Online fundraising platforms – the Pros and Cons

By April 23, 2019 No Comments
hands on a computer keyboard with a cup of coffee on the left and a book on fundraising and the computer mouse on the right

Online fundraising platforms – the Pros and Cons

Receiving donations is so much easier when the donor can view your website content and then click a button that allows them to make an immediate donation. The added advantage is that potential donors can respond to a campaign that you are running or in response to your regular messages.

Australians are adopters of digital payments and according to PayPal Australians have over 7 million active PayPal accounts. Combine this figure with the 60% of Australian donors who donate on the spur of the moment (according to the Australian Government’s Giving Australia 2016 report) then the value of payment gateways that can be accessed via a smartphone and social networking platform becomes evident in facilitating the easy payment of donations.

Whilst online fundraising platforms are becoming increasingly popular and offer new options to raise money through integrated features that allow you to create a dedicated page with dynamic content including captivating images or videos, that target your donors’ emotions to reinforce your ask, it is not as simple as signing up, creating a page and the donations commence

Online fundraising platforms have pros and cons and below we have identified some of them.


You can expand your reach. Online platforms allow you to connect your donation gateway to all of your online marketing making it easier for donors and prospective donors to reach you with a simple click of a button.

You can attach various campaignsIf you are operating a program of corporate giving or peer to peer fundraising, maybe you want to hold an online auction a fundraising platform will allow you the ability to manage all of this from one central location.

Donors can set up their own mini-fundraising campaigns Perhaps you have donors who want to raise funds for you by undertaking a challenge. Many platforms will allow them to establish a fundraising campaign and generate donations for you.

It caters to younger donors People aged 25-50 are more likely to donate online using mobile apps and online giving platforms. By promoting your campaign or activities online you can appeal to this younger demographic, you can increase the chances of getting their support.

It saves you time Most platforms make setting up a campaign page relatively easy. Also, they’re likely to have a range of automated functions like donor receipts, thank you emails, donor data collection, and more that will save you lots of time.


The fees. Fees vary between platforms and you might pay set up fee or registration fees plus transaction fees or % of each donation. But, remember that no fundraising platform is free. You might also pay GST and credit card processing fees.

Not a good option if you’re looking to bolster your non-profit’s general fund. These platforms work best when you are running a fundraising campaign that is focused on a specific idea or cause and runs for a set period, for example for a week and up to three months. They are not great for trying to raise general funds.

You still have to do the work of promoting your page and your cause. Whilst potential donors may stumble upon your page and share your campaign you can’t expect results just because you’re running your campaign on a popular platform. You still need to do the promotional work to raise awareness.

Some other items to be aware of

White labelling

Technically, a white label product is a product or service produced by one company (the producer) that other companies (the marketers) rebrand to make it appear as if they had made it. In the context of a fundraising platform your donation page might look and feel exactly like your website. This helps to ensure that the donor doesn’t lose confidence in the donation process by thinking that they have gone to a 3rd party website.

Access to donor information

It’s important to remember that the individuals who donate to your campaign are you donors. Therefore, it is important that the information collected about them is accessible from to you. Ideally, this information includes some capacity to interrogate the donor information that will allow you to make informed decisions about the success of the campaign and also for any future campaigns that you might choose to run. It is also important that you own the donor information and can take it with you if you choose to move to another platform.

Money pays into account

How long does it take for the funds to be paid into your account? Some systems will pay proceeds directly into your nominated account as part of a straight through process whilst others may hold onto your funds for a period of time. It is important to know this prior to signing up to a platform.


When assessing whether you should use a fundraising platform it is important to know what type of fundraising you’re likely to undertake and whether a platform will assist you to do this more efficiently. You should also ask whether using a platform will support you to grow your fundraising capacity into the future.