The Hard Stuff About Building Donation Checkouts

The hard stuff nobody talks about when building donation checkouts with the likes of Stripe

At Everfund, we always hear developers say “Oh, donations are easy right? they’re just payments that get sent to a nonprofit. I can build that in a day!”. Unfortunately, this type of developer is going to find out there’s a lot more to it or they’ll end build something completely inadequate for modern nonprofit needs. A payment is only one part of a donation to consider and over this a series of blog posts we’ll explain some of the hard stuff nobody talks about when building donation checkouts.

When building donations from scratch, developers usually start with a payment platform like Stripe, but find it to be a frustratingly hard when they realise what a donation actually is and what modern nonprofits demand from their checkouts. From building the required components for the checkout’s UI, managing security concerns, to handling international payments, developers face numerous challenges. In this blog post, we will explore some of the difficulties developers face when working with Stripe, like building servers and databases, handling security concerns, the burden of maintaining, and understanding the intricacies of nonprofit fundraising.

For starters, check out our post on Why a donation is much more than just a simple payment if you want a higher level understanding of the scope of modern donations. Here are the main concerns we will be covering:

- Complexity and learning curve of Stripe

- Building and maintaining a database

- Security concerns and liability for developers

- Understanding nonprofit fundraising concepts

- Creating UI and components

- International payments and compliance challenges

Complexity and Learning Curve of Stripe

Integrating Stripe into a website for donation processing requires significant time, effort, and often experience. Developers must navigate Stripe's API, understand the intricacies of payment processing, and implement secure payment flows.

This process often involves complex development and extensive testing to ensure a seamless user experience and that real world transactions are 100% robust. Moreover, staying up-to-date with Stripe's documentation and any changes to their API requires ongoing effort, making it a time-consuming task for developers.

Building and Maintaining a Database

Developers who build custom donation systems with Stripe also need to consider data management. They must design and implement a robust database structure to store donor information securely. This includes managing sensitive data, adhering to data protection regulations, and implementing backup and recovery procedures. Maintaining a database can be a significant ongoing task, requiring constant monitoring and updates to ensure data integrity and security.

Security Concerns and Liability for Developers

Handling financial transactions and sensitive donor information raises significant security concerns for developers building custom donation systems. Developers must ensure secure connections, implement encryption, and protect against potential vulnerabilities. In addition, they may face liability if any security breaches occur, potentially damaging their reputation and putting the nonprofit and its donors at risk. The responsibility of maintaining and securing donor data adds an extra layer of complexity and liability for developers.

Understanding Nonprofit Fundraising concepts

Developers need to have a deep understanding of nonprofit fundraising concepts and how campaigns work, and how they operate from day to day. This includes knowledge of recurring donations, donor management, and campaign tracking. Developers need to anticipate and build functionalities to accommodate the diverse needs of nonprofits. Gaining expertise in this domain can be time-consuming and may divert developers' focus from their core development responsibilities. Some of these core concepts to consider are:

- Donor management

- Fundraising campaigns

- Tax relief

- Donor marketing

- Donor behavior

Creating UI and Components

Designing a user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing donation checkout experience requires skill and creativity. Developers must build UI components that align with the nonprofit's branding and provide a seamless donation flow. This involves designing responsive layouts, implementing form validations, and ensuring a cohesive user experience across devices and platforms. Building and fine-tuning these components can be time-consuming, taking developers away from other crucial development tasks.

International Payments and Compliance Challenges

Nonprofits often receive donations from supporters around the world. Handling international payments introduces additional complexities for developers building a custom donation system. They must account for currency conversions, tax regulations, and compliance with various international payment methods. Ensuring seamless and compliant international payment processing can be a daunting task, requiring ongoing maintenance and updates.

Ready to integrate donation today? Try Everfund.

Building donation checkouts involves far more than simply processing payments for nonprofits. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be expanding on each of the challenges across a series of posts. We’ll show more on these challenges that developers face when building donation checkouts and show you how much is often overlooked resulting in poor outcomes for nonprofits.

If you feel you can understand the intricacies involved and have the experience to take this challenge on, you can create robust and effective custom donation systems that meet the needs of modern nonprofits, inspire donor confidence, and facilitate their mission of making a positive impact in the world. If these concepts seem too much for your plate or simply don’t have the time, you might want to check out what Everfund is doing to enable developers to empower nonprofits with out SDK and dev tools.

At Everfund, our donation checkouts come with everything out of the box to handle every concern in this post with the on going maintenance done for you. Our tools help developers like you integrate the best and most sophisticated donation checkouts faster, leaving you more time, less complexity in your projects, and giving you the chance to focus on more crucial aspects of the website’s development.

With Everfund, you can start for free today and integrate donations within minutes on any website. Book a call with the founders or contact us at for a demo.