5 Digital Payment Systems That Could Transform Online Fundraising

In the late 1990’s nonprofits began to launch websites, experiment with email marketing, and sign up for their first “Donate Now” service. Then, in the late 2000’s nonprofits embraced social networking sites, first Myspace and YouTube, then Facebook and Twitter. Now, in the late 2010’s, we’re on the verge of yet another seismic shift that will have a profound impact upon online communications and fundraising – the rise of digital payment systems.

In short, digital payment systems (in some cases referred to as mobile wallets or social payments) allow donors to make a debit or credit card donation in only 2-3 clicks/taps. Most services only allow email opt-in which means your nonprofit must craft an email-focused donor cultivation process unique to digital payments donors. If the donation is made via Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, you’ll also have the opportunity to cultivate donors directly via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Digital payment systems are in their early days and there are hundreds of others in use that are not listed below. Over the next decade the fittest will survive and those that cannot compete will be weeded out. However, the five listed below are systems you should prioritize at this early stage. Study each one, sign up for their services if you can, and then we’ll all learn together over the next 2-3 years how to effectively use these tools. It’s likely just a matter of time until donors will land on your nonprofit’s “Donate” page and be given the option to donate instantly with a digital payment login. In fact, Apple Pay is already available to those nonprofits that use Blackbaud’s Merchant Services.

1. Facebook Fundraising Tools

Currently only available to nonprofits in the United States. Facebook digital payments for nonprofits could eventually be extended to Facebook Messenger Payments and Instagram (owned by Facebook).

2. Twitter Donations

Currently only available to select nonprofits in the United States.

3. Apple Pay

Currently only available to select nonprofits in the United States.


4. PayPal Express Checkout

Available to all nonprofits that use PayPal. Donors must activate PayPal One Touch to use.

5. Android Pay

YouTube Donation Cards are currently available to nonprofits participating in Google’s Nonprofit Program in the United States and the United Kingdom. Android Pay digital payments could eventually extend to other Google Products.

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