Improve the Donor Journey with the Right Payment Processor

Peggah Azarvash

August 19, 2022

About the Author

Peggah Azarvash

Peggah is a passionate iATS Payments’ Sales Executive with 10 years of experience, providing payment solution support and guidance to nonprofits.

When many nonprofit professionals chart out the donor journey, their main focus is likely the beginning of the process. After all, this is when they’re doing the most legwork to engage new donors and bring in prospects through their website. 

Of course, there’s no doubt that this is a critical leg in the acquisition and giving process. But where some nonprofits fail to keep up their engagement efforts is a little later in the donor journey: the donation process.

It’s not surprising to learn that donors’ experiences with your payment processor can have a big impact on whether or not they end up submitting a gift. In particular, a frustrating or confusing payment experience can lead to donation form abandonment and thwart your fundraising efforts.

This is why nonprofits should promote a convenient, effective, and secure nonprofit payment process and post-payment experience. So, to help you strengthen your payment processing system and secure more donations, we’ll dive into how the right payment processor can help your nonprofit:

Ready to optimize the donor journey and maximize your fundraising strategies? Let’s dive in.

Preserve the design of the donation experience

From the moment donors click on your “donate!” button to access your donation form to the second that they hit “submit” for their online gifts, they should have a smooth experience where every page and form is branded and designed consistently. After all, if a donor lands on your donation form or is directed to your payment processing tool only to be met with an unfamiliar design, they might think that they’ve been led to a fraudulent webpage. 

At best, inconsistent branding and design will reflect poorly on your nonprofit. At worst, it can contribute to form abandonment and make you miss out on future donors and donations. 

This is where an integrated payment processor can be an especially valuable tool for your nonprofit. With an integrated processor, you can embed your payment tool directly into your website’s donation page. This has the benefit of allowing you to maintain the style and design of your donation page by eliminating re-directs to third-party websites your donors may not trust. 

Additionally, by cutting out these unnecessary third-party re-directs, an embedded payment processor can speed up online giving, making it as quick and easy as possible for donors.

Support a variety of payment methods

Picture this: a potential donor has landed on your website, navigated through your mission and service pages, and been inspired enough by what you do that they feel compelled to leave a gift. Everything is falling into place. 

And yet, when they finally click onto your donation page and make their way to the payment details section, they’re surprised to find that you don’t accept their preferred payment method. They fiddle with their wallet and the donation form for a few minutes but ultimately close out the window, telling themself they’ll donate later—before promptly forgetting about your nonprofit.

To avoid this and maximize the number of donations flowing into your nonprofit’s accounts, be sure that your payment processor accepts online donations through major payment methods, including: 

  • Credit and debit card processing
  • ACH processing
  • International processing 

While this might seem like a small detail in the grand scheme of your nonprofit’s operations, offering a variety of convenient and accessible payment methods can be a tipping point that significantly impacts your overall fundraising strategies

Safeguard personal and financial data

While your donation page and form are the front-facing tools that donors will see and directly interact with, your payment processor is responsible for the real heavy lifting in terms of efficiently collecting, protecting, and processing sensitive payment data. 

With a secure and well-protected payment processor, you can support a safe online giving experience, reinforce donors’ trust in your organization and thereby improve donor retention.

On the other hand, a donation processor that lacks sufficient security can make your nonprofit a sitting duck for hackers, fraudsters, and other malicious data thieves who could very well launch an attack on your weak payment security system. The threat of a data leak is a major red flag for donors that many might not be willing to risk.

To combat this and create a strong line of defense for your donors’ data, invest in a payment processor with dedicated anti-fraud tools. In particular, the iATS Payments guide to online fraud protection recommends keeping an eye out for a PCI-compliant payment processor. PCI compliance is “a set of security standards that all reputable payment processors must meet” established by the Payment Card Industry to “ensure that payments are secure, and that cardholder data is protected.” 

These measures will help guarantee that your payment processor can detect, prevent, and protect against threats of fraud that your donors might face on their journeys. 

Strengthen post-gift communications

Once you’ve gotten a new donor to submit their first gift, you might be tempted to celebrate. However, keep in mind that you’ve only won half of the battle. To generate long-lasting value for your nonprofit, you’ll need to tackle the tough task of turning a one-time donor into a recurring donor. 

In fact, according to 360MatchPro’s fundraising statistics, only about 20% of first-time donors make a second gift to the same charitable organization. Fortunately, this is where the right payment processor can help your team to improve this section of the donor journey. 

Specifically, an integrated payment processing tool can strengthen post-gift outreach by integrating directly with your CRM or donor database. This means that critical donor data and payment details will automatically be organized in your CRM, allowing you to improve and personalize future fundraising appeals, thank you messages, and outreach. 


As a behind-the-scenes tool in the online giving process, your payment processor can be an easy detail to forget. However, a strong payment processing solution can not only have a surprising impact on the donor journey but also on your larger fundraising and stewardship strategies. 

With these insights, your fundraising team will be able to take charge of the fundraising process and retain, inspire, and engage your digital donors with a fully-optimized donation process.