7 Must-Have Donation Kiosk Features for Fundraising Success

In the age of digital fundraising, it’s more important than ever for organizations and churches to pursue innovative (and convenient!) ways to accept donations and tithes. A donation kiosk is one of these tech-savvy solutions that can accept credit card gifts at events and on-site.

Used in a variety of circumstances from fundraising events to checkout charities for nonprofits to digital tithing plates for churches, donation kiosks are portable ways to collect gifts from supporters or congregants that don’t carry cash. 

The challenge, however, is picking the right kiosk that emphasizes the advantages of a portable giving device and that fits well with the day-to-day activities of your nonprofit or church.

If you want to add donation kiosks to your giving arsenal, look for features such as:

  1. Customization
  2. Versatility
  3. Security
  4. Mobility
  5. Ease of Use
  6. Interactivity
  7. Data Tracking

We’ll explain how each of these features is fundamental to your fundraising success, so keep reading to learn how to find the kiosk that fits your needs.

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1. Customization - Brand Your Donation Kiosk!

Nonprofits and churches should always look for a donation kiosk that can be branded. With several different kiosks available, it may surprise you to learn that many have limited customization.

At the very least, you should choose a kiosk that lets you:

  • Change the color to match your brand.
  • Add your church or nonprofit’s logo.
  • Include additional marketing materials like a sign.

On the surface, branding helps to draw attention to your giving device, but it achieves much more than that.

A donation kiosk that immediately connects congregants and donors to your cause can help elicit the positive feelings that are so integral to creating a good giving experience. 

For nonprofits, when you think of your donation kiosk as a portable donation form, you’ll see why customization is so essential.

Branding helps to establish trust so that donors know what organization is receiving their funds. Place an unbranded giving kiosk at one of your events, and you’ll see that donors are more hesitant about contributing.

Kiosks, after all, can be used in a wide range of situations, making it even more important to let donors know that it’s your nonprofit.

Branding can also help donors differentiate the process from other credit card transactions (which we’ll talk more about later). When donors see your logo or slogan on a device, they can give confidently, knowing that their money is going toward a good cause.

The same can be said for churches; if you place a branded giving kiosk in the lobby, congregants will know that the money they give is supporting the church.

No matter where your kiosk is placed, donors and congregants should know exactly who is receiving their gifts.

What’s the bottom line? Having a customizable kiosk is about more than just making your kiosk look good; it’s about building a brand that supporters will recognize and trust no matter where your kiosk is placed.

2. Versatility - Adapt Your Donation Kiosk for Fundraising Events

Since donation kiosks can be used in many different situations, it’s important to find a device that is versatile enough to work no matter how it’s used.

When looking for a versatile kiosk, choose a device that:

  • Accepts all types of credit cards. We’ve all experienced the frustration of not knowing whether to swipe or insert a card if it has the chip. Not only should the device accept all card types, but the process to use a card should be the same to keep the donating simple.
  • Can be used in multiple situations (i.e. events, day-to-day operations, etc.). Choosing a portable device will make it easier to transport. To move the device from one situation to the next, you should choose a device that doesn’t require a lot of set up. A kiosk that can be plugged in and ready to use means you can accept donations right away.
  • Can easily change donation amounts. As you start to use your giving kiosk, you may realize that the ideal gift amount will change depending on the time or location of your kiosk. Choosing a device that allows you to change the donation amount remotely and without hassle, means you can optimize your giving amount for any circumstance.

With a versatile device, your organization can also raise money for your event. Whether you're collecting event donations from individual supporters, corporations, or restaurants, donation kiosks can be effective ways to raise money.

Not convinced? Check out DipJar's 3 Foolproof Ways to Get More Donations for Charity Events to learn how you raise money for your next fundraiser. 

Having a device that can be used for multiple situations means you can accept more credit card donations or tithes and capitalize on your investment.

What’s the bottom line? Make the most of your kiosk by choosing a device that can be used during fundraising events, after sermons, and on-site. The more versatile your device, the more opportunities you have to raise funds for your cause.

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3. Security - Keep Your Donors Information Safe

As with most online and mobile donation methods, donors are concerned about payment security. Donors may be concerned about giving via kiosk because the process may be unfamiliar to them.

Security shouldn’t be a concern for you or your donors—instead, choose a kiosk that uses multiple methods to ensure you and your donors’ information stays secure.

First, you should look for a kiosk provider that is PCI-compliant, which means that the provider adheres to strict standards to ensure that information is protected and safe.

PCI-compliance dictates how sensitive information is stored and secures information in one of the following ways: 

  • Through encryption, which is a process that transforms information into a mathematical code called chiphertext. An algorithm and encryption key are used to decipher the code.
  • Via tokenization, a similar process to encryption, except that it creates a random code or token that can be used as a substitute for the real information.

Having secure donation kiosks will put your donors at ease and protect your nonprofit from fraudulent transactions.

When donors know that their information is safe, they’ll be less hesitant about contributing to your cause.

What’s the bottom line? Security is a top priority when choosing a donation kiosk. Ask providers how they keep sensitive information protected and don’t settle for a provider that isn’t PCI-compliant.

4. Mobility - Find a Donation Kiosk That's Portable

As we mentioned earlier, having a kiosk that’s easy to transport will make it easy to bring to events and other on-the-go situations.

Imagine that you want to take your donation kiosk to a fundraising event like a charity auction. Lugging around a large device is both impractical and restrictive, meaning you’ll have fewer locations to place your kiosk.

Moreover, small giving kiosks like palm-size credit card readers don’t equate to better fundraising as tiny devices will be harder to spot at events.

The best option is to go for a portable device that’s still large enough to attract attention.

Look at the donation kiosk that Second Harvest used during one of their events:

They used a DipJar because it’s small enough to fit on a table, leaving plenty of room for their other marketing materials. The device is also tall, making it easy to see.

In addition to the device’s size, you’ll need to consider how it’s powered. If your device is dependent on plug or charger, this will limit where you can place your device.

A kiosk that offers multiple options (i.e. can be plugged in and operated with battery power) ensures that you have the best of both worlds.

What’s the bottom line? A portable kiosk opens the possibilities of where you can accept credit card donations, so opt for a device that’s easy to transport.

5. Ease of Use - The Donation Process Should Be Simple

Simple is always better when it comes to donating and tithing, and it’s no different with donation kiosks.

Why is ease of use so important?

Think about it this way: donors don’t want to give when it involves a lengthy or complicated process. When giving is quick and easy, donors have fewer obstacles stopping them from giving.

Additionally, ease of use gives your nonprofit or church more options. Churches are likely going to place their kiosks in the lobby or somewhere else that’s easily accessible.

A kiosk that’s easy to use means you don’t need a staff member or volunteer around to walk congregants through the process.

To determine if a device is simple, look for a process that:

  • Is a limited number of steps.
  • Is the same for every card type or transaction.
  • Has a self-explanatory process that’s easy to understand.
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In the following image, you can see that the process to use DipJar only takes 3 steps. The instructions let donors know that the process is quick and effortless.

Ease of use should apply to more than just the donation process; it should also apply to how the device operates.

In other words: does it take long to set up and adjust?

If the device is complicated for you to manage, then you should consider choosing a different option.

What’s the bottom line? Make sure that the donation kiosk you choose is easy to use for both you and your donors.

6. Interactivity - Make The Donation Kiosk Experience Fun!

Rather than having a giving experience that’s like every other credit card transaction, why not create a unique process that reminds donors that they’re giving to a great cause?

Choose a credit card donation kiosk that adds a unique element to the process.

In the example above, donors are using DipJar to make donations. When donors “dip” their credit card into the device, they have to wait for a pleasant sound which signals to them that the transaction is complete and they can take out their cards.

Not only is this a way to show donors that they’re giving, but it also requires them to interact with the device. The more engaged donors are throughout the process, the more of a memorable impression you’ll make.

In contrast, churches need a giving method that equals the same sense of ritual and joy that congregants get when passing the tithing plate around.

The act of tithing is a very tactical experience, and if you want congregants to embrace your donation kiosk, the experience should be similar.

Because donors have to “dip” their cards into the kiosk, it mimics the act of placing money into a jar or plate, recreating the tithing ritual in digital form.

What’s the bottom line? The act of giving should be an experience that engages the supporter and makes the process enjoyable.

7. Data Tracking - Choose a Donation Kiosk That Tracks Specific Metrics

You won’t know what strategies work unless you have data to help you. Using a kiosk that tracks specific metrics is extraordinarily useful when you need to determine the perfect donation amount, location, and overall fundraising strategy for your kiosk.

Your kiosk should be able to track:

  • The donation size. By calculating the average gift size, you can determine the best donation amount that donors are comfortable giving but also maximizing your fundraising efforts.
  • The date and time a gift was made. Knowing when donations were made will give you insight into your donors' giving habits.
  • The location of the kiosk used. If you’re using more than one kiosk, tracking the location will help you determine the best placement for your device.

By tracking these metrics, you’ll be able to understand the gift size that donors and congregants are most comfortable giving as well as information on what type of events or on-site locations work best.

Additionally, you should look into a giving kiosk with data tracking that can be integrated with your other fundraising software. That way, you have a comprehensive look at your fundraising and your donors. 

Plus, if your giving kiosk captures donor information, you'll want a simple process for incorporating the new information with your existing donor data. 

It's likely that at fundraising events you're going to use multiple giving methods—giving kiosks, text-to-give, etc. In order to know which method performed the best, you'll need to a way to compare the data. 

When your CRM connects with your giving kiosk, that information can easily be transferred and stored in the right location so that it's easy to access. 

Find a giving kiosk that includes an integrated dashboard where you can see each device’s performance.

What’s the bottom line? Tracking your progress gives you the opportunity to see what fundraising strategies work. Pick a device that tracks the most important information so that you have the tools to improve your fundraising.

As you explore the different possibilities of donations kiosks, look out for devices that are easy to use and can be adjusted to fit different fundraising situations.

Setting up your organization or church for success starts with choosing the right tools. Hopefully, this list of 7 features has helped you determine what’s important for your organization.

Additional resources: 

  1. 3 New Fundraising Trends. Fundraising is constantly changing, and nonprofits have to implement tech-savvy donation methods to reach donors. Learn 3 trends that have changed the face of fundraising.
  2. In-Person Fundraising. Even with kiosk and online donation forms, the charm and power of face-to-face fundraising isn’t dying. Learn how you can capitalize on this effective strategy.
  3. The Recognition Effect. When people see donors using your kiosk, they'll be curious about your device. Learn how the recognition effect can help drive donations at your next event.