How to Accept Donations on Your Website: 8 Steps to Online Fundraising Success

The Keela Team • Mar 22, 2021
7 steps to accept donations online

Collecting online donations can be a powerful and cost-effective way to raise funds for your cause or organization. However, it can also be a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with the process. But with online giving growing by nearly 25% year over year, it’s becoming increasingly important for nonprofits to offer this option to donors. Fortunately, accepting donations online is easier than ever, thanks to technology! In this blog post, we will explore why online giving options are important and show you how to accept donations on your website with 8 easy steps.

Why Online Giving is Important for Nonprofits

As the world becomes increasingly more digital, nonprofits around the globe are recognizing the importance of offering online giving options to their supporters. Online giving can provide numerous benefits for nonprofits, from increasing donation amounts to improving donor engagement. Whether you’re a small nonprofit just starting out or an established organization looking to enhance your fundraising efforts, let’s explore five reasons why online giving is important for nonprofits and how it can help your organization reach fundraising success.

1. Donor Convenience

The ability to collect donations online is crucial for donor convenience, as it allows donors to support your organization quickly and easily from anywhere in the world. In today’s fast-paced world, donors appreciate the ability to give on their own schedule, without having to visit a physical location or send a check in the mail.

Online giving options also provide a range of payment methods, allowing donors to give using their preferred payment method, whether that’s a credit card, PayPal, or another online payment service. To ensure that your online giving options are as convenient as possible, it’s important that your organization invests in a donor management platform that offers multiple payment processing options, such as Keela.

2. Nonprofit Convenience

Online giving options are not only important for donor convenience, but also for nonprofit convenience. Online giving platforms can provide you with a range of tools and features to streamline the donation process, allowing you to invest more time and resources into the tasks that can’t digitized, such as building in-person donor connections.

In addition to saving time and resources, online giving options also provide you with a way to track donations and donor data in real-time, which can help you better understand your donor base and improve your fundraising strategies. For this to be effective, it’s critical that your organization invests in a fundraising platform that will automate many of the tasks associated with making a donation, such as donor acknowledgement and tax receipting.

3. Accessibility

The ability to collect donations online is essential for ensuring donor accessibility, as it provides a convenient and accessible way for donors to give from anywhere in the world. With online giving, donors don’t have to worry about being physically present or having to mail in a donation, which can be particularly challenging for those who live far away or have mobility issues.

Online giving provides a level of accessibility that can help you attract a wider range of donors, particularly those who may not have been able to give in the past due to logistical challenges.

3. Increased Giving

Online giving options have been shown to increase giving and revenue for nonprofits in several ways. First, online giving platforms can make it easier for donors to give and provide a more streamlined donation process. This convenience can encourage more frequent and larger donations from supporters who might have otherwise been deterred by a more complicated process.

Additionally, online giving options can provide donors with the option to set up recurring donations. On average, recurring donors are over 5 times more valuable for your nonprofit than one-time donors. This means that when you’re considering how to accept donations on your website, it’s important to set up your online donation page to include recurring giving prompts in order to turn more one-time donors into ongoing supporters.

Finally, there are more advanced donation forms available currently, such as Keela’s, that are able to pull in a combination of donor giving history, demographic information, and wealth indicators to generate a custom ask amount for every donor. As technology becomes more advanced, more and more nonprofits will be investing in online donation platforms that offer these kind of features, so it’s important to invest in them sooner rather than later.

4. Donor Engagement

Offering online giving options is an effective way to increase donor engagement for your organization as well. Online giving platforms can provide tools for you to connect with your donors, such as personalized messages, social media sharing options, and email newsletters. Online giving options also often provide real-time updates on fundraising progress, which can encourage donors to get involved and help meet fundraising goals.

Online giving is particularly important for millennial and Gen Z donors, who have grown up in the digital age and expect a seamless and convenient online experience. These generations are more likely to donate online than through traditional methods, and they place a high value on transparency and communication from the organizations they support. By offering online giving options, your nonprofit can better engage with these donors and provide a transparent and convenient way for them to support your cause.

5. Cost-Effective

Offering online giving options can also be a cost-effective solution for nonprofits compared to traditional fundraising methods. With online giving options, there are no printing or postage costs associated with sending out mail-in donation forms, which can be particularly expensive for larger nonprofits.

In addition, online giving platforms often have lower transaction fees compared to credit card processing fees associated with traditional fundraising methods. This means that more of each donation can go directly to your cause, rather than being spent on administrative costs. Transaction fees associated with your donations can vary between online giving platforms, so it’s very important to look closely at the software options with little to no transaction processing fees, such as Keela.

Furthermore, online giving options can help streamline donation processing and reduce the time and resources needed to manage and track donations. This can free up resources and allow you to focus on your mission and impact.

8 Steps to Accept Donations Online

1. Create a Donation Page and Form

The first step in collecting online donations is to create a donation page and form that you can direct potential donors to. 

Remember, the goal of having a donation form, in the first place, is to make it easier for donors to give. Your donation form needs to be simple and easy to access. When potential donors visit your website to donate, they shouldn’t have to dig too far to find what they need.  They should be able to find your donation form and support you within a few clicks. 

Keela’s donation forms are customizable, mobile-responsive, and easy to use. With our donation forms, you can showcase your branding, communicate your story and improve your donors’ user experience. Most importantly, you can connect the form to the Keela CRM and track your donations and contact from one central software. See how Legado uses Keela’s form builder to create an appealing and simple donation form.

Legado's donation form as an example of a perfect Keela donation form

Notice how Legado’s donation form is beautifully designed. With this form, this nonprofit organization reminds visitors of its core mission. They included a link to their Annual Reports to show the impact of donors’ contributions. The form also clarifies that a donation receipt will be emailed to donors after they donate, which goes a long way to building credibility and trust. 

See How Nonprofits Use Keela to Raise 4x More!

Get a glimpse of how Keela’s donor management system can help you develop better relationships, retain donors and raise more for your cause.

2. Embed Your Donation Form on Your Website

By adding a donation form to your nonprofit’s website, you meet your donors where most of them are — online.

You have two options to collect donations through an online form: you can create a separate web page or embed the form directly on your website. We recommend embedding your donation form directly onto your website. This will help keep visitors and donors on your website longer and make them feel more comfortable as they make their donations. 

3. Choose a Reliable Payment Processor

To accept donations online, you need to integrate a payment processor or payment gateway into your form or website. The most popular platforms for accepting online donations are Paypal and Stripe.

Both Paypal and Stripe offer nonprofit discounts, and as such, compared to other payment processors, they make it easier for you to recoup a more significant percentage of your donations. With Keela donation forms, your donors can donate conveniently using KeelaPay, Paypal, or Stripe.  

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Simplify your payment process with KeelaPay

With KeelaPay, you can securely process more donations at an affordable rate and get access to world-class in-house support.

4. Automate Tax Receipts and Donor Acknowledgement

The next step has to do with donation tax receipts themselves. Your donation receipts should be automatically sent to your donors in a PDF format to save time and reduce stress. If you’re using Keela, it’s pretty easy to do this since the whole process is automated.

As soon as a gift is received through your online donation form, the receipt is automatically generated and emailed to donors immediately. The donation receipt includes the Donation ID, Serial Number, Organization Name and Address, and Signatures. For recurring donations, the donors should be able to choose to receive a receipt for every gift or a cumulative receipt at the end of the year.

7 steps to accept donations online

5. Segment Your Donor Email List

Email is the best way to stay in touch with your donors and send updates about your organization. Creating effective email fundraising campaigns will result in more donations down the line. With solid email communications, you can engage your donors, communicate your impact and remind them how important their gifts are to your mission.

However, for your email communications to be effective, you need to understand your donors. Segmenting your donors based on their giving history will help you identify your most and least engaged supporters. With this information, you can send targeted messages to each donor segment to encourage them to take action. 

For instance, you can start by splitting your database between one-time donors and recurring donors. You’ll use a slightly different message for each group in your communications because their relationship to your organization is somewhat different—the more personal your message, the better. Donors are more likely to give when they receive the targeted, personalized communication from you.

6.  Use Email to Promote Your Donation Form

Now that you have successfully identified your donor segments, you can communicate with them in the right way. Keela’s CRM includes e-blast (or email marketing) tools so you can reach out to your contacts using beautifully designed emails.

The e-blast builder allows for personalization. As long as you have the contact information saved in your database, you can refer to the donors by their first name and last name or include any other relevant contact data. 

Whatever you do, be sure to include a donate button with a donation link in your email. Remember, your donors should be able to access your donation form easily.

7. Identify Your Non-Digital Donors

In your database, you probably have a list of donors who didn’t share their email addresses with you—and that’s okay. These donors may typically mail in their donations. But ideally, and if they can, they ought to make their donations online, so consider asking them to use your online donation forms. 

Let them know how much of a time-saver this will be for them in the future. If you’re using Keela’s donation forms and CRM, you can reassure them that your forms are safe, secure and your CRM complies with mass emailing rules and anti-spam laws.

8. Encourage Donors to Go Paperless

Now that you’ve created a list of donors who don’t give online, you can send a letter asking them to go paperless.

The letter should explain why removing paper receipts helps your nonprofit organization save time and money on printing, mailing, and other manual processes. Highlight how this transition also helps to reduce paper waste and support a healthier environment and also allows more of their donation to be invested in your mission and not in administration.

To help you save time with this process, we put together eight donation letter templates that you can use to ask your donors to go digital.

How to Promote Your Online Donation Page to Encourage Online Giving

So you’ve set up your donation page and you’re ready to accept donations online. But how do you make sure that you’re getting your message out and showing that your fundraising platform is open for business?

Promoting online donation pages is crucial for your nonprofit! You put it in all the work, now it’s time to spread the word. Here are a few ideas of how you can best promote your online donation pages to inspire your community to use them:

Free Donation Page Optimization Checklist

Use this checklist to audit your nonprofit’s donation page and ensure you’re converting more website visitors to donors.

Fundraising Campaigns

A fundraising campaign can be a powerful tool for nonprofits to promote their online giving options and encourage donations. When crafting an email campaign, it’s important to focus on telling a compelling story that showcases the impact of donations and inspires supporters to give.

Every email campaign should include direct links to your online donation page in the email, making it easy for donors to give with just a few clicks. Personalization is also key, so you should be segmenting your email lists and tailoring your messaging to different donor groups.

Social Media

Social media is an important platform for your organization to promote your online donation pages. Using social media to share compelling stories and updates that highlight the impact that your organization is having is a great way to encourage donors to give.

In general, we spend a large portion of our lives on social media, so it’s no surprise that social media platforms also offer various tools that can help you encourage online giving, such as fundraising buttons and links to donation pages. These buttons create a donor-centric experience and allow you to meet donors where they are spending most of their time online.

Social media can also be a great tool for donor engagement, allowing you to respond to questions, share donor stories, raise money and foster a sense of community among your supporters. By effectively leveraging social media you can reach your fundraising goals and make a greater impact in your community.

Website Placement

Strategic website placement is essential for visibility of your online donation pages. You should always aim to make your donation page easy to find and accessible from every page of your website. This can be achieved by prominently featuring a “Donate” button or link in the header or footer of the website, and ensuring that it is displayed prominently on the homepage.

You can also use pop-ups or banners to encourage website visitors to donate and direct them to the donation page. The pop-ups should include a clear CTA along with a brief impact statement. Pop-ups can be a great addition to a multi-channel fundraising campaign as they allow donors who have read about your fundraising campaign through email or social media to quickly find your donation page and make their gift.

Fundraising Events

Fundraising events offer an excellent opportunity for your nonprofit to promote your online donation pages. You can promote your donation page before, during, and after a fundraising event in several ways.

Before the event, you can include a link to the donation page in all event marketing materials, such as invitations, flyers, and social media posts. During the event, you can prominently display your donation page on digital screens, banners, or printed materials, and make it easy for attendees to donate on the spot using their mobile devices. Creating a QR code is a great way to make it easy for your event attendees to make a donation online.

You can also use a fundraising event to encourage recurring donations by setting up a booth or table where attendees can sign up for monthly giving programs. Your booth should be inspirational and contain giveaways that share the work being done towards your mission and the impact that recurring donors can make. Ideally, your attendees will sign up to be a recurring donor on the spot, but you can also follow up with attendees via email or social media after the event to thank them for their support and encourage additional giving through your online donation page.


In conclusion, online giving options are critical for nonprofits looking to increase revenue. Your donors are becoming more and more accustomed to using technology in their daily lives and nonprofits that don’t offer online donations capabilities are more likely to see a decrease in both number of donations and revenue. Before investing in an online giving option, it’s important that you understand your organization’s goals and set up your donation pages in a way that highlights the impact that donors can have.

Keela’s donation pages are set up to support everything mentioned in this blog and more! On average, organizations using Keela’s donation pages see a 46% increase in fundraising revenue in their first year using our software!