift the burden of online payment fees and platform transaction fees so that the greatest amount of the donors' gift goes to impact. While donor-covered fee strategies aren't new, no other fundraising platform prioritizes nonprofits' needs and donors' generosity like Funraise.

Online donation platforms for nonprofits comparison chart (top 10 highest rated)

We know why you’re here, so we’ll get straight to the good stuff. Here are the top 10 online donation platforms for nonprofits, depending on your specific needs.

Best Donation Platforms for Nonprofits

Product Best for
Funraise All-in-one nonprofit donation management
Streamlabs Livestream donations
GoFundMe Crowdfunding
ThankView Video fundraising
PledgeIt Peer-to-peer fundraising
Mailchimp Email fundraising
Give Lively Mobile fundraising
Double the Donation Company matching
Classy Events and Ticketing
OneCause Auctions

What are the different types of donation platforms?

While Funraise leads the donation platform pack with all the features you need, want, or fantasize about in your wildest dreams (we’re not alone in dreaming about fundraising, right?), there are a number of different types of donation platforms out there.

  • Online fundraising platform
  • Classic fundraising platform
  • Event donation platform
  • Pledge donation platform
  • Video and livestreaming platform
  • Crowdfunding platform
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising platform
  • Auction platform
  • Social media platform
  • Mobile giving platform
  • Company matching platform
  • Direct mail platform

What are the best donation platforms for nonprofits? Here’s our top 12 list:

Whether you’re going all-in on text fundraising or focusing on crowdfunding campaigns over anything else, there’s a donation platform for you—and often, you’ll have several dozen options to choose from. To cut through the noise, here are the best donation platforms for nonprofits. We’ll start with Funraise, of course.

1. Funraise (best donation platform for nonprofits overall)

Illustration of Funraise's fundraising website editor including an example fundraising page with donation progress bar.

There are donation platforms out there for P2P campaigns, email fundraising, and fundraising with pygmy goats. (Okay, that last one doesn’t exist; although, if you want some great goat-related fundraising ideas, ask away!) But Funraise does it all. It’s a user-friendly CRM with fantabulous customer support, transparent pricing, and all the fundraising tools you could possibly want. For that reason, it’s the best donation platform for nonprofits. (Funraise is also the best peer-to-peer fundraising platform—go ahead and check out our comparison list!)

Key features:

  • Quickly build and edit branded fundraising websites, donation pages, donate buttons, and online donation forms
  • Accept donations securely and seamlessly
  • Enable company matching with a click
  • Automate tasks, emails, and donation processes
  • Manage donor data with custom reports and dashboards
  • Run elevated events with end-to-end solutions
  • Foster consistent growth by accepting recurring donations
  • Connect your favorite tools through flexible integrations

Why we love it:

Funraise does what other nonprofit donation platforms only dream of (if donation platforms dream), creating an exceptional giving experience and making fundraising effortless. Our integrated suite of donor management and digital fundraising tools is easy to use, our customer support team goes above and beyond, and our platform functionality is second to none. And we’re not just talking in sweeping generalizations: in 2020, organizations using Funraise grew online revenue 77% on average and recurring revenue 53% on average.

Why we don’t:

Nothing but love here! But if we had to list one reason, it’s that the sheer perfection can be blinding for some.

Make practical profit predictions with a recurring program.

2. Streamlabs (top free livestreaming donation platform)

Streamlabs is a livestreaming and recording software. Here at Funraise, we’re big fans of livestream fundraising, which sounds super cutting-edge and high-tech but is accessible for everyone. Streamlabs makes it easy to solicit direct donations on your livestream.

Key features:

  • Livestream to any platform: Twitch, YouTube, Facebook Live, and more
  • Personalize streams with themes and overlays
  • Stream to multiple platforms at once to expand your reach
  • Rewards for fans who donate during charity streams
  • Milestones widget crosses off fundraising milestones as you hit them

Why we love it:

First of all, Streamlabs is 100% free for nonprofits, with no hidden monthly fees (a rarity these days!). It lets you use multiple audio and video sources, and while there’s a bit of a learning curve, after that, you can get moving quickly. Streamlabs gives you access to a whole new donor base, many of whom will be the next generation of major donors. And while you’ll have to flex those relationship-building muscles to fully take advantage of this fundraising stream, once you’ve befriended some do-good influencers, you can sit back, relax, and watch your revenue grow.

Why we prefer Funraise:

Streamlabs makes your livestreaming dreams a reality, and that’s why Funraise has a Streamlabs fundraising integration. With it, you can access all the features above, plus easily connect live fundraising events to peer-to-peer campaign pages, configure on-screen alerts for each donation, and access all of Funraise’s non-livestreaming features.

3. GoFundMe (top crowdfunding donation platform)

GoFundMe is known as the go-to crowdfunding platform for individual fundraising efforts. Sometimes this means raising funds for the local animal shelter; other times, it means funding someone’s motorcycle backpacking trip to Europe.

Key features:

  • Have your supporters set up individual fundraising pages in minutes
  • Easily share your story and your fundraiser far and wide
  • Access a huge network, with millions of users
  • Set fundraising goals and track your progress
  • Withdraw funds from a fundraiser at any time

Why we love it:

GoFundMe has been around the block, and they know what they’re doing when it comes to crowdfunding. Anyone can set up a page and get fundraising for a nonprofit with a few clicks. What does that mean for you, nonprofiteer? An accessible tool for your supporters of all ages (and tech abilities) as well as access to a vast network of prospective donors.

Why we prefer Funraise:

GoFundMe is a great way to collect donations with crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising, but it doesn’t offer any other donation tools. There’s no company matching, recurring giving options, or branded pages. No CRM to steward your donors. None of the nonprofit-specific innovations that make your job (and life!) easier. (What’s that? Funraise offers all those tools and more? You don’t say!) Basically, this is a minimalist online fundraising tool—and we think you deserve a little more than that.

4. ThankView (good video online giving platform)

Thankview allows you to easily create personalized videos to bolster your fundraising efforts. You can craft a delightful donor experience with event invites, customized thank-you clips, and client stories. It’s like Cameo, except no one’s famous!

Key features:

  • Add, edit, and caption personalized videos
  • Jazz things up with banners, GIFs, and music
  • Store unlimited videos in your video library
  • Easily request videos from volunteers, clients, or staff members
  • Access metrics like who’s watched and how many times

Why we love it:

In a world where personalization is quing (that’s the gender-neutral term for king + queen, FYI), ThankView offers truly personalized gift acknowledgments and outreach. Everything is branded, creating a consistent, polished donor experience, and recipients can engage with the videos in a variety of ways. Plus, we just really like videos. They remind us of Netflix!

Why we prefer Funraise:

ThankView is great for building donor relationships and a fun way to switch up your fundraising. But videos alone do not a donation platform make. Instead, use Funraise to explore a variety of mediums and appeal to as many folks as possible. Once you zero in on each donor’s preferred mode of communication, you can keep track of ’em in our mighty CRM and follow up accordingly.

5. PledgeIt (good peer-to-peer fundraising platform)

PledgeIt is all about P2P fundraising campaigns, empowering supporters to raise money for nonprofit organizations through their networks. It’s geared toward athletic and nonprofit fundraising, so there’s an emphasis on making a positive impact through sports.

Key features:

  • Collect one-time donations or pledges based on performance
  • Easily share donation pages on social media
  • Foster friendly competition with leaderboards
  • Unite your supporters and collect pledges with virtual fitness challenges

Why we love it:

If your nonprofit fundraising strategy is built around walk-a-thons, bike-a-thons, or chess-a-thons (why not?), PledgeIt is a strong platform. And while we don’t consider ourselves the competitive type, we love the real-time leaderboards and personal fitness challenges, which can inspire your more competitive donors to raise the bar.

Why we prefer Funraise:

PledgeIt is great for all your peer-to-peer fundraising needs if you don't have Funraise, but we bet you need more than that. With Funraise, you get the industry's best peer-to-peer fundraising and so much more. Sprinkle on some social fundraising to spread the word, followed by a virtual donor appreciation event to ensure your new supporters stick around. Also, sometimes we don’t want to go jogging, but we still want to raise money for a good cause! Where’s the Netflix-binge-a-thon option?

6. Mailchimp (great for email fundraising)

Mailchimp is a marketing platform that provides you with a variety of growth-centric tools. It has pre-designed email and landing page templates as well as marketing automation tools.

Key features:

  • Create and measure multi-channel campaigns
  • Showcase your brand with free templates
  • Visualize and coordinate your marketing plan with a single calendar tool
  • Send printed postcards for a personal touch
  • Integrate with Funraise for the best of both worlds

Why we love it:

Mailchimp is a great tool when it comes to small business and startup marketing outreach. And Mailchimp + Funraise = a mighty duo. Together, they allow you to automate email flows based on donation and fundraising activity, send segmented emails based on donation amounts, and send donation asks based on a donor’s last donation date. It’s powerful stuff!

Why we prefer Funraise:

Mailchimp is a marketing outreach powerhouse, but it’s not designed for nonprofits. To get the most out of the platform, you’ll need to integrate it with donor and fundraising data. Luckily, there’s Funraise for that. Also, Mailchimp plans can get pricey for larger organizations since they scale based on your subscribers.

7. Give Lively (mobile fundraising donation platform)

Give Lively is an online fundraising solution with a focus on mobile giving. The platform offers a variety of fundraising tools, including text campaigns, event registration, and fundraising pages.

Key features:

  • Easily collect donations on the go with text-to-donate fundraising tools
  • Embed donation widgets to collect donations on your site
  • Manage event ticketing and sponsorships with event pages
  • Free for nonprofits, with no setup fees or subscription fees

Why we love it:

Give Lively provides the basic tools you need for digital fundraising, and it’s completely free for nonprofits. This makes it a great jumping-off point for small nonprofits that don’t need a lot of flexibility or customization. (One note: While Give Lively’s software is free, there are still payment processing fees associated with third-party payment processors, like Stripe and PayPal.)

Why we prefer Funraise:

Both Give Lively and Funraise are text-engagement masters, but Give Lively uses short code texting, while Funraise uses long code texting. What’s the difference? Short code is for one-way, non-personal communication and mass texting while long code is the language of engaging customer communication. In other words, Funraise is the one you want for personalized, branded texts. And once you use Funraise’s text tools, you’ll have a world of nonprofit wonder at your fingertips thanks to our powerful CRM and automation tools.

8. Double the Donation (donate with company matching)

Double the Donation is the go-to matching gift online fundraising software. It makes it easy to check on whether an employer matches donations, potentially doubling your fundraising power.

Key features:

  • Access the largest gift-matching database in the industry
  • Let donors check for employer gift matching in seconds
  • Automatically send matching gift forms and instructions to your donors
  • Integrates with Funraise for double the awesomeness

Why we love it:

Company matching is the best way to, well, double your donations, and yet so many donors don’t even know it’s an option. With Double the Donation, you can enable company matching in seconds, saving donors time and effort. Donors simply search for their employer, click, and go about their day.

Why we prefer Funraise:

Funraise’s Double the Donation fundraising integration lets you automate the matching process through Funraise and set up automations so that donors receive their Double the Donation match email along with their individual thank you. It’s a match made in nonprofit heaven!

9. PayPal (top one-click donation platform)

PayPal was created in 1998, so it definitely has some legacy knowledge. This online payment platform lets anyone send money to anyone else. It also offers nonprofit fundraising tools and connects you to a network of nearly 400 million users.

Key features:

  • Easily and securely send and receive payments online
  • Create and customize a donate button for your homepage
  • Encrypt bank and credit card information for secure payment
  • Accept major credit cards and debit cards

Why we love it:

Everyone knows PayPal, and that level of recognition makes it an easy and convenient payment option. Donors can give with a click of that well-known donate button, adding a layer of security and trust.

Why we prefer Funraise:

PayPal is a great payment processing tool, but it’s not an all-in-one fundraising solution. And that’s why Funraise offers a PayPal integration! Funraise makes up for the key tools PayPal lacks, and we give you that human touch in the form of our amazeballs customer service team.

10. Classy (good for events and ticketing)

Classy is an online fundraising platform that offers a suite of tools to support nonprofit giving.

Key features:

  • Create custom donation pages and team fundraising pages
  • Manage events with custom event registration and ticketing pages
  • Establish reliable giving through recurring donations
  • Automate various processes, such as email outreach and receipts

Why we love it:

Classy is a well-known force in the online fundraising world, with all the basic fundraising tools you know and love. They’re especially well known for their event registration and ticketing tools.

Why we prefer Funraise:

We like a self-starter in the world of nonprofits, and Classy’s owned by GoFundMe. At Funraise, we control our own roadmap and answer to no one! Except, y’know, our amazing nonprofit customers. We answer to them 24/7/365. Also, with Funraise you can sign up for free and get all the basic features a small nonprofit needs. With Classy, there’s no such thing as a free fundraising lunch. Er, we mean platform.

11. OneCause (top auction platform)

OneCause offers a variety of event-centric fundraising tools, including mobile bidding and auction software.

Key features:

  • Easily manage silent auctions, live auctions, and online auctions
  • Streamline your events with tools to manage table assignments and seating
  • Plan and execute virtual fundraising events end-to-end
  • Use marketing automation tools to promote your event and boost engagement

Why we love it:

OneCause offers powerful event planning and management tools for in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. We’re especially fond of the auction management system and implementation of mobile bidding. Thanks to fun features like outbid notifications and sign-up parties, it’s a great way to boost donor engagement and build excitement.

Why we prefer Funraise:

If you’re just looking to plan a fundraising auction, OneCause is a strong platform choice. If you’re looking to integrate your events with a comprehensive fundraising strategy—and most of us are—you’ll need a few more tools in the old digital fundraising tool kit. Funraise offers all-in-one online event ticketing software and virtual event solutions—plus a plethora of other fundraising tools.

12. Facebook/Instagram (social media fundraising)

Facebook, Instagram, Meta … potato, po-tah-to. These social media giants are the donation platforms of choice when it comes to social media fundraising. (At least for now. Social media changes so quickly these days! Ugh, we feel old.)

Key features:

  • Collect donations for a nonprofit organization from an Instagram or Facebook post
  • Share fundraisers with other users by tagging them, messaging them, or posting to other accounts
  • Fundraisers can pledge to match all Facebook donations, doubling fundraising potential

Why we love it:

We’re already on social media all day anyway, so why not waste time for a good cause? Facebook and Instagram make it easy to create a fundraiser to celebrate a milestone or honor a loved one. Plus, these fundraisers open you up to a whole new donor population.

Why we prefer Funraise:

Funraise integrates with all your fav social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. You can sync your Facebook and Insta donation and donor data directly with Funraise and gain visibility into the performance of overall Facebook and Instagram fundraising as well as individual campaigns. As long as you don’t get too distracted by cat videos, it’s a fierce fundraising solution.

What do the top free online donation platforms cost?

“Wait,” you’re saying to yourself. “Silly Funraise! The top free online donation platforms cost nothing, obvi. That’s what ‘free’ means.” Friend, we wish this were true, but most of the free solutions out there come with many a hidden cost. Here’s the DL on a few popular “free” donation platforms.

Cost of free online donation platforms

Donation platform Hidden costs
Funraise Funraise is effectively free when Donors Cover Fees.
Give Lively Give Lively customers must use Stripe, with current fees for registered nonprofits at 2.2% + 30 cents (3.5% for American Express).
GoFundMe 2.9% + 30 cent credit card processing fee is automatically deducted from each donation. They also ask donors to give an optional 15% tip, which goes directly to GoFundMe.
Givebutter 2.9% + 30 cent credit card processing fee; “optional” donor tips can cover costs and payment processing fees, but if you choose to hide tips, there’s a platform fee of 1-5% based on donation method.
Bonfire The t-shirt fundraising platform is free to use, but manufacturing, sourcing, and printing are not. There’s also an 8% processing fee (reduced to 3.5% for nonprofits).

What is a donation platform & what does it do?

A donation platform is a piece of fundraising software that accepts and processes online donations for nonprofits. At their most basic, donation platforms streamline the donation process, offer security, and ensure a seamless donation experience for your donors. Of course, not all donation platforms are created equal, and they all have different functionality, tools, user interfaces, and features.

What are nonprofit donation platforms good for?

They’re good for making the world a better place, but of course! But on the more technical side, nonprofit donation platforms are good for pretty much everything fundraising-related. (At least that’s true with an awesome all-in-one solution like Funraise!) Organize monthly giving programs, build branded donation experiences for your website, manage fundraising events and ticketing, automate tasks and outreach—the list goes on. And on. And on. A good nonprofit donation platform is mighty indeed.

Best donation sites for nonprofits: which is best for me?

And there you have it: all the tea on the best donation sites for nonprofits. To recap:

  • While a nonprofit donation platform is software that securely accepts and processes donations, the best donation platforms do a lot more than that.
  • With an all-in-one donation platform, you can automate fundraising processes, build custom reports and dashboards, run virtual and in-person events, create peer-to-peer fundraising pages, and much more.
  • The best online donation platform depends on your nonprofit’s individual needs and budget. That being said, Funraise can meet pretty much any need, and we have a free version with all the basic fundraising tools—plus a few extra goodies. So, give it a try!
  • Looking for the best nonprofit software programs? We've got that covered, too.
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