easy app for donations for project
April 4, 2016 11:26 AM   Subscribe

I have a project with a modest ($1K) one-time fundraising goal and a long time (six months) to meet that goal. I'd like to find a website/service for people to contribute as easily as possible in a variety of methods and I'd love people's experiences of simple ways to do this.

My basic goal is to get fifty people to give me twenty dollars or a hundred people to give ten, that level of thing. This is not for an illness or a crisis or anything bad; it's also not for "hey help fund my vacation" It's more of a work-adjacent thing. This is not a question about fundraising, just collecting money. Nitpicky details

- The main goal is to keep a running total (and stop when I've reached it) which means I can note an in-person donation of a twenty that someone gave me as well as allowing someone to pay online via PayPal.
- I'd like people to not have to create an account with another website (other than a payment fulfiller like PayPal or Amazon) to pay.
- Small fees are fine but I'd like to keep them low.
- App-only solutions won't work, period.
- Don't need to take bitcoin or non-US funds, this is a local (VT) project.
- People will trust me so the need for an escrow service is not a major thing.
- I have web space so something that was only in button form or whatever, would work just fine.

If I can't find a good solution I'll just make a little website for this and edit the HTML. What is out there that I do not know about that would let me do this thing in a better way than that? Have seen related questions. Thank you.
posted by jessamyn to Work & Money (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Seems like GoFundMe is the go-to for this sort of thing in my area, but afaik they don't accept PayPal.
posted by town of cats at 11:39 AM on April 4, 2016

follow up questions: is the project related to any 501(c)(3) activity? If so that opens up a lot of options that you don't have otherwise.

Does it have to have an app? I assumed so from the title but wasn't sure if mobile-friendly would be fine after reading the body of the question.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:00 PM on April 4, 2016

Response by poster: Fine with no app, just we have a lot of no-mobile folks. And yeah this is for a school thing but not for teaching students (it's for an Adult Ed thing I run). If people donated directly to the school it would be tax-deductible. That said the school is unlikely to get involved with this at all (since it's their lack of funding that we are compensating for) but they would take the money. Let me know if there are options along those lines.
posted by jessamyn at 12:09 PM on April 4, 2016

So, I apparently don't quite understand the problem space because I am wondering why you aren't just going with Pay Pal to begin with.
posted by Michele in California at 12:20 PM on April 4, 2016

Response by poster: To the best of my knowledge I can't keep a running total (without handcoding it) that says "$800 of $1000 raised so far" with PayPal. I know it's minor, but it's what I'm looking for.
posted by jessamyn at 12:21 PM on April 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

How Do I Post a Goal Tracker of How Much Money I Raised on Facebook or PayPal?

7 Ways to Collect and Track Donations with WordPress

You also might try searching phrases like "donate goal" or "donate goal plugins."
posted by Michele in California at 12:33 PM on April 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


"Donation goal tracker" is another useful phrase.
posted by Michele in California at 12:36 PM on April 4, 2016

If you're trying to cut down on the fees, my NPO has set up a donation portal with a free Weebly page before (and used one of our domain names) to just be a splash page with a Paypal donate button. Weebly has two free apps that will either be a donation meter or merely have animated numbers counting up to the current amount donated. We use the latter since we aren't stopping donations after a goal.

The downside to this version is that it does require manually updating the trackers, however the Weebly interface makes it a pretty quick task to accomplish and it can be updated through the mobile Weebly app.
posted by Deflagro at 12:48 PM on April 4, 2016

You can definitely set up your own page with a goal tracker, I know you have the skills to do it but the annoying part would be manually updating it daily or multiple times daily at a high volume donation time.

For a $1000 project that could be done under nonprofit status I'd recommend Razoo. I've used them successfully several times. Their fees are slightly lower than some other better known sites like Crowdrise or Indiegogo (but Indiegogo doesn't require nonprofit status and is probably best otherwise, fees are nearly the same). Caveat, not a great format for adding donations received in person. The Razoo support page claims you can display offline donations.

I've found that Paypal works fine in terms of actually doing the transactions but using these platforms can be much more effective in a fundraising campaign because you can easily create a spiffy and compelling page and donors just like the experience of using these more. Yes, they're taking around 8% so if you can get any of these people to give offline it's obviously more ideal.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:05 PM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

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