Shopify For Nonprofits: Your Guide To Fundraising, Managing Donations & More
Shopify is great for nonprofits to collect online donations, sell event tickets, sell and ship merchandise, and create fundraisers. Shopify is both easy to use and full of integrations for charities of all types.
Your nonprofit organization needs an online presence, or your fundraising efforts will be limited to your immediate, in-person donors.
With the eCommerce and nonprofit-specific tools offered by Shopify for nonprofits, though, you can do a lot. For example, you can take donations online at any time, set up one-time and monthly donations, sell on social media, send text links to donation pages, host crowdfunding campaigns, and create personalized donation options.
Of course, nonprofits (especially smaller ones) always need to keep costs in mind.
Keep reading to decide whether the price of Shopify for nonprofits is worth it to increase your organization’s funding.
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Shopify For Nonprofits & Charities
Shopify may be a great option for nonprofits or charities looking for a way to organize their donations into one central location and/or expand their brand.
With Shopify for nonprofits, you can:
- Accept donations on social media
- Sell event tickets online
- Get discounted or eliminated transaction fees
- Set up monthly donation subscriptions
- Send SMS donation text links
- Start email marketing
- Sell merchandise locally and internationally
- Take donations in person
Using Shopify For Fundraising & Donations
Shopify has two nonprofit-specific plans: NPO Lite and NPO Full.
The NPO Lite plan only includes a donation button you can add to existing websites/social media platforms. You can add an online store for an added fee.
- Donations Through Shopify Payments: Registered charities in the US and Canada can use Shopify’s in-house payment processor, Shopify Payments, to avoid transaction fees altogether. Some eCommerce business owners do not qualify for Shopify Payments, but charities with proper documentation automatically qualify.
- Reduced Transaction Fees: If you use a third-party payment processor such as PayPal or Stripe, you will only pay a 1% transaction fee on the NGO Lite plan (Shopify typically charges a 2% transaction fee on Lite plans.) There are no transaction fees at all on the NGO Full plan.
- Lower Credit Card Rates: NGO Lite and Full plans both have reduced third-party credit card transaction rates.
- Buy Button: On every Shopify nonprofit pricing plan, you can generate a Shopify buy button, which can be used to collect donations or sell things like event tickets and merchandise. Place the button on your organization’s social media profiles, website, blog, emails, text messages, on other websites, etc.
- POS Integration: If your organization takes donations, sells goods, and/or hosts events at a physical location, use Shopify’s point-of-sale (POS) technology to take donations on the spot.
- eCommerce Features: Complete beginners can start selling branded or handmade t-shirts, stickers, hats, books, water bottles, and more with Shopify’s eCommerce inventory, listing, and shipping management tools.
- Unlimited User Accounts: Standard Shopify plans limit the number of user accounts you can have on your plan. However, nonprofits can have an unlimited number of users, so everyone on staff can have their own Shopify user dashboard.
- Expansive App Store: There are over 4,200 free and paid apps on Shopify’s app store. Whether you want to offer an on-site appointment schedule, cross-post event listings across your website and social media platforms, offer free digital downloads of information related to your charity, or anything else imaginable, you’ll find an app to help.
- Must Prove Nonprofit Status: You must provide verification of your nonprofit/charity status, which some smaller organizations may not have yet.
- No Discount On Pricing Plans: While nonprofits do get discounted transaction fees, there’s no monthly pricing discount.
- Transaction Fees: Transaction fees in general are always negative. Other eCommerce platforms like BigCommerce never charge transaction fees.
- May Need Paid Add-Ons: Shopify is supposed to be easy for beginners to get their businesses and organizations online. Since Shopify’s features are relatively simple, you may need to pay for add-ons. Most add-ons are subscription-based, so your organization would have to build those payments into a monthly budget.
Best Tools That Shopify Offers Nonprofits & Charities
These are some of the best tools and apps Shopify offers that are specifically geared towards nonprofits.
- Buy Button: On every Shopify nonprofit pricing plan, you have the ability to embed a buy button in your nonprofit’s social media pages, posts, online features, blogs, and (if you have one) your own website. With the NPO Lite plan, you do not need to own a website to use a buy button. This is a cost-effective option for smaller nonprofits that do not need a full website. Use the buy button as a way to take donations, sell merchandise, event tickets, etc.
- eCommerce Fundraisers: Since Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce solution, you can easily sell t-shirts, crafts, donated items, ebooks, and more. Sell items for pickup or ship anywhere in the world. Also, there are tools available to show people how much of their purchase goes towards your cause.
- In-Person Donations: There is a range of Shopify POS hardware solutions for every budget, including a Shopify POS app that you can use with most iPads and iPhones. If you take payments with Shopify Payments, you will need to purchase a $29 Shopify chip and swipe card reader.
- Social Media Selling: Charities like Animals Matter are using Shopify to turn their Facebook, Instagram, and (a new feature) TikTok accounts to sell merchandise from within posts. You can tag a product in a post, and viewers can click on the post to be redirected to your Shopify store. You can easily sync your store and your social media, so it’s easy to list items and update their availability.
- SMS Marketing: Use a Shopify SMS text messaging integration to send donation text links, get email newsletter subscribers, advertise fundraisers, and more.
- Email Marketing: Build an email capture pop-up to display on your Shopify website, and automatically add those emails to your subscriber list. Send email to update donors about the status of a fundraiser, advertise a new event, announce a sale, send a weekly (or monthly) newsletter, and more. Read our post on how to create an email marketing strategy to help you get started.
- One-Time And Monthly Donation Subscriptions: Getting monthly donations offers a sustainable source of funding. On the other hand, the ability to offer a one-time donation allows people to donate without feeling pressured to commit. Offer both at once with a donation subscription app — options are available in Shopify’s app store.
- Automated Tax Receipts: Donors who want to write off their charitable contributions will need a receipt. Use this app on Shopify to automatically send donation receipts.
- Invoice Generator: Whether your charity is doing work for another organization, or you’re contracting someone else for work, you can use an invoice generator to organize your financials, for tax purposes, and to show donors what exactly their contributions are going towards.
- Personalized Donations: Allow your donors to choose which cause they’re donating to. For example, if your nonprofit has several projects or groups of people it works with, you can let donors choose where they want their money to go.
- Social Proof: With a donation counter app, you can show site visitors how much your charity has made in donations, and where those donations are going. This will create a sense of transparency that may move people to donate.
- Crowdfunding: With Shopify’s crowdfunding campaign manager app, you can create individual campaigns, update donors about your campaign’s progress, show how many people donated to your cause, and include a progress bar on campaign donation pages. You can host campaigns on your nonprofit’s website and on these most popular nonprofit crowdfunding platforms.
- Blogging Functions: Blogging is an excellent way to capture the interest of readers, talk about your cause, and get found in search results.
- Application Forms: Create forms for volunteer applicants, or more specific forms related to your cause. For example, if you run a rescue shelter, you can create a form for people to apply to adopt online.
Shopify Nonprofit Pricing
Shopify’s NPO Lite and NPO Full plans are very similar in price to Shopify’s default pricing plans, except for reduced (or nonexistent) transaction fees and credit card rates.
- NPO Lite (No Online Shop): $9/month
- NPO Lite With Shop: $29/month
- NPO Full (No Online Shop): $79/month
- NPO Full: $99/month
You do get a 10% discount if you sign up for an annual plan.
Shopify For Nonprofits FAQs
Should You Use Shopify For Your Nonprofit?
Shopify is an excellent choice for both large and small nonprofits to gain online exposure and create new avenues of funding.
Smaller charities may not be able to commit to the monthly subscription charges for running an eCommerce website. For small nonprofits, though, Shopify offers a low-cost buy button for nonprofits to include in social media posts, blogs, emails, text messages, and more.
However, if you’re not sure whether Shopify is the right solution for your fundraising needs, check out other options like Square and Stripe. While these two options don’t have the eCommerce features you’d need to sell merchandise or hold crowdfunding campaigns, they offer great ways to efficiently take donations online.
To increase your organization’s funding even more, check out Merchant Maverick’s nonprofit resource tools. We’ve done thorough research to find the best software and services for nonprofits to meet their fundraising goals. Good luck!
Do you have experience with using Shopify as a not-for-profit business? Let us know in the comments.