As a Canadian nonprofit, figuring out which fundraising platform is best for your organization’s needs is almost impossible.
Every nonprofit faces unique realities when it comes to fundraising. Some are focused on events, others peer-to-peer campaigns or donor retention or raffles. But, one thing they all have in common is the need for an online fundraising platform that’s easy for nonprofits and donors to use and, ideally, is free.
With that in mind, we’ve updated our article on what we think are the best fundraising platforms for small to medium sized nonprofits. How did we decide which ones made the cut? Well, Zeffy is on the list because we wrote the article (and are the only 100% free fundraising platform—we even cover credit card transaction fees). But, other than that very biased inclusion, we looked at:
Is there a free option? Is it actually free? How much is their basic plan? Is it worth it to upgrade?
Are the forms easy to fill out? Do donors have to give an additional contribution to cover the cost of the transaction?
Are all the features available for free?
Unbiased user ratings:
What do the ratings on Capterra and Google say?
Founded in Montréal in 2016, Zeffy was created to empower all nonprofits to change the world by giving them access to the technology they need to stand out in a world that was spending more and more of its time online. Today, Zeffy is a proud BCorp that has helped over 10,000 nonprofit organizations across Canada and the United States reach their fundraising goals with our free fundraising platform that lets nonprofits keep 100% of every donation. No exceptions.
This is going to be quick. At Zeffy, we decided to break the mould and offer nonprofits a 100% free platform. Sceptical? A lot of people are. So, we’re transparent too. We don’t have any hidden fees, third party transaction fees, or upgrade fees. Nothing. How? Voluntary contributions that are just that, voluntary.
The donor experience on Zeffy’s platform.
Zeffy’s 100% free fundraising platform was designed with your donors in mind. Zeffy’s interface is clean, simple and professional, providing a seamless experience on desktop and mobile.
Zeffy's fundraising platform also optimizes donor conversions by having as few mandatory clicks as possible between the moment a donor decides to make a donation and a successful transaction. This leads to a conversion rate 130% better than the industry average.
On top of all that, Zeffy also has a donor portal where donors can keep track of the transactions they’ve made using the Zeffy platform, download tax receipts, and track and edit any campaigns they’re involved in.
Features for nonprofits on Zeffy:
Zeffy’s fundraising platform offers customizable donor management, ticketing, donations, peer-to-peer campaigns, eCommerce, membership management and the ability to host raffles and lotteries. And, you can easily automate tax receipts, and manage donor data.
If you’re wondering about integrating Zeffy into existing software or on your website, know that Zeffy uses Zapier to integrate with over 1000 web tools and databases.
Zeffy also offers a user-friendly dashboard for organizations and donors and, it's all 100% free and always will be.
Unbiased user reviews on Zeffy:
Zeffy has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 on Capterra and 4.5 stars on Google. And, you know, those are both very, very good ratings.
CanadaHelps is Canada’s largest charitable social enterprise and is used by more than 26,000 charities. More than 3.2 million people have donated almost $2.5 billion since CanadaHelps was found 21 years ago.
CanadaHelps bases their pricing model on the number of contacts your nonprofit organization has.
- Less than 1,000 contacts is $99 per month + transaction fees that vary 2% and 5.5% depending on the type of transaction and platform feature used.
- 1,000-5,000 contacts is $179 per month + transaction fees that vary 2% and 5.5% depending on the type of transaction and platform feature used.
- Less than 10,000 contacts is $299 per month + transaction fees that vary 2% and 5.5% depending on the type of transaction and platform feature used.
- Less than 15,000 contacts is $389 per month + transaction fees that vary 2% and 5.5% depending on the type of transaction and platform feature used.
The donor experience on CanadaHelps.
CanadaHelps offers a free charity profile that allows Canadians to find and donate to your organization.
Available features for nonprofits on CanadaHelps.
CanadaHelps offers a suit of features that are slightly less robust than Zeffy's, but are well-rated by the nonprofit organizations that use it:
- Donor management
- Donation forms
- Peer-to-peer campaigns
Unbiased reviews on CanadaHelps:
CanadaHelps has a rating of 4.7 our of 5 on Capterra and 3.9 on Google.
Raisely is a purpose-before-profit all-in-one fundraising platform. Like Zeffy, Raisely is a BCorp and was founded to help charities access the technology they need. Since 2016, Raisely has helped over 2,500 charities raise over $400 million.
Although Raisely is not Canadian, they do let nonprofits accept donations in Canadian dollars, issue CRA-compliant tax receipts and allow for bilingual campaigns.
How much does Raisely cost?
Raisely doesn’t charge any platform fees (they are funded by optional donor tips), however, they do pass on the third party transaction (credit card) fees to you.
They also offer two “Grow” upgrades that allow nonprofits to access their more advanced features:
- A messaging add on for $39USD.
- A CRM add on for $99USD.
The donor experience on Raisely’s fundraising platform.
There isn’t a ton of information available on whether or not donors like the Raisely’s forms. But, their conversion rate is similar to Zeffy’s (around 25%), which means donors must love what they see!
Features for nonprofits on Raisely:
Raisely offeres a suite of services and tools to help nonprofits meet their fundraising goals.
- Donor management
- Donation forms
- Peer-to-peer campaigns
- Fundraising websites
- Event registration and ticketing
Unbiased user reviews on Raisely:
Raisely has a rating of 5 out of 5 on Capterra (but only 24 reviews).
Like Zeffy, Givebutter is used by small to medium sized nonprofits. Founded in 2016, Givebutter is “trusted by millions of change-makers at orgs like yours” and has processed over $300 million in donations.
How does Givebutter make money?
Givebutter claims to offer “Free fundraising, forever”. But, is it accurate? Well, kind of. Givebutter’s optional tips setting allows nonprofit organizations to activate tips from donors to help cover the cost of the platform and transaction (credit card) fees. However, if your donors don’t leave enough to cover the cost of the transaction, you’re left paying the difference.
If nonprofits choose not to activate optional tips or the tips that donors leave aren't quite enough, Givebutter charges:
- 1% of each donation made using their donation forms.
- 3% of each donation made using their fundraising page.
- 5% of money raised using their events or auction tools.
Plus, unlike Zeffy, Givebutter passes on a processing fee (credit card transaction fee) of 2.9% + $0.30 to you.
The donor experience on Givebutter.
There isn’t a ton of information on how donors like using Givebutter forms and they do not have a donor portal. It's also worth mentioning that Givebutter does not offer a French language option—which can be a deal-breaker here in Canada.
Features for nonprofits on Givebutter:
Givebutter boasts over 160 features ranging from donation forms to peer-to-peer fundraising to accepting Google Pay and Apple Pay. Chances are, if you need it, Givebutter offers it—for a fee. (Except for services and forms in French—which can be a problem up here in Canada.)
Unbiased reviews on Givebutter:
Givebutter has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 on Capterra (We know, the same rating as Zeffy, but Givebutter isn’t technically free.) and has 3.7 stars on Google.
Donorbox is available in 9 languages, 28 currencies and is used by over 50,000 organizations and individuals in over 96 countries. And, to answer the question: Do you have to be a nonprofit to use Donorbox? No, no you do not. But, Donorbox is a trusted fundraising platform for many well-known, international charities and is a solid choice for nonprofits with a global footprint.
How does Donorbox work? Or: how much does Donorbox cost?
Donorbox has the three classic pricing options: Standard, Pro and Premium. None of them are technically free, but Donorbox does have the option of allowing donors to help cover your costs.
Standard costs $0/month + a 1.75-2.95% platform fee + payment processing (transaction fees) of: 1.99% + $0.49 to 2.2% + $0.30.
Pro costs $139/month + a 1.5% platform fee + payment processing (transaction fees) of: 1.99% + $0.49 to 2.2% + $0.30.
Premium is a custom build with a monthly fee that varies + a 1.5% platform fee + payment processing (transaction fees) of: 1.99% + $0.49 to 2.2% + $0.30.
The donor experience on Donorbox.
Donorbox does indeed have a Donor Portal that allows your donors to manage their recurring donations, download receipts and view their donation histories. And, like Zeffy, Donorbox offers their forms in English and French.
Available features for nonprofits on Donorbox:
Donorbox is pretty straightforward when it comes to features. It offers donation forms, event management software, peer-to-peer campaigns, crowdfunding, memberships and what they call a “live kiosk app” that allows you to accept payments in person as long as you or your donors cover the transaction fees and you purchase a card reader.
Unbiased user reviews on Donorbox:
Donorbox has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 on Capterra (We know, the same rating as Zeffy, but Donorbox isn’t free.) and weirdly no reviews on Google.
DonorPerfect is a Canadian fundraising platform with over 50,000 nonprofit professionals using their software.
Donor perfect pricing:
DonorPerfect offers five levels of their fundraising software: Lite, Express, Essentials, Premier, and Enterprise.
Their Lite package starts at $129 per month + 2.5% per transaction. Prices go up from there, reaching $999 per month + 2.5% per transaction for their Enterprise package.
The donor experience on DonorPerfect.
There isn’t a ton of information on how donors like using Donor Perfect forms and they do not have a donor portal.
What is DonorPerfect:
- Online donation forms
- Fundraising events
- Volunteer management
- Direct mail
- Monthly membership management
- Canadian tax receipts
Unbiased reviews on DonorPerfect:
DonorPerfect has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on Capterra and two reviews of 5 stars on Google.
Classy boasts thousands of nonprofit partners, over $5 billion dollars raised, and donates 1% of the revenue it earns to the nonprofit sector. Classy’s giving platform was, like Zeffy’s, designed exclusively for nonprofit organizations and organizations need to have 501(c)(3) status to use their services.
Classy is not transparent about their pricing. But, with a little digging we were able to find that they charge around 4% per transaction and their platform fees start at $299 per month.
The donor experience on Classy.
Classy doesn’t have a ton of information on how donors like using their forms and they do not have a donor portal.
Available features for nonprofits on Classy.
Classy offers a suite of software and services for their nonprofit organizations.
- Donation websites and forms
- Donor management
- Peer-to-peer campaigns
- International fundraising
- Fundraising events and ticketing
- Auctions and mobile bidding
Unbiased reviews on Classy:
Network for Good
Founded in 2001 by America Online, Cisco Systems, and Yahoo!, Network for Good offers fundraising solutions for over 7,000 small nonprofits and has processed over $2.2 billion in transactions.
Network for Good pricing:
Network for Good aren’t super transparent with their pricing, however we were able to find out that their packages start at $100 per month + 3%-5% per transaction.
The donor experience on Network for Good.
Network for Good doesn’t have a ton of information on how donors like using their forms and they do not have a donor portal.
What is Network for Good?
Network for Good helps small nonprofits fundraise, host events, strengthen donor relationships, and measure performance.
Network for good reviews:
Eventbrite is “the leading online event registration platform” and is used by millions of events in 180 countries. It’s services are available to the for-profit sector but, it does offer event registration software for nonprofits. Eventbrite is not a fundraising platform.
Is Eventbrite free for nonprofits?
The short answer is: no. The longer answer is, Eventbrite has various pricing options including the option to “absorb fees” which means all the platform and processing fees (transaction fees) will be included in the ticket price.
Available features for nonprofits on Eventbrite.
Eventbrite offers event ticketing and market services. AKA, it is not a fundraising platform.
Unbiased reviews on Eventbrite:
Eventbrite has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 on Capterra and no Google reviews to speak of.