There’s no escaping the future of interaction in the digital world. Fundraising is all about meeting people where they are, and each year, more people are online. Nonprofits know this, and they’re making use of the rapid increase of available online apps and platforms to capitalize on the trend.
We’ve got several examples coming up for you in this article, but before we get to those, here’s why leveraging the right online apps for your fundraiser is so important to generating donations.
Fundraising Apps and their Benefits
The internet is well and truly a part of everyone’s lives. And with mobile access granted to the majority of the world’s population, apps have become the future of how we communicate, manage, organize, and analyze everything we do in an organization.
Remote or online donations make up more than half of all gifts and are growing in popularity every year, but there’s more to this technology than just a donation app. The right selection of fundraiser apps can handle any level of workflow in your organization, be it communication, mass media, ad campaigns, project management, or more.
Fundraising apps and platforms offer solutions for nonprofits and charities to cover a lot of bases when it comes to gathering donations. There are applications on both sides of the equation, with apps that can help organize fundraising drives, reach out and engage with supporters, and gather the funds themselves.
Ideally, any fundraising app will come with a simple user interface and a hassle-free experience for all who need to use it. Once it’s set up and ready to go, a good fundraiser app can bring you a wealth of benefits, including:
Better resource management
The automation function in most of the fundraising apps available take laborious tasks and make them effortless. This saves countless hours and gets more powerful the larger the organization is. Automation comes in many forms, but it’s generally great at doing the same thing, countless times. With the right solution, you can calibrate its automation and have it run thousands of tasks on your behalf, saving countless work hours, and the corresponding overheads.
But automation is only one element of speed when it comes to fundraising. Take donations, for example: the difference between what goes into receiving a donation from a mailed-in to your organization and clicking a button on an app is huge, and while this is an obvious timesaver, it also suggests that more people will be inclined to actually donate.
Not only does this save time, but it reduces the number of moving parts, including people, in the entire process. As critical as they are, people are usually the bottleneck to any process, so being able to engineer out a significant point of friction goes a long way to managing your resources more efficiently.
Fundraising isn’t all about receiving money, it’s also about marketing and market research. For research to be powerful, it needs good data, and for many of the reasons just mentioned, fundraising apps are great for this. The speed and engagement boost you get from working with apps over traditional media allow for more data, better quality data, and ultimately a better understanding of who your supporters are and what they respond to.
Using this data to improve your fundraising events, marketing approach, and targeted material is the key to maximizing your outcomes when it’s time to donate. Allocating your budget to specific areas of your fundraiser is a lot simpler and more efficient as a result. Further, better data means better reporting, once all is said and done.
We’ve mentioned boosts to engagement, but why is that so important? Your relationships with your supporters can be managed and maintained with unprecedented efficiency when using apps to navigate them.
Convenience is key to making a healthy relationship that works, and there’s nothing more convenient to your supporters than being able to access information, donate, or receive your gratitude on their own devices, in the comfort of their own homes.
Engagement comes in many shapes and forms, but traditional methods are slow and cumbersome. With fundraiser or donation apps, you’ll see more people involved, more often. They’ll also be more willing to share personal details such as contact information for the same reasons.
Reach more people
The mass automated communication methods available with apps for fundraising allow you to segment your supporter base in finer detail and reach out to more people than ever before. This provides a boost to the customization of your outreach while allowing you to cast a wider net, essentially getting the best of both worlds in terms of accuracy and reach.
There are even great ways to allow your supporters to start fundraising on your behalf, so while you’re reaching more people, you’ll also be activating them to become productive members of your team.
Harking back to the point of automation, a number of platforms are able to manage social media to almost the same extent as a dedicated human manager; handling tasks such as content, schedules, and segmentation as they relate to your drives.
If all these benefits are looking pretty good, you might be wondering what kind of apps to look for. We’ve got a list of specific apps for you to go through shortly, but first, let’s go over some of the types of apps that can help in fundraising and what to consider when hunting for one.
What to Look for in a Fundraiser App
Fundraising apps can be broken down into front-facing and back-facing apps. Front-facing apps are those your donors will be interacting with, the most common of which is a basic donation app. Back-facing apps will be those your organization uses to facilitate the fundraiser organization, communication, data collection and analysis, and all the mechanics that go on behind the scenes.
Donation apps alone come in multiple forms, but the most common for non-profits will be donation collection apps and individual collection apps.
Essentially, the difference is that general donation apps will reach multiple supporters and collect personal data along with donations, whereas individual collection apps will be tailored to your high-value donors. They might work by giving these donors convenient options for how to donate, such as rounding up the change from each of their online purchases or providing a button for an easy way to make one-time donations when they feel like it.
Some apps offer a mix of several of these things or combine convenient ways to donate with communications tools for promotion, internal organizations, or other forms of outreach.
Finding an app for your needs, unsurprisingly, depends on what your needs are. If you’re looking for something to gather your employees or volunteers together remotely, there are numerous apps for this purpose, many of which are designed for general purposes and can be customized to your organization.
If you’re looking for ways to generate funds in a hurry, you might look for a donor-facing app that engages with your audience and makes sending information out and donations in a breeze.
Whichever task needs streamlining, you’ll want to look for something that’s easy to learn, cheap to implement, and convenient for all stakeholders. With that in mind, here are some of the hottest fundraising apps around right now.
Our Top Picks for Fundraising and Donation Apps
1. Rally Corp
Rally Corp offers a host of useful tools when it comes to fundraising. Not only can you boost your engagement levels substantially with the Smart Texting Campaigns features, but you also get to automate a host of communications that allow you to scale your donor list quickly.
Then, when it’s time to donate, the handy Test-to-Donate feature on the platform starts doing the heavy lifting for you, leveraging the popular choice of text messaging among supporters to provide a convenient and engaging way for them to contribute.
This app is easy to use, provides instant feedback with a fundraising thermometer, and is a great tool for managing remote communications between your organization and its supporters from spreading awareness, through campaign updates, all the way to the much-needed follow-up.
This option works as a mobile bidding platform, which can be used at auctions, either remotely or in person. Staff members are able to collect donations and registrations using the app, and it provides handy notifications as the event progresses.
This is a useful tool to use in live events, helping bidders retain their privacy, and streamlining the donations process at the same time. In auctions, this means less crowding around the items, outbidding notifications, and immediate check-out. It also comes with the option of automated receipts, so the entire transaction can be handled by a mobile device from a seat at the back of the room.
OneCause makes the process of non-profit auction fundraising a more efficient and secure one and can help generate funds much faster and more comfortably for those organizations who use this method.
3. Fundraise Up
For donors who want to get more involved in their engagement with your organization, consider FundraiseUp. This solution comes as an accessible form that allows donors to adjust their experience to suit their preferences.
Options for your organization to offer supporters with this app include recurring giving, personalized giving amounts, zero processing fees for donors, real-time data on giving habits, and a range of customizable notifications.
The donor portal is where your supporters will be able to arrange their settings to match their preferences, and this is one of the ways that the software lets people engage on their own terms. For example, if donors don’t want automatic information updates, they’re able to self-serve from the portal. Or if they want the end-of-year receipts, these are available too.
For a straightforward donor-receiving application, DonorBox might be a good choice. It has numerous website integrations and allows organizations and donors to manage recurring donations with ease.
The DonorBox dashboard can be used to design and send out donation forms and can be embedded or present itself as pop-ups to your donors. This app is a good one for gathering data, too, and can be customized based on what type of data and how much of it you want.
Popular integrations include Salesforce, Mailchimp, and Zapier, so you can use this app in alignment with your CRMs and mass marketing email platforms, as well as your project management software, giving extended functionality to your fundraising drives.
5. Give Lively
For a low-cost solution to your fundraising, Give Lively has a bunch of options. There are a number of free solutions for nonprofits, and you’ll be able to pick and choose the ones you need for your organization.
This is a great place to find solutions to custom donation forms, tweakable thank-you notes, and donation tracking, and they have accessible live support if there are any issues you need help with. With this app, you can add your branding to all the material and accept donations using multiple payment options.
You can even embed their donation widget into your campaign page and watch the funds increase on their near-real-time fundraising thermometer.
For unlimited donation pages, embedded donation buttons, and a number of other fundraising tools, Kindful is a strong contender. It integrates with Bloomberg’s CRM and other top tools, making it easy to merge contact management and online fundraising into one.
They allow access to over forty fundraising tools that come with the package, including MailChimp, QuickBooks, and Zapier, giving you easy insights into donor behavior and their other data.
This is a handy solution to the need for a flexible online platform with a range of tools at your disposal.
Another useful auction software solution is Handbid. Again, this works in-person or remotely and can handle hybrid events, too. The app covers the check-in of guests, as well as the reconciliation of purchases after check-out, and helps structure and organize the entire process.
If you’re looking for auction software that focuses strongly on the user experience, check this one out. It comes with thousands of third-party integrations so it can work with your donor management system and control or be controlled by other applications.
The integrations even go as far as the hardware you use in your events, allowing live bid thresholds to trigger physical features in your event such as flashing lights to celebrate a target reached.
For an extra option when it comes to all-in-one fundraising platforms, Givebutter is a strong candidate. It comes with free CRM tools to segment your lists, multimedia storytelling features, and easy import of contacts, of which you can manage an unlimited number on the platform.
With this app, you can manage ticket registration for your events, plug embeddable widgets into your pages, Livestream your fundraising, and manage peer-to-peer fundraising too.
As with many of the solutions listed here, they offer multiple payment options, allowing your supporters to give in a way that’s familiar to them. Options include Venmo, Google Pay, and PayPal.
We LOVE this company and app. When we first launched Rally Corp we had several fundraising platforms (like you) to choose from when we were deciding what integrations we wanted to add first. For us, Classy was a no-brainer. They are the world's best at running peer-to-peer campaigns and they have raised over $4 billion for some of the world's greatest causes.
We decided to integrate first with Classy because they supported our #1 goal of helping you raise support by leveraging the power of relationships. No doubt, this is why they have been able to help their customers raise so much money!
So if you are looking to run peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, while making it easy for people to donate (classy supports digital wallets, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Microsoft Pay as well as credit card and ACH), then Classy is the obvious choice.
While not a "fundraising" app, this one is a very popular social media management toolkit for organizations. For nonprofits, this means you can schedule your fundraising media drives, track and monitor their progress, and spread brand or event awareness across your social media platforms with ad campaigns.
The idea behind Hootsuite is to automate as much as possible so that once it’s customized and ready to go, it functions as a qualified member of the team, timing, tailoring, and executing your social media posts so you don’t have to.
This is a great option for the lead-up to an event or for the online fundraiser campaign trail, and it’s designed to free up time by automating the laborious tasks so that you get to spend more time on the personal touches.
With an app for every stage of your fundraising journey and even more for running the show behind the scenes, fundraising apps offer a solution for every nonprofit, regardless of their cause.
Some are designed specifically for donors, others are used by multiple industries to manage the back end. Some are comprehensive management systems and others simply fit into your processes quickly and easily to help out where they’re needed.