Another site for fundraising online is Causes.com, which started off as Facebook Causes back in 2007 as an advocacy and fundraising app. With 100 million users, Causes.com is one of the largest online platforms for social activism and – to some extent – online fundraising.
The reason I say to some extent is because for all its huge user base and close ties to Facebook, Causes.com does not generate a lot of fundraising donations. Its used more as a way to gather grassroots support for petitions and advocacy groups and somewhat infrequently for actually raising funds.
First, only registered nonprofits in the U.S. and Canada are eligible to raise funds on the site. And, only the 501 3c nonprofits that have registered with GuideStar are approved for Causes, so if the nonprofit you are raising money for is not in their database, then you can’t get past step one.
To use Causes.com for online fundraising purposes, one first starts a cause on the site. One a cause has been created, then you can specify which actions you want to take. As mentioned above, the fundraising action only works for GuideStar registered nonprofits, not just any nonprofit group.
According to Causes.com:
Any GuideStar-verified and active 501(c)(3) nonprofit can collect donations through Causes. Our credit card processor Network for Good only charges enough to cover credit card fees and processing expenses; the rest goes directly to the designated organization. All donations made on Causes are 100% tax-deductible, and Causes receives no portion of donations.
Once you’ve created your cause on Causes.com, then you can select “fundraising” as an action. As previously mentioned, most groups are using the site to get signatures on petitions, get pledges to help their cause, get their videos viewed, and build grassroots support across the country. Very few are actively asking for online donations.
For fundraising online, Causes.com makes it very easy to accept donations by featuring a big green DONATE button on the upper right of the page. That leads to another page displaying suggested donation amounts where you have to manually key in all your personal information, credit card number, etc.
So, they don’t make it “point and click” easy to give money to a nonprofit, nor do they adequately explain who is handling the credit card transaction (Network For Good), so the trust factor isn’t high.
Causes.com is good for building your email list and getting the word out to people on Facebook. However, for fundraising online I would go with one of the simpler sites like Fundrazr that integrates well with PayPal and makes it as simple as possible to accept donations online across multiple platforms.