Donate now – a concept that is becoming familiar to more and more nonprofits, as well as the people who visit their Websites – especially at this time of the year. More and more organizations are coming to realize the benefit of using their site as a fundraising tool and not just to provide information about its programs or mission.

However, like any good idea, this one requires preparation and planning in order to receive the best possible return and hopefully avoid the pitfalls.

Laura Quinn of Idealware.org suggests a list of things you should keep in mind when setting up an online donation system for your nonprofit:

  • Merchant bank fees – this makes a good starting point for comparison shopping as some vendors require the nonprofit to use their accounts while others require you utilize your own
  • Startup charges – these can range from zero to tens of thousands of dollars for full donor-management packages
  • Monthly fees
  • Transaction fees – might be a percentage of donations or a flat fee
  • Reliability – it is recommended that a nonprofit ask for a vendor’s financial results and client list
  • Personality – can you design a payment page to look like it is part of your Web site?
  • Securityis not an area to skimp on.