Choosing the Right Online Payment Tool
There are lots of tools available to enable nonprofit organizations to accept donations, sell merchandise, collect membership dues and register people for events online, but which ones are best and why?
To answer that question, Idealware — an organization that offers product comparisons, recommendations, case studies and software news to help nonprofits make software decisions — asked a number of experts from companies like Compumentor, ONE/Northwest and Community IT Innovators for their recommendations, which it published in the whitepaper “A Few Good Online Payment Multitaskers.”
The experts report that organizations that want software that supports several typical kinds of payments without a lot of complicated setup choose one of the following hosted online payment services (meaning the payment forms are reached through the vendor’s server).
* Paypal Standard (www.paypal.com). Inexpensive and relatively flexible. Requires someone with HTML skills to set up. Offers support for donations, recurring payments and a shopping cart. Can’t integrate seamlessly with an organization’s Web site, (i.e., visitors will know that they’re leaving a site to go to PayPal). One of the least expensive ways to take payments online, with a single charge of about 3 percent per transaction.
* Click & Pledge (www.clickandpledge.com). A budget-friendly option for organizations that want to integrate payment forms into their Web site, but don’t expect to process a lot of payments. Transaction fee of 4.75 percent of each payment. Color and graphics customization. Built on a shopping-cart model, which the experts say “can feel a bit odd for donations.”
* Auctionpay (www.auctionpay.com). A middle-of-the-road donation, registration and event solution. Reasonably priced at $30 a month with a 3.5 percent per-payment transaction fee. Donation form can be integrated into the look and feel of a Web site and is customizable.
* Gifttool (www.gifttool.com). A high-end option that offers support for donations, a shopping cart, event registration and pledge-a-thons. Can be integrated into the look and feel of a Web site. Charges a flat $1.23 per transaction rather than a percentage of the payment, making it a good option for organizations accepting large payments.
* MemberClicks (www.memberclicks.com). An integrated database, payments, membership and e-mail solution that allows organizations to create and update their payment forms. Requires organizations set up their own merchant accounts— a bank account that can receive online payments, which has its own fees. Setting up an account gives organizations more flexibility and allows them to receive money more quickly. MemberClicks charges 1 percent of the payment, plus 40 cents per transaction, with a $25 monthly minimum fee.
* CharityWeb (www.charityweb.net). Offers custom-built payment solutions to meet an organization’s particular needs, whether it be for donation, membership registration, events, products, etc. High setup fees and requires a merchant account. According to the experts, “CharityWeb is not for organizations that are just getting started with online payments, but it could be a great choice for those ready to invest in a custom solution.”
To read the complete whitepaper, www.idealware.org/printable.php?page=/articles/fgt_payment_processing.php.