4 minute read

You know it, we know it—but your donors may not: Not every dime of their online donation goes directly to your organization because of the small percentage you pay in processing fees to the provider of your online fundraising platform.

So, why not tell them? More than half of donors will pay it for you! Based on a recent Giving Day event using the Givesource platform, 64.7% of donors chose to cover the transaction fee when asked.

With a brand-new feature included with every Firespring website, you can now ask donors to cover the small transaction fee associated with online donations. This extra charge is simply added to your donor’s gift when they check out. One thing to note: This option is only available with PaymentSpring, the payment gateway that fully integrates with every Firespring website.

You want to make it as easy as possible for someone to give you money. A donor wants to send you a check in the mail and bypass this whole fees business? Let ‘em. While offline donations make up the vast majority of individual contributions, convenience matters. According to The NonProfit Times Publishing Group, Inc., donors prefer to give online for their regular annual gift, monthly giving and one-time contributions.

How does this new donation fee feature work?

Smooth like buttah. First, you’ll want to make sure you have this feature turned on—that’s an important detail that’s easy to take care of, but easily overlooked. Then during the checkout process, a donor will simply be given the option to add the transaction fee to their donation amount. With clear messaging, they’ll understand that paying that processing fee for you allows your organization to use the full amount of their gift to further your mission. You can customize how additional transaction fees are calculated: flat dollar amount, percentage or a combination of both. You might be wondering, “Will online donors really cover these fees?” Data from several different platforms says yes, around half of them (if not more) will.

What are the benefits of this?

Well, there’s the obvious one: You get more money. If each donor would pay for their individual transaction fees, it’s really just a small amount of money to most of them. To you, though, all those fees add up. And they can make a big difference to your bottom line. When your donors pay the fees, you get to use more of your money to make an impact.

Second, it makes donors aware. Not everyone understands the operating costs associated with running a nonprofit, and many donors would like to think that every dollar they give you goes toward feeding the poor or sheltering the homeless or finding that dog a forever home. But the truth is, you need money to support the infrastructure that allows good, impactful, life-changing things to happen. By giving donors the option to pick up the donation fees, you’re being honest and forthright by saying, “We have costs.” And as strange as this sounds, that might be an eye-opener to many of them.

What do you say, exactly, to get them to pay the fee?

You have lots of options. The main thing is simply to be clear and honest about what you’re asking them to do, while giving them a compelling reason. Here are some examples of language that you could use on your donation form:

  • “Sure! I’d love to pay that transaction fee so you don’t have to.”
  • “Did you know that by covering our processing fee, we’ll be able to use your full donation to support our mission?”
  • “Yes. I’d love to go one step further and cover that processing fee for you.”
  • “When you pick up the processing fee, we’ll be able to help more people.”
  • “When you pay this small transaction fee, you’ll be helping us to make an even bigger impact.”
  • “Make an even bigger splash when you take care of this small transaction fee with your donation.”

Why did Firespring create this feature?

We’ve been around the nonprofit space for quite some time now, and while we don’t claim to know every challenge you face, we know that you face challenges, especially in the area of fundraising. We’ve been helping organizations like yours raise more money and awareness more effectively for over a decade, and we love our work. We also love to geek out about things like websites and online tools and software and payment gateways. Combine our affinity for the nonprofit world—and our desire to save you money—with our tech savvy and experience, and you’ve got yourself a partner who stays up at night, creating a way to get your donors to pay your transaction fees. And we have even more where that came from.

Take a break to join us for our next free webinar about online fundraising and learn how to raise more money, retain more donors and kill it with your marketing pieces. Sign up here.