Back to Blog

8 Misconceptions about Online Fundraising That Can Cost You

New technology can be intimidating, especially when you don’t have a lot of time on your hands to learn something new.  But, more often than not, this technology is designed to make the lives of those who use it easier.

This is definitely the case with online fundraising, which has helped (and continues to help) simplify the work of nonprofit fundraisers.

For those who haven’t tried online fundraising yet or have without the best results, these eight misconceptions could be to blame. 

1. It’s all About the Money

As with any other endeavor, the same rule applies to online fundraising: When you’re too focused on the end result, you often miss the process that will get you there successfully.

With online fundraising, if you’re too focused on the money and not enough on the actual names of the people making the donations, you’re making a huge error.  You need to invest in building strong relationships with your current supporters to help secure their continued support and create an environment that’s inviting to new potential supporters, in order to attract even more.  

This takes time and effort, but the resources aimed in this direction will be well-spent, and the results will speak for themselves. 

2. Fundraising Platforms are Too Expensive

Well, first of all, which fundraising platforms have you checked out?  Yes, some are more pricey than others, but there are also very affordable options. 

And even with the minimal price fundraising platforms charge, they still usually require less money, time and resources than traditional fundraising methods. 

If you’re pursuing an affordable platform, look for the following:  

  • Transparent and simple pricing 
  • No hidden fees
  • Option for donors to cover fees
  • Capped donation fees
  • Fundraising success stories from actual nonprofit customers 

3. I Need to be Tech Savvy

There are many user-friendly platforms out there that don’t require the user to be super tech-friendly.  I can think of at least one!  

Plus, a great way to know which platform to choose is by researching their reputation for platform performance, happy customers, and quality of their customer support. 

Getting to speak with an actual person and having quick response times is crucial if you ever need help setting up your online fundraising account. 

4. I’ll Lose Large Donors

Presuming an all-or-nothing approach to online fundraising isn’t recommended for nonprofits.  You can and ideally should combine your online fundraising efforts with whatever traditional methods you were using before – ideally, the ones that actually worked for you!

You might find that online fundraising is more effective for your nonprofit than the traditional methods you’ve tried, so the logical thing would be to put more time and effort into that moving forward and fewer resources into the traditional methods.

Larger donors typically (but not always) consist of older generations of people and data is showing that more and more of these individuals are beginning to make these donations online instead of getting out the old checkbook. 

Also, keep in mind that if you choose a company that caps fees (as mentioned above), then your larger donors won’t be scared away from making bigger online donations!

5. It’s not as Profitable as Traditional Fundraising

Online fundraising has the potential to be as profitable or way more so than traditional!  The power of online peer-to-peer fundraising alone is astounding.  

Also, remember that many offline methods require big investments without a guarantee of any return on that investment. Both direct mail and events cost more than many online platforms to get off the ground, yet your outreach offline is often more limited than it is online. 

6. Fundraising Online Means Adding a Donation Page to my Website

Nonprofit websites can have their own donation pages that allow for payments to be made by way of PayPal or some other online credit card processing system.  If this is your current method of online fundraising or you know someone else who is using this method, how’s that working out so far?  

Online fundraising platforms exist because there was (and still is) a need for them! There are some great platforms out there that offer much more than just a way to collect donations. They can help you to organize and gain insights on precious donor data, manage fundraising events and volunteer opportunities, and easily communicate with and engage supporters.

Also, having a dedicated, branded fundraising campaign online adds so much more value and interest than a static page with credit card fields on your website.  And the results are in the pudding – nonprofits who use branded campaign pages for their online fundraising see more online donations than those who use their own donation pages alone.  

7. Putting up a Campaign Online Means that I can just Sit Back and Rake in Money

Have you increased your number of Facebook friends, events or groups by not logging in and engaging on the website?   

Just like with any other effort, you need to put your best foot forward and spend time creating visibility for your campaign if you want it to be successful.

Social networks are powerful and online fundraising is great for gaining new supporters, but it still takes motivated effort to hit your fundraising goals.  Your level of effort also shows how much you care about your nonprofit’s mission.  After all, you can’t expect others to care about it if you don’t!  

8. We should Launch the Same Campaign on Multiple Fundraising Platforms to Increase Visibility

Driving traffic to more than one campaign at a time will most likely confuse your donors, cost you more money, and separate your efforts. It’s far better to reach your goal on one campaign at a time versus reaching 33% of your goal on three different campaigns.

Not to mention all the extra work you’ll be creating for yourself by having multiple campaigns to support and keep straight.  What nonprofit administrator has time for that tomfoolery?!

Having one dedicated campaign with a clear fundraising goal helps everyone involved to stay on the same page and is a great encouragement to donors when they can see that they were part of the effort in hitting 100% funded!

Believing the above misconceptions about online fundraising can prevent your nonprofit from experiencing the many lucrative benefits it can provide.

More Fundraising Tips