How to Make Donating Easy For Your Nonprofit Donors
If you work for a U.S. charity, you might have noticed a positive change in affairs. Yep, donations have gone up in recent years. According to Giving USA’s most current report on philanthropy, annual charitable donations reached a new high of $390 billion in 2016, with individual giving increasing 4 percent across the board. That’s good news for everyone.
Charities and nonprofits all have different methods of encouraging donations—things like marketing campaigns, hosting events or having a strong social media presence. However, have you ever considered that using particular payment tools can play a huge role in furthering donations, as well? In fact, without a strong payment process in place, you could be cheating yourself out of receiving the donations you need.
Let’s delve into three ways leveraging payment tools can make it easier for your donors to give:
Recurring Payment Forms
If you work for a small nonprofit, it can feel great to receive a one-time, online donation (thanks for the $100, Stephanie G.). However, what if you could encourage donors to give periodically, too? Well, with recurring payment forms, you can. These enable donors to spread out their giving over time, making it easier for them to fit charitable contributions into their monthly budgets.
For nonprofits, recurring payments can help even out waves of cash flow, gain valuable data on their donors for marketing purposes, plan better for the long-term—and most impressively, significantly increase donations. In fact, one study showed that while one-time givers donated an average of $97, recurring folks gave $220. The difference is huge, and in short: Recurring forms are a payment tool nonprofits can’t afford to pass by.
Implementing recurring payments is pretty easy. If you use WordPress, it can be done with a simple plugin, like Gravity Forms or Donorbox. However, you’ll also have to make sure your payment processor is compatible with the plugin you decide to use. If it’s not, it might be time to switch. After all, it’s better to be with a payment processor that gives you the freedom to choose your tools, rather than be forced into a solution that doesn’t fit with your processes or goals.
Mobile Swipers or Readers at Events
Charity events are always a great way to bring potential donors together and share the great work your nonprofit does. Even more, they’re an opportunity to bring in a considerable wave of donations from individuals or groups that feel moved by your cause.
However, in an age when 50 percent of people carry cash with them only half the time—and carry less than $20 dollars on them when they do—solely accepting paper money at events actually prevents donors from giving on the spot, even if they want to. So, it’s important to offer mobile swipers or readers at events to let people pay by card. Not only will this enable cash foes to give in the first place, but it might actually make them feel inclined to donate more all together—consumers spend 12 to 18 percent extra when paying with credit card.
Some mobile swipers and readers plug into the headphone jack of a mobile device, and others work with bluetooth. But our advice? Just go with the cheapest product, as they’re all pretty generic anyway. Your payment processor will offer a non-wireless, portable and encrypted device for $30 to $70 or may lease one out to you if it’s just for one-time use.
And if the idea of more donations didn’t convince you, there’s plenty of other benefits of leveraging mobile swiper and readers, too. They offer a faster donation collection experience and the opportunity for greater email marketing reach (you need to collect the donor’s contact information to email them the receipt). They also help to avoid any headaches with chargebacks (i.e. when card holders dispute "mystery" expenses that appear on their bills). If they’ve gotten the receipt emailed to them from the card reader, there should be no confusion there.
Special Rates for Nonprofits
While in the eyes of the bank nonprofits are businesses and, therefore, don’t get any discount pricing, some payment processors will give nonprofits a special rate. To determine the best pricing, they’ll look into a nonprofit’s payment history to get an idea of the volume of donations coming in. Typically, however, a generous payment processor will give nonprofits 25 to 50 percent off a normal rate.
But beware: Some payment processors have been known to be disingenuous. One of our clients—a church—was told by another payment processor they were getting a discount, but once we looked over their bills, we found they were actually being charged more than a non-charity client. In this, it’s prudent to shop around to find the most genuine payment processor in order to avoid getting ripped off.
Nonprofits might work for different causes, but they all have the same goal: to bring in donations and help the communities they serve. There are plenty of ways to inspire donors to give, however, be sure not to forget about how powerful payment processing tools can be in pushing this goal forward, as well. In fact, without them, you wouldn’t be able to collect any donations at all.
Drew Sementa is CEO of Tidal Commerce, a merchant solutions company that focuses on helping small and medium-sized businesses grow. Drew has years of industry experience in the merchant services and financial technology industries, and started his business in his own basement back in 2003. Since then, he’s grown Tidal Commerce into a leading merchant provider.