It’s a common feature – the ubiquitous “donate now” equivalent of a “buy it now” button from PayPal you see on charity websites around the world. Charities are faced with choosing one out of the dozens of ways to accomplish this seemingly simple task. To make that choice simpler, there are a few things to consider that may narrow down your selection a little:

1. Whether or not you will allow custom amounts. Some users may be more inclined to buy on impulse through seeing a fixed amount, whereas other users may want the option of giving a specific amount and may donate more if they have the option to give their own dollar amount.

2. What kind of donation form do you want?There are different types of custom donation forms, ranging from just a text box and a button to more complex online shopping carts for charity.

3. Who will provide your payment gateway? Sometimes, payment and merchant account providers will offer easy ways to do this with their own system. You’ll also want to know what your payment gateway will be to narrow down the list of compatible methods and donation forms.

4. Make sure your payment gateway provider will also allow charitable donations, and find out their policies on donation funds. Some payment gateways and online shopping cart providers have fairly strict rules on how their donations are handled, and may suspend or hold funds unless these conditions are met. Always read the terms of use, as tedious as it can be.

5. Finally, secure your site. Cybercrime is no small business these days, and it’s always best to make sure your website is at least modestly secure. If you’re handling transactions directly through the website, many gateway providers may require an SSL (secure socket license) certificate . This digital certificate certifies your site as authentic, and allows you to encrypt transaction data. This also gives you the “S” in “https://” .