Choosing Fundraising Software For Your Nonprofit, Part 1: Price

As with any business, nonprofits need to stay nimble and ready to adjust their business strategies according to the landscape. Along with continued growth of overall online giving, the percentage of online visitors who completed a gift to a nonprofit websites has also seen growth. Your nonprofit’s website needs to be ready to make the most of visitors, and a good digital fundraising solution can go a long way.

We’ll be presenting a 3 part series that breaks down key factors of your decision:

Part One: Price

Part Two: Features & Functionality

Part Three: Integrations

Let’s start with the most obvious and important factor: price. As a nonprofit, keeping costs low so more of your revenue goes to your cause is always important. With that in mind, the fundraising software category features solutions that touch just about every price point. Let’s take some time to explore each pricing option.

One important factor to consider with all of these models is payment processing. If you're taking donations online, there will be a fee incurred in order to process credit cards. Some processors, such as Stripe, offer discounted rates for nonprofits.

Percentage of Donations:
This is the most straightforward pricing model. Unlike solutions with a fixed monthly fee, percentage-based pricing ensures you never overpay in a slow fundraising month.

Additionally, the flat percentage makes it much simpler to ask your donors to cover your processing fees, a common online practice today. Doing this simply adds the platform fee onto their donation, ensuring you receive 100% of their intended gift. If your donors opt to do this, the true cost of the software will decrease accordingly.


Fixed Monthly Fee:
This structure is probably the most common, but can also be the most frustrating. When evaluating the software, check and see if the “monthly fee” will actually be charged annually or if it is a true month-to-month payment plan. Many times, the advertised rate is actually the annual rate, which you will only receive if you cut a large check at the beginning of your relationship with this software.

It’s not all bad with fixed monthly fees, however. In months where you are expected to raise a lot of money, you can end up saving slightly over the percentage based structure, since you know your cost will not fluctuate. Unlike the percentage though, it is slightly trickier to ask donors to cover these costs.

As mentioned earlier, solutions that charge a flat monthly fee are typically not inclusive of payment processing fees, so the monthly cost will likely be on top of those costs.

Per Donor Record:
Some fundraising software will tier their pricing based on the number of donors, or donor records. As these solutions will get more expensive as you find more donors, you should be sure to do math to calculate your cost of growth. It is possible that the increase in cost could actually neutralize your growth in the long run.


As with all of these pricing models, a big piece of why you'll be paying the cost is the features you're getting in return.


Continue on to Part 2: Features