Nonprofits have to be able to accept donations if they want to continue providing their services to people in need. While many donations will come in the form of a check, nonprofits need to offer other payment solutions. Offering credit card processing to your donors is a way to make giving easier and promote more donations.

Decide if you want to get a merchant account or go with an all-in-one solution
According to Card Payment Options, a coalition of merchants and credit card industry professionals, there are really two options when it comes to credit card processing for nonprofits: a traditional merchant account and a all-in-one processing solution. Both methods have their pros and cons, and each nonprofit will have to decide what is right for its specific needs.

With a merchant account, the nonprofit opens an account through a provider that allows them to accept payments. This provider, in exchange for the processing of the donations, charges fees associated with the account. In most cases a nonprofit still needs to utilize a software solution that manages the payments for its own purposes and for taxes. This option is usually cheaper but requires more effort.

An all-in-one credit card solution provides payment processing, promotion, billing, tax filing and other features depending on the provider. Everything is included in one easy-to-use system. While this may seem like the better option, it can be rather expensive.

No matter what solutions appeals to a nonprofit, plenty of research still needs to be done to ensure the best possible deal is found.

You need to shop around before going with any payment provider
According to the NonProfit Times, there are plenty of companies that will process your payments, but nonprofits need to look for a solutions that will do so for a low cost.

"You can go to 500 different places and someone will open a merchant account for you," Jim Barney, vice president of sales and marketing at Click and Pledge, told the NonProfit Times. "It's easy to find the lowest price, just shop around. The key to getting value is, what do you get with it."

Nim Patel, CEO of Mobile Accord, told the NonProfit Times that in addition to charging different fees and costs to run the transactions, different card processing companies also have core competencies and features that vary from the competition. According to the NonProfit Times, nonprofits, especially large ones, should look for a card processor that caters specifically to groups like theirs.

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