The 5 Most Frustrating Donation Challenges for HubSpot Users

Nonprofits face several unique challenges compared to traditional companies. Fundraising, compared to direct to consumer or business to business marketing, is far more nuanced and requires the right combination of strategy and tools to hit recurring donation goals. 


That’s why HubSpot has become a favored platform for many nonprofits. Offering the right mixture of CRM, marketing resources, and service management, all highly customizable to the needs of individual organizations, HubSpot can be molded to match specific needs effectively. But one of the areas where it often comes up short is in donation management. Complicated third-party integrations for donation processing make it difficult to measure and track the effectiveness of individual fundraising campaigns, and even more so to track people after they commit to a donation. 


Let’s take a closer look at five of the most frustrating donation challenges faced by HubSpot users and how to address them. 


No Clear Link Between Donation and Activity Data


HubSpot + Stripe can only be used to accept payments for quotes/invoices and doesn’t work with forms, nor can you integrate a payment form on a public page. Some third-party tools make it possible to accept payments through your forms, but they don’t offer one of the core benefits associated with HubSpot - traceability. There is no clear link between individual donations and user activity levels. 


This is data that every nonprofit could use. What pages did someone view before and after they made a donation? What did they click on? Do they have a prior history in your CRM? How much time have they spent on your website to date? Did they receive your email campaigns? If so, how many and which did they finally engage with? 

Imagine being able to see every step of the donation workflow in this view - from links clicked to payments processed


From a fundraising perspective, this information is vital - it helps inform where you invest in the future and which campaigns were most effective. 


If you’re able to use the HubSpot CRM for donation tracking, this data would be visible on the Contact Timeline, with payment information filtered both by date and individually as a custom property type. 


Jacqueline Lalley from Yodelpop:

Having worked with nonprofits from the inside and as a marketing firm, we are familiar with the many challenges they face with regard to donations. For those who have made the wise decision to commit to inbound, one of the biggest challenges is closing the loop after a person makes a donation, so that they continue to get content that fosters deeper engagement and is helpful at their stage in the journey.

High Processing Costs without the Functionality


In addition to missing functionality, many solutions are exceptionally expensive. Most donation processing services take between 1%-5% as a fee on all transactions. This is in addition to the 2.2% average processing fee for services like Stripe and PayPal. Assuming a 2.5% average processing fee, if an organization takes $25,000/month in donations, they’re paying $625/month in processing fees alone, and that’s without the data they need to improve fundraising efforts. For larger organizations, the number only goes up. 


Ideally, nonprofits are looking for a tool that provides full transparency into donor activities, charges a flat rate per month for all transactions, and can scale effectively to match the needs of the organization. 


Importing/Exporting Data to Keep Everything Up to Date


To get around the lack of syncing between contact activity and donations, many organizations import data into HubSpot. Because transactions include user information at some point and can be linked to an email address if paying via PayPal, it is possible to link transactions to individual users in the system. It technically works, but the process can be arduous and time-consuming. 

Importing data to HubSpot is a time-consuming, potentially error-laden process that won’t close the loop on your fundraising efforts.


Because HubSpot requires an email address to automatically sync to existing contacts, this can lead to duplicate records in the system when emails don’t match (personal vs. work for example), or incomplete records when no email address is available. Exporting this data, cleaning it, and importing it to HubSpot is unnecessarily time consuming and not guaranteed to be accurate. 

Kevin Peters from Next After:

One of the most challenging aspects of broadbase fundraising is creating the feeling of a one-to-one connection with thousands of donors at the same time. The data and capabilities that HubSpot provides makes that somewhat easier but, without a holistic picture of all aspects of a donor's behavior (especially donations) it is hard to be successful.

It Takes too Long to Manage Payments/Refunds


Without built-in HubSpot functionality, it can be time-consuming to manage payments and refunds. Operations teams are often hobbled by a limited number of people having access to the payment gateway dashboard to perform refunds or cancel subscriptions. This requires one or two people to oversee all of these activities, which can lead to bottlenecks in processing donor requests. Ideally, this is built-in to the HubSpot CRM so they can be processed by the fundraising and operations teams directly within the system. 


Similarly, there is no built-in functionality to use existing HubSpot tools like CTAs and workflows to simplify and automation key functions. Imagine being able to bypass a form completely and provide a custom CTA based on the user. They receive an email, click a link and are able to renew their subscription. Frictionless and fully optimized within the HubSpot ecosystem. 


A Lack of Built-In Automation


Existing tools rarely leverage the most advanced feature HubSpot has to offer - the workflow automation tools. In practice, HubSpot should be able to automate almost anything, triggered by user activities, property changes, custom recorded events and much more. Most donation processing systems are siloed off to the point that this is not possible. 


Ideally, you should be able to set up workflows that notify donors when a credit card expires to update their payment information, send internal notifications when someone reaches a certain level of activity, update properties automatically based on payment and viewing activity, and much more. Whatever you can currently do with your workflows should be applicable to your fundraising activities. 


Alyssa Conrardy, President, Prosper Strategies:

Leveraging automation in the online donation process is so important for nonprofits. Effective stewardship is a key tenant of successful nonprofit marketing and fundraising, but no organization has the time to manually communicate with every individual donor in the personalized manner they expect. That's why it's so critical to set up workflows that thank your donors, keep them posted on your progress, engage them in stories of your impact and more, all in a way that's personalized to their website and donation activity.

How to Use HubSpot CRM for Nonprofit Donors

If you are a current HubSpot user struggling with one or more of these issues, DepositFix was designed to help. Built to integrate HubSpot with PayPal and Stripe and accept payments directly through HubSpot forms, DepositFix is quick and easy to set up, provides significant additional data on the activity of your donors, and makes it easy for members of your team to manage refunds and payments from directly within the CRM. Learn more about DepositFix and how it can save time, reduce costs, and improve transparency in donation management for your nonprofit.

Looking for a HubSpot-integrated donation system for your non-profit organization?

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