AWS Public Sector Blog

Five ways nonprofits can reduce the burden associated with fundraising activities

hands outstretched holding euros

Photo by Christian Dubovan on Unsplash

Nonprofits around the world should be able to concentrate on mission-critical activities such as fundraising, instead of focusing on managing their technology infrastructure. Without the burden of worrying about IT, nonprofits can focus on telling their unique stories to drive donations and engagement. Here are five ways that nonprofits can use Amazon Web Services (AWS) to accelerate their fundraising.

One or two clicks to donate with Amazon Pay

Amazon Pay is a service that lets donors use payment methods already associated with their Amazon.com account to make donations on your website and by using Amazon Alexa. Donors can make a one-time payment or set up a recurring payment in just one or two clicks. As a nonprofit, you don’t need to worry about many of the security complexities associated with managing credit card transactions like PCI DSS, while making it easy for donors to engage digitally.

After signing up for an Amazon Pay merchant account, log in to Seller Central to configure a Donate with Amazon button. Once you’ve configured the button, you can copy the HTML and add it to your website. Within Seller Central, you can view a list of all donations made on your site using Amazon Pay, and you can find additional information like the date, the donor’s name and email address, and the donation amount in your transaction reports. You can also contact donors and issue refunds, if needed.

Support demand with Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Auto Scaling allows you to specify a minimum and a maximum number of compute instances that you want available to support your application. You can use dynamic scaling to define how the instance capacity of your auto scaling group grows or shrinks in respond to changing demand.

For example, if you have a donation event occurring, you can use Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling to increase the number of your compute instances proactively or in response to an increase in CPU or traffic on your website and systems. As load decreases, you can automatically scale down your instances. Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling can be configured to work automatically without any involvement from your teams. This approach saves you money, in that you only pay for the resources you’re using, while you focus on activities outside of infrastructure management.

If you have flexibility in when your workload runs, then you can save more money by using spot instances. Spot instances can also be added to supplement On-Demand instances in an Auto Scaling group.

Manage donor outreach with Amazon Pinpoint

Managing regular outreach to donors can be time consuming. Amazon Pinpoint helps you engage with your donors and volunteers across multiple channels. Using Amazon Pinpoint, you can send push notifications, emails, SMS text messages, and voice messages to your donors and volunteers. Advanced users can also use custom channels in Amazon Pinpoint to send messages through any service that has an API, including third-party services.

The AWS Documentation on Amazon Pinpoint provides a Getting Started with Amazon Pinpoint guide and several Amazon Pinpoint Tutorials to help you get started. By using Amazon Pinpoint, you can spend more time concentrating on your messaging and less time managing donor outreach.

Maximize the impact of your donation outreach with Amazon SageMaker Autopilot

Some of our nonprofit customers are using machine learning (ML) techniques to better identify individuals who are more likely to engage and donate to get the best return on outreach efforts. Amazon SageMaker Autopilot is an Amazon SageMaker feature that makes it easy to create regression or classification ML models from tabular data.

Creating a ML model typically requires ML expertise and data cleaning and pre-processing experience. Teams will sometimes use the easiest ML algorithm, rather than the right algorithm. It can also be a struggle to get the right model for the particular problem. Amazon SageMaker Autopilot simplifies this process by making the ML process automatic and transparent.

Using Amazon SageMaker Autopilot, nonprofits can use the power of ML to identify donors more likely to contribute to their cause, while spending less time worrying about technology or infrastructure. AWS published a Jupyter Notebook on GitHub that shows how to use Amazon SageMaker Autopilot.

AWS Nonprofit Competency Partners

Whether you’re working to cure Alzheimer’s or matching veterans and their families to education and employment programs, nonprofits often build coalitions of like-minded organizations and individuals to help further their mission. When working on fundraising efforts or any high-impact technology project, our AWS Nonprofit Competency Partners can help.

These competency partners have demonstrated technical proficiency, dedication to the nonprofit community, and proven customer success in helping organizations achieve fundraising and mission impact. Our partners have expertise in donor management and marketing tools to gain visibility into diverse networks of donors and volunteers; tools for managing and tracking grants and donations; and our consulting partners have expertise helping nonprofits with their custom, specialized technology use cases.


Fundraising activities are critical to continuing and growing mission impact for nonprofits. Learn more about the cloud for nonprofits.