Nonprofit digital transformation: "green flags" to look for when building your online donation tech stack

May 6, 2024
Sage Avarda

Like many public and private sector organizations, nonprofits are turning to technology to streamline business processes and do more with limited resources.

According to the 2023 Nonprofit Tech for Good Report, 79 percent of nonprofits surveyed use automation technology in online fundraising, 67 percent use a customer relationship management (CRM) solution to track donations and manage communications, and 15 percent use artificial intelligence (AI) technology for donor prospecting.

Beyond improving operational logistics, taking fundraising efforts digital can have a significant and far-reaching impact on the success of your nonprofit’s campaigns.

Let’s explore how digital transformation benefits fundraising and identify specific features and functions to look for when building your organization’s online donation tech stack.

How digital transformation amplifies fundraising efforts

Digital transformation provides nonprofits with the tools to reach more donors, engage them more effectively, and operate more efficiently.

Online donation tools amplify the impact of fundraising in four key areas:

1. Sustainability

Fundraising software can help nonprofits reach a wider audience and engage with potential donors on a global level. This helps diversify an organization’s donor base so it isn’t sustained by the same small group of supporters.

Digital donation tools also make it easier for nonprofits to increase the number of recurring donations, providing a predictable revenue stream for long-term sustainability.

2. Engagement

A well-rounded online donation tech stack makes it easier to personalize the donation process by customizing communications based on donor preferences, demographics, and behavior.

Tailored messaging and relevant, targeted content allows nonprofits to better engage with donors and cultivate stronger relationships.

3. Insight

Online fundraising tools provide nonprofits with valuable data and analytics about donor behavior, preferences, and trends that they can use to:

  • shape fundraising strategies
  • gain insight into what resonates with their audience
  • track and measure the impact of their fundraising efforts
  • adjust their strategy as needed

4. Efficiency

Fundraising software allows nonprofits to automate many routine and repetitive fundraising tasks, such as processing donations, sending receipts, and engaging with donors, freeing staff to focus on more strategic, mission-critical activities.

Leveraging digital resources also reduces overhead expenses by lowering or eliminating the cost of printing, postage, venue rentals, and staffing.

6 “Must haves” for online donation tools

Before investing in an online donation tech stack, it’s important to ensure each tool provides the features and functions your organization needs to realize real, measurable improvements in its fundraising process.

Here are six fundamental features to look for when comparing online donation tools. We’ve also included a list of “green flags” for each feature to identify important functionality.

1. User-friendly interface

Fundraising software with excessive friction and unnecessary complexity is almost guaranteed to frustrate donors and decrease giving. Implementing a solution that makes the donation experience as clear and hassle-free as possible helps ensure donors don’t become confused or frustrated and abandon the process.

Green flags:

  • mobile responsiveness
  • simple and intuitive navigation
  • fast page load speed
  • legible font

2. Accessibility

Giving should be an equitable and accessible experience. Choosing fundraising software that prioritizes accessibility helps ensure every person has an opportunity to make a difference for the causes they care about.

Green flags:

  • alt text for images
  • captions for videos
  • simple navigation
  • descriptive form labels
  • sufficient color contrast
  • keyboard navigation functionality
  • descriptive section headings and labels
  • compatibility with screen readers

3. Data security and compliance

Nonprofits are entrusted with sensitive data and financial information, so it’s important from an ethical, regulatory, and legal perspective to select a solution that ensures donor data is managed, stored, and transmitted securely.

Green flags

  • strong encryption protocols
  • secure payment processing
  • compliance with industry standards, such as PCI DSS
  • adherence to relevant data protection regulations, such as GDPR
  • multi-factor authentication
  • opt-in prompts for data collection

4. Integration

Poor integration between systems and applications creates data silos that make it difficult to access the data needed for analytics and reporting, performance monitoring, and decision-making. Ensuring the fundraising solution integrates with existing business systems, such as your organization’s CRM and email marketing platform, will keep data accurate and consistent across systems, reduce errors, and save time during data imports and migrations.

Green flags:

  • application programming interfaces (APIs)
  • seamless integration with popular business applications and systems (e.g., Salesforce, HubSpot, Stripe, PayPal, Google Analytics)

5. Customization

Fundraising is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Donors have distinct interests, motivations, and preferences. The most effective online donation solutions enable fundraisers to customize donation experiences using branding, personalization, and tailored messaging to enhance the donor experience, increase engagement, and build brand loyalty.

Green flags:

  • ability to segment donors based on their characteristics, preferences, and behaviors
  • ability to tailor communication to donors’ specific interests and motivations

6. Analytics

Analytics allow your organization to create data-driven strategies by monitoring campaign performance, tracking donor behavior, and testing different messages, channels, and offers. A fundraising solution that offers detailed analytics takes the guesswork out of your nonprofit’s campaign performances by providing multi-metric visibility into which strategies yield the best results.

Green flags:

  • descriptive analytics that track performance at the individual, campaign, and organizational levels
  • diagnostic analytics that analyze past performance to determine what worked and what didn’t
  • predictive analytics that compare performance metrics over time to identify trends and predict future outcomes

Engage more donors and increase giving with digital fundraising tools

The right online donation tech stack gives nonprofits the tools they need to connect with donors on a personal level, unsilo data to maximize the value of analytics, and provide a secure, streamlined user experience that increases engagement and conversions.

Learn how RedRover leveled up donor engagement by 300 percent by improving its digital fundraising tech stack.

Case Study
Fundraise Up in action
Learn how this nonprofit boosted their donor engagement by 300% with Fundraise Up.
Read the case study
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