Next Dimension Accounting is client and technology focused. We work hand in hand with many charities and not for profit organisations and we are always on the lookout for new methods and tools that support their growth and success.
Online giving has become an entrenched part of donating and NFPs using digital donation tools have seen substantial gains. These are some of the current benefits, trends and implications of digital fundraising options.
The charity sector embraces many forms of giving, from gold coins dropped in a bucket to sophisticated crowdfunding campaigns that raise thousands in minutes.
It is worth exploring the newer electronic forms of donation. Digital donations can reduce your organisation’s admin, plus streamline payments, accounting and tax processes for the donor too. They may also connect your cause with new realms of potential donors. However, also consider the implications for your organisation when you use digital donation tools.
Digital donation tools offer a range of benefits, especially to charities operating on a shoestring.
Digital tools automate the donation process. Donors enters their details and the digital tool processes payments and then issues receipts and thank-you letters. This method increases the accuracy of donor information and expedites their receipts efficiently – which is a key concern for many donors. Your office also wins, with less paperwork and the funds transferred and received efficiently. Because automation makes donating easier, it encourages giving on an ongoing, regular basis.
Digital tools accomplish donation admin tasks in a timely way. Because processes are automated you don’t need to wait for someone to be in the office to take phone calls, open the post, or issue and then mail receipts. This is a big advantage towards the end of the financial year when donors want quick receipting for tax purposes.
Digital tools utilise common devices, such as mobile phones, that donors prefer to use for their daily transactions like shopping and paying bills. This makes it simpler for the public donor to act on an impulse to give.
For your accounting purposes, reporting is easier and quicker as the digital tools work from accurate data supplied by the donor and can generate informative reports automatically in your required format. Presenting information to the board becomes easier with the reports that are generated.
The integrations that come with fundraising tools are also worth reviewing. Useful integrations such as PayPal, Facebook or Mailchimp can help with admin and marketing. Integrations like Google Analytics, for example, can make it easier for you to analyse data and interpret giving patterns.
Once your organisation is active online – through tools or third-party platforms – you extend your NFP’s potential reach to the global online audience and can communicate your cause far more widely.
Remember though to consider the financial costs in terms of fees and pricing.
Digital tools and third-party platforms now trending
While many digital tools and third-party platforms are available, we have briefly examined a few that are popular with NFPs:
|• Australian owned
|• QR codes
|• Plugin website integration
|• Online auction capabilities
Shout is an Australian business that offers: tools to fundraise for the web or app; hand-held terminals to accept cards and payments; easy plug-ins for website integration; SMS keyword options for donors, which are useful for large events; QR codes directing donors to your fundraising page with a scan from their mobile phone; and an online auction platform for charities to host silent or open auctions.
|• Overseas platform
|• Code for website embeds
|• Website pop-ups
|• Multiple currencies and languages
Donorbox is a platform that provides a smart donation form for NFPs that embeds directly into your website or as a pop-up. The fast checkout process makes online payments smooth and stress free. The platform offers great functionality with only 1 click to set up a recurring donation. By supporting more than 20 popular currencies and 11 different languages this platform helps your NFP acquire a global reach. Marketing your campaign is also easier with pop-up donation forms, a donor wall and a goal meter to register fundraising progress – the meter can be within your form design or embedded separately. Crowdfunding campaign pages are also quick to set up and easy to personalise to encourage donors.
|• Australian platform
|• No platform fee on donation forms, fundraising and campaigns
|• Provides fundraising tools, including event websites
|• Peer-to-peer fundraising options
My Cause is an Australian business that operates an online crowdfunding and fundraising platform. For Australian charities it provides free fundraising. Donation forms can be tailor-made with your organisation’s branding and colours. Options include SMS giving. Donor contributions are all receipted and the funds are sent directly to the charity. The campaign reach can be extended to family and friends. Event websites offer integrations with registrations, fundraising and merchandise, as well as phone, email and ticketing support to fundraisers and donors.
|• Overseas platform
|• Expert advice
|• Mobile app to improve donor and organiser experience
|• Fraud protection with donor protection guarantee
GoFundMe is a well-known overseas based business, enabling millions of users to choose a charity and launch a fundraiser for them. It has provided fast and safe fundraising options for eight years. As an experienced market leader in the fundraising space, GoFundMe is able to offer expert customer service and advice around the clock. Its services are trusted by institutions around the world and backed by a donor protection guarantee. Its tools enable funds to be raised quickly, which allows communities to be supported as soon as possible when disasters strike.
|• Overseas platform
|• Caters for all-virtual event or ‘hybrid’ event – virtual and in-person attendance
|• Flexible tools for virtual fundraising events
|• Fundraising activities include silent auctions, raffles and trivia contests
RallyUp is an overseas business embracing new technology to provide interactive online fundraisers. It provides a platform for fundraising activities such as silent auctions, raffles, trivia contests and paddle raises. The tools enable you to manage the whole process of virtual fundraising, including the key event and donor contributions, as well as recurring giving.
Incorporating digital donations in your processes
To incorporate digital fundraising tools in your accounts procedures, keep up to date with advice from the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), such as their crowdfunding guide, and act on these tips:
- Calculate the real costs, such as platform fees or percentage-based plans before you sign up
- If you are a deductible gift recipient (DGR), meet your ATO requirements, for example with the issuing of receipts
- Ensure your collection, storage and use of donor data complies with relevant privacy laws.
- Ensure your Australian charity complies with the different state and territory fundraising legislation.
- Feature your online fundraising facility prominently on the homepage of your website.
- Remember that donations are voluntary and however high-tech your tools are, you still need to communicate your story and explain the worth of your cause.