How Nonprofits Decide Which Fundraising Tools To Use

Money. Your organization needs it, and charitable giving trends show that adopting an online platform for collecting it is, well, the move to make. In fact, online giving grew 21% in 2020, and these numbers show no signs of stopping.

But with so many different types of fundraising tools available, it can be tricky to navigate which one’s right for your organization.

Big Sea’s here to help. With over 17 years of helping nonprofits leverage online fundraising, we know exactly what steps to take — and avoid — when choosing software, monitoring multi-channel campaigns (think: a Facebook and programmatic advertising campaign driving to your website’s donation page), and exactly which tools to use.

Let’s dive in.

Illustration of a person deciding which digital nonprofit marketing tool to use

Why do nonprofits need to leverage technology in their fundraising efforts?

As the world increasingly moves online, you need to meet donors exactly where they are. With the ability to connect organizations to a wider audience, optimize campaigns, and track progress and impact, digital fundraising tools can make it easier to do just that — and more.

Leveraging technology in fundraising allows nonprofits to cast a wider net and reach more potential donors. With online donation platforms, social media, and email marketing, nonprofits can reach donors anywhere in the world with just a few clicks.

Even better, by using fundraising tools that leverage both targeted advertising and personalized messaging, nonprofits can make sure their message is reaching potential donors.

As an added bonus, online donation platforms make it easy for donors to give without having to go through the hassle of mailing a check or visiting a website.

Finally, these platforms can help nonprofits optimize their fundraising campaigns and better track their progress and impact. By using data analytics tools, nonprofits can see which appeals are working and which ones aren’t. And by tracking donor activity over time, nonprofits can identify trends and patterns that will help them make more informed decisions about their fundraising efforts and tweak their strategy.

The best fundraising tools available to nonprofits

There’s no shortage of nonprofit tools that help streamline the giving process and keep you connected with donors.

Here are some of the most effective fundraising tools our nonprofit clients are using:


Classy is a powerful fundraising platform that helps nonprofits to raise more money online and maximize impact through world-class fundraising tools that make it easier for donors to give — and generously at that.

The innovators behind this platform work to modernize the giving experience and accelerate social impact for worthy causes by really connecting with their donors. They boast an engaging and intuitive user experience that encourages loyalty and ongoing support.

Their robust fundraising platform provides everything your nonprofit needs to tap into social campaigns, online events, international fundraising, and so much more.


As a Hubspot-certified agency, Big Sea will always sing this lightning-fast CRM tool’s praises. With a free trial and discounted rate that follows, there’s no shortage of ways to keep funds flowing, while also saving your organization time and money.

Whether you’re building and launching landing pages, creating targeted emails, or scheduling paid social media ads, Hubspot keeps track of every win — and spots areas where you can grow — in your marketing, sales, and CRM pipelines.


If you’ve spent any time online recently, chances are that you’ve seen someone post a GoFundMe for crowdfunding purposes.

With a simple platform that allows you to tell stories and easily track your fundraising goals, it’s no wonder this affordable platform is so popular. GoFundMe makes it easy for donors to share your cause with others through social media and make a more publicly visible impact.

Blackbaud (Raiser’s Edge)

A fully-comprehensive, cloud-based fundraising platform? The future is here, and BlackBaud’s Raiser’s Edge platform is leading the way.

With multiple giving programs, flexible online donation forms, and a variety of payment options, this CRM platform helps you manage donations, donor relationships and more. They boast end-to-end gift management, AI-driven donation suggestions, and custom analytics.

Harness Giving

All-in-one fundraising platforms might sound too good to be true, but with over 2,000 clients, Harness Giving touts an easy-to-use platform for all parties involved.

With a unique Impact Calculator, Harness Giving helps nonprofits connect with their stakeholders by quite literally showing them the numbers: just how much of an impact their donation has had on the community.


Facebook fundraiser is a great, no-cost tool that nonprofits can use to streamline their donation process through social media.

With the fundraising option integrated right into Facebook, users can both engage with a powerful story and donate using whatever platform they choose, including Facebook Payment, Network for Good, Paypal Giving Fund, and Razor Pay. They’re already scrolling through Facebook — so catch them where they are.

Google Pay

Bringing in donations is the Big Win. But accessing those funds — and quick — is key. Google Pay is the way to go for streamlining a one-click donation process.

While it’s less of an integrated platform than, say Harness Giving or Blackbaud, it’s still a great way to collect donations. It’s particularly useful for donors that are browsing for different charities to support. You want yours to be in there.

How to choose the right fundraising tool for your nonprofit

When thinking about fundraising tools you need to consider 3 audiences.

1. The donor

What makes them care about your mission?
How can you make the donation process easy and engaging?
How can you guarantee loyalty and return visits?

2. Your internal team that will use the tool

Campaign ideas are fun and all, but the tools you adopt should be:

  1. easy to set up, and
  2. connected with the other systems you’re using to promote and manage the campaign.

3. Your constituents

What’s the community you’re serving? Keeping them front and center keeps the why in mind for your organization and your potential donors.

What stories are you telling, to whom, and how can your fundraising tool help you share it more widely?

Our nonprofit fundraising experts recommend looking for tools that are under iterative improvement cycles. You want to know that the tool you choose is being tested and improved on a regular basis. If it’s not working for you, try something that does.

Small updates to user experience and workflow can make a huge difference in your donation totals, so learn about each tool’s roadmap and landing page conversion rates before you commit.

There are dozens of amazing software platforms that all have very specific use-cases and strengths, but how do they all work together, and how do you know you’re getting the most out of your tech investment?

A MarTech assessment is the answer, and it should be a regular part of your marketing investment analysis. The data can give you ideas of how to unlock better functionality and more automation within the tools you’re already using.

Trust a marketing agency that specializes in nonprofits

At Big Sea, we’ve helped boost online donations for countless nonprofit organizations, and we can do the same for you. From grassroots community programs to cultural organizations to big national brands — we’ve raised hundreds of thousands.

With one look at our results, you’ll see why.