Raise more online with the right fee systems
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
While there isn’t a way to get around credit card processing fees altogether when offering your donors the ability to make donations online, there are ways to ensure that your nonprofit keeps the bulk of what it raises without succumbing to exorbitant fees.
Whether you’ve always offered online giving to your donors or you’re looking for options to add this functionality to your website, consider the following to understand true costs—and how to mitigate some of them—as you move through your online donation processes.
Research payment processor fees
Payment processors all take a percentage of donations made online. Think of it as their fee for the work they’re doing behind the scenes. Before jumping into the first payment processor that comes in front of you, do your research. Vet the pros and cons of each system and what your net take-home will be if you go with one over the other.
Ask your donors to help cover costs
It is not uncommon to ask donors to help cover online processing fees. And, if you do so in a way that outlines what the fee is, most donors will appreciate that transparency (but don’t assume all donors will want to cover these fees). Set up a system that gives your donors the choice to cover processing fees and set up a form that gives them this option as an opt-in (vs. having the option pre-populated for them).
When people donate, they want to know where their money is going, even if it’s to fees. Adding an optional checkbox that simply asks your donor to opt-in to something to the effect of, “Make my gift go further. Please increase my gift by 3 percent to help cover transaction expenses.” is a straight-to-the-point way of asking for this added amount and shows donors exactly what you’re using it for.
Choose a system that fits your needs
We’ve done some of the heavy lifting for you. We understand that online giving is not one-size-fits-all and that each nonprofit has its own needs based on size, resources and volume. While they are not the only payment processing options, two of our favorites include Authorize.net and Stripe – and we have a handy comparison chart ready to go for you.
Get started on the right path (or change up your path!) to ensure you’re paying the lowest fees so that when you do set up your ‘ask’ options for donors to cover these costs, you’re keeping a higher percentage of what you raise.