Using Shopify with your Non-profit, Foundation or Charity

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What is Shopify?

Shopify is a website platform that allows businesses to create an online storefront. It’s an “e-commerce solution” meaning it covers everything from the way your website looks to its ability to take and process payments, to analytics and support. They operate on a monthly fee, with various levels depending on how many business features you’re looking for.

There are lots of ways to host a website, including WordPress and SquareSpace. When you have either a WordPress or SquareSpace site, you can pay for extensions that allow you to sell online. Shopify lets you host a website that has e-commerce built in.

Traditional businesses aren’t the only ones who might need e-commerce functionality. Most non-profits, foundations and charities need a website and the ability to sell merchandise or accept donations online.

Shopify gives special rates to non-profits and charities, making it cheaper to use than many other website hosts. There are no setup fees, and their technology is easy to use without needing any HTML or other coding knowledge. Here are a few things Shopify can do for your non-profit.

A beautiful website with the ability to sell merchandise or accept donations

The first advantage is that Shopify has really easy-to-use software for creating a beautiful website. You can download a theme (Free - $180) and fill in your site with pages describing the work you do, the impact you have, the communities you serve and your current events. Set up any kind of content you want, including all of the normal information and media you would have on your organisation’s website, pop-ups, sidebars, testimonials and stories, and email collections.

Accept donations

You can have pre-set amounts for donations, and donors can select the amount they want to contribute. You’ll set up a donation like you would a product, with room to write an engaging description that talks about your impact.

Otherwise, you can use an app like Pay What You Want ($5 a month) to leave it open-ended for your donors.

Most payment processors, like Stripe, charge their own fees in addition to credit card fees. If you use Shopify Pay, you don’t pay anything except what the credit card charges. You can also set up your website to accept Apple Pay, PayPal and basically any kind of payment gateway you need.

Send invoices for services

Shopify’s admin lets you easily generate branded invoices. Whether you’re offering your non-profit services or are contracting someone else, you can keep track of all of your finances in one place through Shopify.

Offer merchandise and subscription sponsorships

You can increase revenue by offering regularly-occurring subscriptions for monthly or quarterly donation collections. These will make it easy for donors to adjust or pause their subscriptions, without you needing to do anything more than set it up.

Collect event registrations

Shopify has varying levels of monthly fees, and the cheapest ($9/month) gets you use of the Buy Button. It’s essentially a direct link to a specific product, that you can pop onto your existing website or in email newsletters. If you’re hosting a fundraising gala or other event, use the Shopify Buy Button to collect event registrations and sell tickets.

Collect and track money in-person and online

You need to be able to collect donations or sell your services easily when talking in-person. You also need to have a place to direct people online to do the same thing. Shopify lets you keep everything in one place by offering the Point of Sale app. You can swipe credit cards and process any form of payment, including cash and cheques, using just your phone and a free card reader. All of that information will automatically sync with the rest of your financial info through your Shopify admin.

Use Shopify POS with an unlimited number of devices. For example, if your charity includes in-person canvassing or fundraising at a booth, you can have your whole team on their own phone or iPad taking donations at the same time.

Automate tax receipts

Lots of donors request tax receipts to deduct. Free apps on Shopify let you automatically send tax receipts for charitable donations.

Stop paying every year for software upgrades, even when you scale up

Blackbaud, for example, is one of the leading software producers for non-profits. They’re behind donation and CRM software like Raizer’s Edge. Each product can cost thousands of dollars for midsized charities. And every year or so, there are upgrades that they require you to get. And those upgrades are expensive.

A lot of non-profits find themselves in a bind, where either you don’t upgrade your software until you’re behind and nothing else is integrating; or you pay for every upgrade and have to train staff to use it.

Shopify is constantly updating its services behind the scenes, and your monthly fee covers all of these updates with no fuss. You also get 24/7 support for managing and editing your website. Because it’s made to be more and more streamlined and dead-easy to use, you can spend fewer resources on your online maintenance and more time implementing your programmes.

Switching to Shopify means keeping up with the technology the tech and business sectors are using, while keeping the functionality you need as a non-profit.

Analytics that go further than an excel spreadsheet

Shopify Reports, especially when used with online email marketing services like MailChimp, allow you to see indicators such as:

  • What countries your donors are coming from
  • Who your key donors are and what they’re spending
  • How your revenue is changing over time
  • What channels you’re getting revenue from (in-person, through email marketing, from your website, or elsewhere)

You can filter and edit reports to see exactly the analytics you’re looking for.

Share the Love

Take your donation potential even further by getting featured on Shopify apps that let customers on other sites contribute a portion of their sales to your charity. Apps such as Share The Love let other Shopify merchants partner with your charity to include a donation.

Are you a non-profit looking for a better website?

Contact Shopify directly for a quote on their services, or start a two-week free trial.