A good cause can move people to donate money to charities, non-profits, and non-governmental organizations (NPOs and NGOs). The landscape of charitable giving has been influenced by digital fundraising. More charities are exploring online giving strategies through digital platforms to find new donors, reach younger audiences, create more engaging fundraising campaigns, and save time and money. Technology can help charities increase donations, find new donors, and extend the reach of their campaigns.

How people donate: Fast stats

Based on survey results of 4,084 donors worldwide, the 2017 Global Trends in Giving Report is a unique annual research project that studies how donors prefer to give and engage with their favorite causes and charitable organizations. 94% of respondents agree that in order to stay relevant in the digital age, non-profits and non-governmental organizations must invest financial and staff resources into charity app development.

Channels people use to give and how often they give:

Source: givingreport.ngo

Fundraising concepts donors are most likely to use:

Source: giving report.ngo

Donations made by gender and cause:

Source: givingreport.ngo

Managing fundraising activity

Before deciding to develop a charity donation app, there are several things to consider besides the cost itself.

Communicating with donors. If communication is important, then a platform must provide access to donors’ contact information. It’s also crucial to ensure that the site collects consent for communications. Donors may also appreciate receipts of their transactions to confirm donations.

Providing data. Charities need to be clear about what information they need from donors and how and when this information will be used. Some larger sites can create customized data reports, providing transaction journeys donors made. It’s important to check how quickly these reports are required, as some have longer turnaround times than others. Also, check whether the data supplied is in a format that can be easily used.

Transparent information. Information about a charity – including how and where it operates – should be clear, accurate, and easily accessible on its platform. Supporters will also want to check the eligibility of a site to receive donations and its legal status, so this information should be available too.

Monitoring and receiving payments. Finance teams need to factor in the receipt and reconciliation of payments into existing internal processes. Some payments might be weekly while others may be monthly or even occur at the end of a charity campaign. Charities should consider their longer-term financial plans and budgets when considering the time frames for receiving payments. If there’s an end goal for a fixed sum of money, then it’s necessary to adjust the campaign when that goal is attained.

Updating pages or content. The administrative function of a charity platform is important, as this will determine how many resources are required to regularly update and manage pages. If there are multiple staff members accessing pages, charities will need to find out how they can log in and what permission levels different people within the organisation should have.

Some campaigns are updated automatically. As soon as a donation has been made, the donor can be added to the list of donors and the donation can trigger an update to the live donations tracker.

PCI compliance is crucial for any nonprofit that accepts donations via credit card. PCI compliance is a set of requirements which ensure that all entities accepting payments or donations via credit cards process, store, and transmit card information securely. Compliance ensures that a donor’s payment information is safe and sound. Organizations can be fined if they don’t follow these important guidelines.

Letting donors remain anonymous. More advanced sites offer an option for donors to remain anonymous, both to the public and also to charities. This might be useful for fundraising campaigns that deal with sensitive issues.

Donating globally. If donations are sent from abroad, then the payment system should be able to accept different currencies and foreign credit or debit cards. Some sites allow donors to donate in foreign currencies directly.

Typical donation journey

The process of money transfer will depend on whether the platform itself is a charity or a private company. An online fundraising platform is designed to collect donors’ money and place it in a secure bank account (this may or may not be a separate designated trust account, but the funds should be clearly identifiable nonetheless). Then, those donations are transferred – minus relevant charges – to the charities.

The basic principle is that a donor gives to their chosen charity by typing in their credit or debit card numbers to enable money withdrawal or uses their digital wallet. This donation is cleared by the platform after deducting administrative and other fees.

  • Credit card processing. Online donation forms should accept all major credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, etc.).
  • Direct debit processing. With debit payments, donors can enter their bank account information and funds will be deposited directly to the cause without processing fees. Direct debit works well for donors who want to set up recurring donations. This method is extremely popular and convenient for donors who are on-the-go, especially as people are carrying cash less and less and their Android and iOS devices more and more.
  • Digital wallet processing. A digital wallet is a bank system that is integrated into a charity platform. They allow supporters to make donations with one tap.

Best charity donation apps

With online solutions, the charity sector can focus on engaging supporters and making them part of a bigger cause. Thus, donors can identify with the aspirations of either charity to the point of turning everyday activities into donations by means of features a charity mobile app can offer.

Charity Miles

Charity Miles, an app for donating to charity that’s available on Android and iOS, encourages users to raise money for charity every day by walking, running, or cycling as part of their exercise routines. Users can choose from nine different charities, and then the app tracks their distance and donates money from corporate sponsors for each mile as long as users share their activity on Facebook or Twitter. This innovative, easy-to-use app benefits consumers, charities, and corporations alike, motivating users to exercise and offering corporations a truly unique way to connect with consumers. Nonprofit Technological News has written about Charity Miles, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses.


ShareTheMeal fights global hunger through the United Nations World Food Program. The concept is simple: users just tap the app on their phone and give 50 cents to feed one child for one day. When people chose to donate through the app, thousands of undernourished people will also get a meal. The app is available globally and has received several awards for its design and innovation. Google named ShareTheMeal one of the Best Apps of 2015.

Coin Up

Coin Upcollects digital spare change and puts it toward causes users care about. Users simply need to connect a debit or credit card and choose a charity by location, field of work, or name. After that, each transaction made on the connected card is rounded up to the nearest dollar and the spare change is thrown into a fund for charity. A $4.50 latte would be rounded to $5.00, for example, leaving $0.50 for the cause the user selected. Users can set a limit for donations each month, starting at $5. Coin Up takes a small fee for operating costs from the money they pass along to charities. Co-founder and chief executive officer Leena Patidar says the app is to encourage users to donate incrementally throughout the year and to give non-profits a better way to reach Gen Y donors. Coin Up is available on Android and iOS devices. All donations are tax deductible.

If charities are not enlisting themselves in a mobile environment they’re really going to miss out on donations… This is a very simple way to make a difference.

– CEO Leena Patidar.

Life-changing piece of news: Kate Winslet, together with Leonardo Di Caprio, set up a charity to raise £300,000 to pay for treatment for 29-year-old Gemma Nuttall's ovarian cancer after coming across her fundraising page onlineGemma is now cancer-free. Had her need not been advertised online, the providential help of this actress and actor (and many more people) would not have been possible, leaving Gemma’s daughter motherless.

Make your own charity app at a reasonable price

Due to advancing technology, giving is now simple, fast, and almost effortless. Donors are looking for ways to contribute to good causes and are willing to donate through online channels. Non-governmental organizations, non-profits, and individuals who want to support any cause can leverage online giving to raise funds. An online platform reaches donors at a local, national, and even international level since people are likely to share calls for donations on social networks or send links with donation forms to friends.

Digital fundraising can increase donations for organizations and individuals provided that campaigns appeal to the target audience or are of vital importance. At SteelKiwi, we can build a charity app for you that works well and helps you spread the word about those in need of support.

We built a platform for an NPO “Kimetrica” and still continue our collaboration with this organization.

If you are looking for a reliable partner, contact us with your vision for an online giving platform and our sales representative will get back to you shortly!