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How Nonprofits Can Harness eCommerce and Tech to Drive Change

November 27, 2023

Mikel Lindsaar, CEO of StoreConnect, values the nonprofit sector for its vital role in serving communities, addressing societal needs, and championing causes.

Just like for-profit eCommerce businesses, nonprofits require essential tools like CRM, CMS, POS, real-time inventory, and more.

With limited resources, nonprofits need a unified platform to run efficiently and retain donors.

More nonprofits are appreciating the benefits of using eCommerce sites for online donations. Rather than mailing in a cheque, donors can use multiple online payment methods, track their contributions, and receive automated receipts. Nonprofits can also generate funds via eCommerce by creating an online store for through merchandise or event sales.

With 1.8 million charitable organizations across the U.S., competition in the nonprofit sector is deeply felt between public charities, private foundations, fraternal organizations, civic leagues, and small nonprofits.1

“Fueled by the imperative to create a positive influence in the world, the entanglements of overseeing numerous plug-ins within the eCommerce sector, what I call ‘Plug-in Purgatory’, can impede the altruistic endeavours of many nonprofits”, says Mikel Lindsaar.

“Charitable organizations require innovative solutions that enable them to fully realize their noble ambitions, free from the time and labour expense restraints associated with plug-ins.”

Profit and not-for-profit organizations frequently use plug-ins to enhance the utility, serviceability, and custom features of an existing website’s content management system.

However, managing an excessive number of plug-ins can hinder a website’s functionality and performance, leading to loading and compatibility issues that can result in processing bottlenecks and increased security risks. One study discovered that incorporating only six customer-facing apps (plug-ins) can extend load times by five seconds; the average number of plug-ins is 25.

If a web page takes more than six seconds to load, a charitable organization could lose half of its potential donors.2

Nonprofits face unique challenges grappling with multiple plug-ins:

  • Resource Limitations: Nonprofits frequently operate with limited staff and constrained budgets, making plug-in management expenses a liability they can’t easily afford.

  • Complexity Complications: The intricacies of handling multiple plug-ins can be overwhelming and pull limited staff away from their core responsibilities that actually contribute to the cause.

  • Jeopardizing the Mission: For nonprofit organizations counting on every donor and dollar, diverting money away from those in need toward troubleshooting inefficient processes can have undesirable consequences for the overall mission. Altruism is alive and well; however, reaching out to new donors and managing existing ones is filled with challenges, such as insufficient resources, changes in regulation, the complexities of tracking donations, and fractured omnichannel engagement. Prospective donors usually require 7 to 12 “touches” before becoming donors, such as websites, emails, newsletters, direct mail, videos, and social media.[^3]

Assessing the efficiency, efficacy, and scope of these approaches requires using a platform that integrates multiple channels and provides a detailed evaluation of their tangible results in the fundraising effort.

To retain and acquire new donors, nonprofits need a customized Customer Commerce strategy that builds strong donor relationships with a cost-effective solution that covers CRM, CMS, POS, multi-currency support, API integrations, and omnichannel capabilities.


1 “Trainings in Nonprofit Fundraising, Proposal Writing, Grants.” Candid Learning.

2 “StoreConnect Leads the Way in Resolving ‘Plug-in Purgatory’ for SMBS at Dreamforce 2023.” Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo!

3 Lakshmi Narayanan Lakshmi is a marketer and writer for the CallHub blog. She uses targeted content to help campaign managers in advocacy groups, et al. “Unable to Raise Funds? These Fundraising Challenges Are Holding You Back.” CallHub, 7 Mar. 2023.