How to Choose a Shopify Donation App
Written by Dayana Mayfield
If you’re looking for a Shopify donation app, you might have noticed a plethora of options in the Shopify App Store. Some of these apps collect donations only for the specific non-profit that created the application. Others can be used to send donations to the organization of the customer’s choice.
With so much to sift through, we thought we’d showcase the different types of donation apps and the best ones available.
What is a donation app for Shopify?
A Shopify donation app allows you to collect donations for non-profit organizations that your brand cares about, for your own non-profit organization, or for your store’s pre-sale or in-development products. Some apps give customers the option to donate after checkout while others add the donation before or during checkout as if the donation were a separate product in their shopping cart.
Cause marketing is on the rise. As millennials, generation z, and generation alpha continue to become more conscious as consumers than the generation that preceded them, brands are working to integrate important causes into their marketing. This has led to ecommerce stores—not just non-profits—to fundraise and collect donations.
Types of Shopify donation apps
1. Donation incentives for ecommerce companies
A donation incentive app helps ecommerce businesses employ the power of cause marketing to increase customer loyalty. For best results, these apps should be fully customizable in terms of donation incentive amounts and featured charities. The app should also not affect your checkout flow whatsoever.
2. Crowdfunding apps for ecommerce companies
A crowdfunding app, on the other hand, allows an ecommerce company to set up Kickstarter-like functionality on their own Shopify website. This way, they can pre-sell new products in order to test products or purchase inventory. The app should allow you to showcase and manage rewards for donating different amounts.
Example: Crowdfunding Manager
3. Donation collection apps for non-profits
Non-profit organizations might use Shopify in order to sell products like t-shirts, books, bumper stickers, and other items. A donation app can be added to their Shopify store to collect donations as well. Some apps only add donations to a product purchase, while others also allow website visitors to donate without buying anything.
Example: Tip Jar
4. Non-profit sponsored apps that donate to that organization only
And finally, there are donation apps that are built by specific charities in order to make it easy for companies to sponsor them. An ecommerce store can add the charities app to their site to collect donations, much like grocery stores collect $1 – $5 donations at checkout.
Example: St. Jude’s Shopify App
Key benefits of donation incentive apps for ecom companies
The benefits of collecting donations for non-profits is clear: non-profit organizations need the funds! But what are the main benefits of installing a donation app for ecommerce companies?
Here’s why big and small brands alike are adopting donations:
- Appeal to conscious consumers – Show your customers and potential customers that you take corporate social responsibility seriously. Donation incentives allow customers to donate to charity when they complete a qualifying order.
- Market without discounts – Some brands don’t want to offer discounts. Maybe they have a limited number of SKUs and don’t want to lower the perceived value of their products. Or maybe discounts simply aren’t in line with their premium branding. Whatever the reason, donation incentives (where donations are only available for qualifying orders) give your brand a unique marketing angle that has nothing to do with discounts. Even if you do offer discounts, this can be used as a way to switch things up and keep your marketing fresh.
- Align brand to evergreen and timely causes – If you partner with a Shopify donation app that supports all 501c3 organizations, you can align your brand to different causes throughout the year. For example, in the summer months, you might focus on ocean conservation, and during the holiday season, you might encourage customers to donate to organizations that feed the hungry. Or, you can continually support the same organizations again and again. For example, a Shopify store in the pets category might feature the same dog and cat rescue organizations throughout the year on their Givz donation page.
- Increase average order values – Donation incentives can also be used to increase average order values when you use an app that goes into effect after checkout. For example, you might offer a $10 donation when a customer purchases $50 or more. You can strategically set your donation incentive limits in order to strategically increase your AOV by 10 – 15% of your normal average.
In this example, Terez combines their product with their support of the LGBTQ community, while also boosting the number of purchases over the $200 amount.
The best Shopify donation apps
With so many options to choose from, we thought it would be helpful to showcase the top apps related to donations.
All of these applications work with Shopify stores specifically and are listed on the Shopify App Store.
Best for: Ecommerce companies who serve conscious consumers and/or millennials and gen z.
- Lets customers donate to any 501c3
- Allows brands to feature organizations that are in line with their brand or the season on the donation page
- Donation page goes into effect after checkout for qualifying orders
- Qualifying orders can be set to strategically increase average order value
Because the donation goes into effect after checkout, it does not interfere with your optimized checkout flow. Since customers can pick any charity, you can gather insights into the causes your paying customers care about. Also, Givz’s donation incentives are a great alternative to discounts and have been proven to increase conversions from email while also lowering the cost of discounts.
For ecommerce companies, there are no downsides to using Givz. But it’s only made for ecom, and can’t be used to crowdfund or gather direct donations. The donations are paid out to partner charities, not the store owner.
Best for: Non-profits who sell products with Shopify
- Donation suggestions and custom donation amounts
- Donations can be added to product purchases on Shopify store
- Works with Shopify POS for in-person donations
DonateMate is a really great way for non-profits to collect donations both online and in person. Donations can be made individually or added on to product purchases like t-shirts and gift shop items. This simplifies your organization’s bookkeeping process, as more of your revenue is in one place. Plus, the donations have a unique SKU to accurately account for them.
You will pay transaction fees on top of the credit card processing fee. However, the transaction fees are included in the monthly price up to a certain amount, depending on the plan you choose.
Best for: Ecommerce companies with environmentally conscious consumers
- Donations are simple, and $1 = 1 tree
- Donation is made directly to the One Tree Planted 501c3
- Multiple currencies are supported, USD, CAD, EURO, or POUND
One Tree Planted’s Shopify app offers an easy way to deepen your relationship with environmentally conscious consumers. Because the money goes directly to the charity, it doesn’t complicate your books.
The app works during checkout, instead of after checkout like Givz. This could potentially confuse customers during checkout or interfere with the checkout process. To know the effects, you’d want to test it.
Also, this app only works for the One Tree Planted charity. If you want to partner with other charities that align with your brand or allow your customers to choose their own charity, you should consider an app that integrates with all 501c3 orgs, like Givz.
Best for: Small ecommerce companies launching new products
- Ability to run multiple projects
- Analytics into campaigns and projects
- Rewards management for donors
- Ability to show or hide the project donation progress towards goal
Because goal progress can be hidden, smaller companies can continue to collect donations without worrying about their project looking unsuccessful. For ecommerce companies looking for an alternative to sites like Kickstarter, this is a great way to manage crowdfunding directly. The app can be used for brand new stores, or stores looking for support in launching a new product or product line.
Kickstarter has an established brand identity, and makes it easier for people to trust and even discover your project. If you don’t have an attractive website and an existing audience (maybe an email list or social media following), you will probably be better off using Kickstarter instead of trying to manage donations and rewards under your brand alone.
Best for: Non-profits or ecommerce stores that partner only with one non-profit
- Support for multiple charities
- Ability to add a drop-down for default donation amounts
- Analytics into donations
If you only want to collect donations for one or two non-profits, this could be the right fit for you. You can even create donation-specific landing pages to collect donations without even selling products.
Easy Donation works on your Shopify store’s checkout page, causing complexity on the most important page of your website. Unless your customers are expecting donations on your checkout page because of the nature of your store, this extra bit of complexity could harm your conversion rates.
Most ecommerce stores are better off choosing a donation platform that only goes into effect post-checkout when a qualifying order is placed.
What’s more Easy Donation requires that your company deposit the money at the correct charity, creating more manual work for your team.
Key takeaways: boost your AOV while giving back
Ecommerce just keeps booming, and companies need ways to stand out. Brands that are early adopters of cause marketing will be viewed as more authentic than the brands that drag their feet.
Here are some important features to look for when choosing a donation app:
- It should go into effect after checkout to not interrupt your checkout process
- You should be able to feature charities that align with your products or with the holiday
- Customers should also be able to select from various donation options, and preferably choose any 501c3 charity so they can direct the money where they want it to go most
- You should be able to collect analytics on the uptake of your donation offers, as well as the top categories of charities that your customers want to support so you can understand more about your customers’ core values
- The app should make the donations to charities on your behalf, providing you with all of the tax documentation you need