In these tough economic times, many non-profit organizations – if they aren’t already – are turning to raising money on the web by donations on their own websites or over social networking sites.
As it turns out, one of the best ways for nonprofits to accept donations online is in conjunction with other nonprofits which were formed for that purpose. These e-philanthropy organizations provide secure gateways to accept money online so that nonprofits don’t need any more technical know than cutting and pasting some text-like computer code into an existing web page for “Donate Now” buttons.
As a result, any individual donating money can do so securely online and verify the non-profit status of the organization at the same time.
Two of the most popular nonprofit gateways that enable nonprofits to take online donations are Network for Good and JustGive. Both work in conjunction with Guidestar, a non-profit that verifies and provides documentation on non-profits to Network for Good and JustGive and in turn to individuals who donate.
Network for Good and JustGive don’t independently verify or investigate the nonprofits they list, but draw on publicly available information from the IRS, which is responsible for giving nonprofit status to organizations and responsible for verifying and auditing those organizations. That’s the same information that Guidestar uses to provide verifications to Network for Good and JustGive.
Guidestar’s mission is to “revolutionize philanthropy and nonprofit practice by providing information that enables users to make better decisions and encourages charitable giving.” All 1.7 million nonprofits listed with GuideStar are formally registered with the IRS or have proven they meet all IRS criteria for exempt organizations.
The first step for a non-profit wanting to raise money online through Network for Good or JustGive is to go to those sites, register with their federal tax ID number and complete an organization profile. At the same time, each organization should also register at Guidestar and upload IRS tax forms, such as 990’s and a list of board members (all information that is in the public domain to begin with).
Once a non-profit is registered, then “Donate Now” buttons can easily be made at those sites. These buttons go on your organizations existing website with a cut and paste, or, if you’re more technically inclined, you can set up more of a custom donation page that looks like the rest of your web site.
Both Network for Good and JustGive charge a percentage of donations for their service, but more than likely, it’s worth the cost for your organization to be able to take online donations.
Network for Good and JustGive can also integrate with your organization’s Facebook profile, too, so you can raise money with a click from your Facebook page if you work with Facebook rather than an organizational website.