How to Accept Donations Online for Your Nonprofit or Foundation

“Philanthropist” derives from Late Latin and from Greek. A direct translation from philanthrōpos or “loving people,” Merriam-Webster defines it as “goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially: active effort to promote human welfare.”

Nonprofit organizations are born from that love of other living beings, and the desire to improve their welfare. If your passion for a cause led you to start a nonprofit, maximizing results of online giving ranks as a top priority.

People are accustomed to making payments online for everything today, and they want charitable donations to be quick and easy too. Fortunately, today’s technologies facilitate digital donations via mobile payments and online giving websites., making it fast and easy to accept donations online.

But there’s a price to be paid by charities for this convenience due to transaction processing fees. These charges reduce the amount actually collected by a charity — a trade-off that most people don’t realize.

Let’s take a look at a few helpful tips for accepting donations online while optimizing results for your nonprofit.

Payments Industry Basics for Nonprofits

Processing payments carries a cost for all industry sectors — charities included. The first thing nonprofits should understand is that choices exist to help them accept payments online and to maximize results.

The payments ecosystem may seem complex to those not familiar with the industry. What with terminology like merchant accounts, issuing banks and acquiring banks, payment processors, payment aggregators, and other merchant service providers, how could it seem otherwise?

Don’t let either the cost or complexity of payment card acceptance stand as a barrier to your nonprofit success. Resources and budgets are tight enough.

Instead, choose a payment processing partner that specializes in working with nonprofits.  They’ll help you set up and optimize online transaction processing, and may offer payment processing at cost to qualified charities. Let the experts handle the intricacies of online payment processing for you.

Follow these keys to success:

  • Choose a processor that provides the secure payment gateway needed to transfer payment information between your fundraising platform — the issuing and acquiring banks — and the processing networks.
  • Ensure your processor’s gateway is PCI-DSS compliant (Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standard) — a requirement for processing online payment transactions. Maintaining PCI compliance can be burdensome to nonprofit staff, so choose to work only with a processor who handles all PCI requirements.
  • Recognize that donors care about the security of their payment card data. Make website visitors comfortable by displaying information about security standards employed, so they feel comfortable sharing payment details — and become your donors.
  • Accept multiple payment types. Increase your potential market to maximize your fundraising efforts. The right payment processor will help set up the ability to accept donations online via major card brands (domestic and international), multi-currency options, and alternative payment types like PayPal and others. Make it easy for potential donors to help your organization, no matter where they live.
  • Easy integration with your fundraising platform or website describes the right processing solution for your nonprofit. Choose a processor that enables custom donation forms, or allows you to set up an online donation portal fitting the “look and feel” of your website. So that when you accept donations online, the processing solution facilitates an excellent customer experience and provides secure payment processing.

We hope those tips help you find a payment processing partner that you can trust, and that offers favorable rates — because that’s often the bottom line.

Charities That Accept Donations Online Make Giving Easier

Do your homework, and aspire to work with a processor that offers services at a reduced rate, while helping your nonprofit streamline processes and reduce expenses. There are processors out there who want to help nonprofits thrive in the competitive online world.

Yes, it does cost money to accept online donations. Flexible processing needs (like processing recurring donations and selling merchandise) can cost charities even more. But the good news is that some processors provide charitable payment processing at cost, for qualified 501(c) nonprofits.

As Melissa Johnson (writing for Merchant Maverick) points out, it is possible to qualify for charitable payment processing rates to accept donations online — simply by asking and proving non-profit 501(c) status. “Which has a positive effect on any organization’s bottom line.”

Let PayArc Reduce the Cost Footprint of Your Nonprofit

American banks and credit card companies make huge profits — in the neighborhood of $250 million a year — from processing online charitable donations. They can afford to reduce the cost burden for nonprofits.

PayArc’s program strives to do exactly that: reduce the burden on charitable organizations that accept donations online. We give them access to the lowest rates possible, and offer special processing programs that:

  • Maximize non-profit donations with electronic payments made via credit cards, debit cards, and ACH/eChecks through nonprofit-hosted payment forms.
  • Retain existing donors and reduce marketing costs with automated recurring donation options.
  • Increase payment security through PCI-compliant payment processing solutions.

PayArc provides charitable payment processing at cost, for qualified 501(c) nonprofits. Explore working with us, and we’ll use our payments industry expertise to offer amazing pricing to your qualified charity.

Because we’d love to help.