Maximising donations when charities needed them most

In 2019 we worked with a number of charities to launch online donation pages as part of larger projects — and we learned a lot about how to increase online donations in the process.

So when lockdown hit in March 2020, causing many of our clients' sources of income to shrink or vanish overnight, we decided to put all those insights to good use, and created DonateFlow. This white-labelled fundraising platform slots into your existing website, letting you solicit one-off or recurring donations from your users without having to send them away to JustGiving, Crowdfunder, or any other third-party site.

At the end of May, we launched our first page on the platform, for Mousetrap Theatre Projects. By the end of June we'd launched several more, including Saffron Hall and the London Mozart Players, and our clients had raised a combined £35,000. What's more, nearly 25% of those donations were new monthly mandates, and nearly 87% came with GiftAid declarations.

A real catch — without the catch

Unlike other donation platforms, we designed DonateFlow to be part of an existing website: it sits at donate.yourwebsite.com, and shares the same colours and branding. Keeping users "in house" this way instead of sending them away to a third-party platform means they're less likely to drop off before they reach the Pay button. (DonateFlow also includes ApplePay by default, making it easier than ever for users to donate.)

It's not just the colours and branding, either; we designed DonateFlow to be completely customisable. If charities want to gather specific information about who's donating, they can add unlimited optional custom questions to the donation page, in any format. More importantly, charities can use their own imagery, set their own default amounts and frequencies, and carefully craft copy explaining how donations will be used. All this makes users more likely to give, because it looks and feels like the money is going straight to the charity.

Better yet, the money really is going straight to the charity! We didn't create DonateFlow to make money or sustain a whole business, so we set it up for free for anyone who needed it at the height of lockdown, and we still do for new clients — and we don't charge any commission on what they collect. The only thing DonateFlow users pay is processing fees to the payment provider and, if they're happy with the platform and want to keep using it after six months, a contribution to our costs of hosting it. Otherwise, it's free and always will be.

Raising the bar for raising funds

As well as the basic public-facing platform, DonateFlow comes with its own analytics dashboard, giving charities an at-a-glance picture of how their fundraising is performing over time. The dashboard is also sortable, making it quick and easy to identify the biggest donors and, if they've consented to marketing comms, to export their data and get in touch.

All this is just the beginning. For clients who want to take their online fundraising to the next level, we can build on the initial page to offer more powerful features, including CRM integrations, payments via Direct Debit, custom dashboards, and multiple campaign pages targeting different audiences or appeals. We're on a mission to transform how charities use digital, and our biggest hope with DonateFlow is that it will open your eyes to all the powerful tools at your disposal.

Screenshot of the DonateFlow dashboard showing total donations, average donations, amount collected and so on
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Want help getting more online donations? Speak to John