Payment processing is an obstacle for all nonprofits because they have to find a way to get the donations they receive in a format they can use. In the past donors would simply write a check and mail it to the nonprofit, and while this still happens, more and more donors are moving toward different kinds of electronic payment methods to make their donations. Donors are the lifeblood of a nonprofit, and nonprofits need to not only make it easy for donors to donate money on organizations' websites, but they need to make sure they're offering the kind of payment methods that donors would like to pay with.
Here are two of the best ways for nonprofits to process donation payments:
Credit and debit card payments
Major credit and debit card processing should be a nonprofit's first priority. Primarily, this is how people pay for most things. It's simple and easy for the donor, and by offering it an organization is putting itself on par with almost every other one out there. These programs are supposed to make it easier for nonprofits to deal with credit and debit card transactions and give an organization complete control of its payments that are processed.
Unfortunately credit and debt card processing can be rather expensive, even for the programs designed specifically for nonprofit organizations. According to Nerdwallet, most credit card companies charge a 2 to 3 percent fee for processing credit and debit card payments. This can really add up and eat into a nonprofit's total donation amount, especially over time. While organizations still need to offer credit and debit card processing as an option for donors, they should try to encourage people to use other methods.
If an organization doesn't like the fees that come with debit and credit card transactions, then it should consider offering ACH payments. ACH payments are superior to debit and credit card payments because they are typically cheaper to process. ACH payments usually have a flat fee not a percentage like with card transactions. Also, the flat fee is often less expensive than the percentage fee that comes with donations made via credit or debit cards. This can make a big difference for large donations.
These payments are extremely convenient, especially for repeat donors. According to Merchant Maverick, a payment processor comparison website, ACH payments are commonly used for direct deposits from employers to employees or repeat bills. The payments bypass the card networks, thus eliminating the interchange and assessment fees that come with card payments.
ACH payments are great because they can process physical checks through a check scanner, keyed-entry payments through a virtual terminal or website payments through donor account numbers and routing numbers. While some people might be worried about typing in their account information, if an organization makes it clear that this is a better option for the nonprofit and just as safe if not safer than credit and debit card transactions, there's a good chance the donor would comply with the request to only use ACH payments.
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