If you’ve got your nose to the ground in the online animal rescue world, you’ll probably have heard the cries of outrage over the shutting down of ChipIn, the popular free fundraising tool that has allowed animal rescuers – both individuals and organizations – to raise money for the care and love of animals. Over a year ago, Chipin stopped offering support for its much-loved widget, so maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that they were bought out and shut down. Still, it’s sad, especially without any clear alternatives to turn to.
Thankfully, when I put a call out to Twitter, I came across a few good sites that might just be what we’re looking for. So without further ado, here are five free alternatives to ChipIn for animal rescue.
Five Alternatives to ChipIn
PayPal Labs Widget
What: Paypal’s nifty donation widget created by their in-beta PayPal Labs.
Pros: Customizable to adapt to your brand, extremely easy to set-up, links right to your Paypal account so no extra fees from a third party.
Cons: If you set up payment options in the dropdown, donors can’t change the amount on the next screen. If you don’t set up payment options, the dropdown is empty and useless.
My Thoughts: I’m currently using it over on Snailbird for my own fundraiser, and it’s pretty nice. I liked that it was super easy to set-up and I was able to make it look nice.
Where: PayPal Labs
What: Free online fundraising tool open to all projects.
Pros: Looks easy to customize, no website fees, super easy to set up, easy to share on social media, uses PayPal or WePay.
Cons: So far I haven’t run across anything. Let me know if you do so I can update this! I haven’t used the widget so I’m not sure if there are any bugs with it.
My Thoughts: YouCaring seems to be the answer to the ChipIn issue. And they’ve recognized it – I found out about them straight from their twitter source when I asked. I’m guessing they’re going to become pretty popular.
Original Fundraising Widget
What: Exactly what it is.
Pros: Seems pretty straight forward, looks like they have some customizing options, no fees.
Cons: The design is somewhat lacking and I’m not sure HOW customizable some of the options are. I’m not a fan of the overall design of the widgets either.
My Thoughts: Looks like it could work, though like I said before, I’m put off by the designs. They may be more customizable than they look though and if you’re not a picky designer like me, it will probably work for you.
Where: Online Fundraising Widget
What: A popular fundraising website for personal and nonprofits.
Pros: It’s pretty popular, straight-forward, easy to customize and integrate into your WordPress site (the site actually has a WP plugin for download), keeps track of your stats and metrics, allows you to run your campaign straight form your own site with the plugin, hooks up with PayPal and WePay.
Cons: HEFTY fees – 5% from every payment goes straight to them. That’s on top of the PayPal and WePay fees already. This is really the only con, but it’s big enough to stop me from using it.
My Thoughts: That 5% fee is probably one of the biggest I’ve seen in online fundraising – but they’ve got so many users that it doesn’t surprise me. Still, I’d think twice before using this site, even if their metrics ARE an amazing asset to any campaign.
What: A nifty WordPress plugin.
Pros: Integrates right into your WordPress, easy to customize, links straight to PayPal, no fees, nice simple design, easy to use.
Cons: Not sure of any – it doesn’t have an exterior page unless you make one yourself. And since it’s a WordPress plugin, you’d have to update it yourself & make sure it’s compatible with your version of WP. And it’s only for WordPress.
My Thoughts: I like this. Since I’m an avid WordPress user, this one could be pretty nifty and I’ll probably use it in the future.
Where: WordPress Plugins
Mashable also has a great roundup of fundraising tools for official nonprofit organizations so be sure to check that out as well.
I’m sure there are more alternatives out there for animal rescue folks, but these are just a few I’ve run across in the last few days. I would love to hear if you have experience with any of these and any others you’d like to share! I hope this helps as we scramble to find a replacement for ChipIn. Good luck!