The Complete Guide To Venmo For Nonprofits: How & Why To Use Venmo For Donations & Fundraisers
Create a charity profile and start accepting donations with our step by step guide to Venmo for nonprofits.
Using Venmo for nonprofits is a good option for many organizations.
Keep reading to find out if Venmo for donations is the right option for your nonprofit organization, plus learn how to create a Venmo nonprofit profile.
Table of Contents
- Why Use Venmo For Nonprofits?
- Venmo Nonprofit Fees & Pricing
- What Is A Venmo Charity Profile?
- How To Set Up Venmo For A Nonprofit
- How To Start A Venmo Fundraiser
- Best Practices Of Using Venmo For Donations
- Alternatives To Venmo For Nonprofits
- Should You Use Venmo For Your Nonprofit Organization?
- FAQs: Venmo For Nonprofits
Why Use Venmo For Nonprofits?
Using Venmo for nonprofit donations and fundraisers is a great option for nonprofits that want to engage younger supporters and add a social aspect to their fundraising campaigns. Venmo is a well-known mobile payments app that operates like a social media app, so nonprofits can engage with donors and potentially reach a new pool of donors (i.e. the donor’s family and friend groups).
Here are some of the pros and cons of using Venmo for donations:
- Discounted Fees: Nonprofits get discounted payment processing fees. Venmo’s fee of 1.9% + $0.10 is even lower than PayPal’s (another popular payment platform) nonprofit donation fees.
- No Fees For Users: Users pay zero fees to send donations to Venmo charity profiles.
- Easy To Reach Donors: It’s easy to send donation links via text message, email, and QR code.
- Add Donation Link Anywhere: Nonprofits can add Venmo donation links to their website, social media posts/profiles, email newsletters – anywhere you can add text.
- Social Sharing: Users can show their donations to family and friends on their Venmo profile, encouraging their social circle to donate as well.
- Donor Communication: Nonprofits can respond to donors with a thank-you message, building a sense of community and gratitude.
- Charity Profiles: Venmo now offers a charity profile feature, where nonprofits can create a verified charity profile separate from a personal Venmo profile, get donation transaction reports, include a nonprofit photo gallery, and more.
- No International Support: Nonprofits can only take donations from people in the US.
- No Recurring Donations: Venmo does not currently support recurring payments.
- Not For Large Organizations: Venmo is not suited for larger organizations that have larger weekly donation amounts (although high, Venmo does have weekly donation transfer limits), more customization needs, and a need to integrate with third-party software.
Venmo Nonprofit Fees & Pricing
Venmo nonprofit fees only include a flat-rate fee of 1.9% plus $0.10 per transaction. Nonprofits must have verified 501(c)(3) status to get this discounted flat-rate transaction fee.
Users pay no fees to donate to your nonprofit, even if they use a credit card (Venmo waives the 3% fee users usually have to pay to use credit cards.)
What Is A Venmo Charity Profile?
The Venmo charity profile is a new type of Venmo profile for nonprofits to collect donations in-app with their @username. Charity profiles come with many tools for nonprofits, such as donation history statements, donor contact history, charity-verified checkmarks, and shareable posts from donors.
Charity profiles are separate from personal profiles and business profiles. Users will need a PayPal Business account to create a charity profile before setting up a Venmo charity profile.
Venmo will also include charity profiles in its charity hub, a place within the app where users can connect with charities they care about. It’s an easy way for your nonprofit to connect with people who are already interested in giving.
Plus, charities can request a QR code kit, which includes physical items like stickers and lanyards with your charity profile QR code printed on them. Take these physical items with you to events, hand them out to businesses that are interested in collecting donations for your nonprofit, and add them around a physical location if you have one.
How To Set Up Venmo For A Nonprofit
Before getting started, it’s important to know that you can’t convert an existing Venmo business profile to a charity profile. You’ll need a new phone number and email to create a Venmo charity profile, or you’ll have to contact Venmo to close a business profile and start a charity one.
Translation: Don’t try to create a Venmo business profile and convert it, or create any new profile, without going through PayPal.
Step 1: Create (Or Log Into) A PayPal Nonprofit Business Account
If you don’t have a PayPal Business account, you’ll have to create one. PayPal will ask for information related to your organization, such as the Employer Identification Number, bank account numbers, and website URL.
Read our guide to PayPal for nonprofits for a detailed breakdown of how to create a nonprofit PayPal account.
Step 2: Find Venmo In Your PayPal Business Tools
Search for Venmo in your business tools, and you’ll see the Venmo charity profiles app.
Click, “Get Started” to start creating your charity profile. You’ll be brought over to Venmo to create a new account or sign in if you already have a personal Venmo account.
Step 3: Create (Or Log Into) A Venmo Account
If you already have a Venmo account, you’ll be asked to sign into it (you can have a personal and a charity “wallet” under one account).
New users will create a Venmo account by verifying their mobile number, filling in contact information, and creating a password.
Step 4: Build & Publish Your Charity Profile
You’ll provide information such as a profile name, description, category, and keywords to help donors find your charity profile. You’ll also provide your organization’s contact info and social media/website links you’d like to display on your profile. You can also add some photos to show people the good that your organization does.
PayPal will provide Venmo with information such as your business registration information and tax identifier during the setup process.
Finally, preview your profile, and, when you’re satisfied, click “Publish”.
How To Start A Venmo Fundraiser
Since Venmo isn’t built for large campaigns, we suggest starting a Venmo fundraiser that is small, requires little commitment for donors, and allows you to ask a lot of people for a little money.
Step 1: Identify Your Fundraiser’s Goals
The most effective nonprofit fundraisers have compelling stories and specific campaign goals. These fundraisers also tell people how to donate and exactly what their money will go towards.
So, start by deciding what, specifically, you are fundraising for. Are you fundraising to meet an acute need, or to advance your nonprofit’s mission? How much money does the organization need to meet this goal? What will the money go towards?
For example, an animal rescue may do an online fundraiser to cover the cost of medical care for an animal that has become ill or an event to raise money for the ongoing maintenance of the facility.
The cost of care for one animal is straightforward and it’s easy to tell people what their money is going towards. The cost of maintaining a facility is a little harder to estimate, but it’s important to have concrete numbers to work towards and to show people what their contributions mean.
Step 2: Outline Your Fundraising Campaign Structure
You can do online and in-person fundraisers with Venmo since you can share a donation link online and print out a donation QR code. However, Venmo does have limitations that you have to keep in mind when deciding your campaign structure.
For example, Venmo does not make it easy for you to sell tickets to an event. You may benefit more from using event registration software or selling tickets on a dedicated website.
However, Venmo is great for taking money on an open-ended basis. You could hold an event that’s free to attend but ask for donations at that event. You might raise more money by letting people decide how much to give than if you sold fixed-price tickets!
Here are some popular fundraising campaign ideas:
- Build a social media or email fundraising campaign and ask your organization’s following to donate (and to share posts/emails about your fundraiser with their social circle)
- Partner with an influencer who cares about your cause and have them ask their followers to donate
- Create a “donate or do it” challenge (like the ASL ice bucket challenge) and share it online
- Host an online or in-person event, then ask for donations at the event
- Choose a recurring day of the week or month to take donations for a specific cause
Step 3: Decide Your Fundraiser Budget & Timeline
Depending on the structure of your event, you may need to spend money on event supplies, invest in a social media partner, pay for social media advertising, etc. Decide how much money (if any), you can spend on a fundraiser, keeping in mind that the money will be worth it to get your cause in front of more interested people.
Also, decide how long your fundraiser will go on. If you’re starting a Venmo fundraiser that involves an event, choose the event date(s), plus how far in advance you want to start advertising for it. If you’re holding a fundraiser for someone/something in need, set a hard deadline on when you need to have the funds.
Step 4: Create Campaign Pages & Marketing Materials
You need specific campaign materials such as social media posts and web pages so that:
- You have a way to spread information about your specific fundraiser (not just your organization in general)
- Donors can share information about the fundraiser
- Potential donors have an online place to go to read more about what they may be investing in
- You can post updates about how the campaign is going (e.g. how much money you have raised and how much more money you need to raise)
- You can pass out or hang print items advertising your fundraisers at relevant events/locations
Depending on the structure of your fundraiser, you may need to create a webpage about your fundraiser using a web builder such as Square Online, design social media or print marketing materials with an easy-to-use graphic design tool like Canva, email campaign software like Campaign Monitor, and a social media post scheduler such as Buffer. We recommend these tools because they are all available for free or offer a great discount for nonprofits.
- Related: Read our guide to social media marketing for all the best online marketing tactics to bring in more money for your cause.
Step 5: Promote/Launch Your Fundraiser
If you plan on raising money at an event, try to promote the event at least eight weeks in advance, depending on the size of the event. Set up an event page to monitor who is coming on your website, Facebook, Eventbrite, or another platform. Create and schedule social media advertisements, print out flyers with QR codes linking to event registration pages, and send a reminder email to participants a few days before the big event.
If you’re quickly starting a fundraiser because you need funding immediately, launch your fundraiser as soon as possible.
If you’re doing an annual fundraiser, drum up excitement before it starts.
Step 6: Give Fundraiser Updates
Give regular updates to current and prospective donors throughout the timeline of your fundraiser.
Regularly let people know how much has been raised and how much your organization needs to reach its goal. It gives people an idea of what your organization still needs and helps them see exactly how they’ll help you reach your goal.
Also, if you are spending funds as you raise them (e.g. for ongoing medical care) give updates on how the money is being spent. People enjoy seeing the impact their dollars have on a good cause.
Step 7: End Your Fundraising Campaign & Evaluate Results
Wrap your fundraiser up, thank everyone who donated and shared information about your cause, and take the time to analyze how the campaign went to learn what you should (and shouldn’t) do for your next one.
By analyzing when people donated, what platforms people learned about your campaign from, how much the average person donated, and how close you got to your goal, you can learn when/where to advertise your campaign, who your target audience is, and whether your goals are realistic.
Bonus Step: Venmo Fundraising Template
There are plenty of Venmo fundraiser templates on sites such as Pinterest, Canva, and Template.net. Bingo-style Instagram story Venmo fundraiser templates are very popular, as are QR code Venmo code printouts.
Plus, there are all kinds of social media post/video templates and print flyer templates on these sites that you can use for your Venmo fundraiser, as well as promoting your organization in general.
Create Venmo fundraiser templates with your brand colors and messaging that you can tweak and reuse later on for other fundraising campaigns. It will save you a lot of time in the long run, and make your organization look more professional.
Best Practices Of Using Venmo For Donations
You can craft Venmo fundraisers for specific causes, and you can take donations on a running basis. To keep donations rolling in:
- Link Your Venmo Account Online: Don’t just include your Venmo link in specific posts and flyers. Add it to your social media bio, a call-to-action button/page on your website, on email newsletter updates, and anywhere else that people may interact with your organization online.
- Print Out Your QR Code: Print out your QR code and place it in your physical building if you have one. You can put it at the entrance, near a sign-in sheet or register, and anywhere else people may stop and see it.
- Show People How To Donate On Venmo: Create a short video on using Venmo to donate to your nonprofit. Pin it to your social media profiles, post it on your website, and include a QR code link to your “how-to” next to your donation QR code in your building.
- Communicate With Your Organization’s Donors: Send a “thank you” message to donors through Venmo. Also, keep donors updated on how your campaign is going, plus the organization’s activity in general. It’ll make donors feel like a part of something bigger than themselves, and keep your cause fresh in their minds.
- Save Donors’ Contact Information: Venmo charity profiles allow you to save and export donor contact information. This makes it easier to communicate with them in the future through email or text.
- Keep Up On Bookkeeping: Venmo can export donation reports that can (and should) be part of your bookkeeping solution. Use one of these best nonprofit accounting software programs to keep track of everything, especially when tax season comes around.
Alternatives To Venmo For Nonprofits
Venmo is a great option for some nonprofits, but several alternative payment providers may be better suited for your organization, including:
Should You Use Venmo For Your Nonprofit Organization?
Venmo nonprofit profiles offer many benefits for small, local nonprofits. The social sharing aspects of the app and the highly discounted payment processing fees alone make Venmo a good choice for many nonprofits.
However, Venmo isn’t right for every organization, especially ones that process a large volume of charitable contributions every week.
Payment processing is one of the important factors when it comes to choosing a donation payments platform since these fees can eat up a sizeable portion of donations. Read up on our guide to the best nonprofit payment processing providers to find the right payment processor for your organization.
Also, check out our nonprofit resource tools hub for guidance on everything from the best nonprofit accounting practices, to where you can find your next grant, to how to get a business loan.