Nonprofits rely on donations to fund operations and carry out their mission. Because of this, it is important for these organizations to have secure and efficient payment processing solutions in place to ensure that they can easily accept donations from a variety of sources.

How Can I Accept Nonprofit Payments Online?

Nonprofit organizations can set up an online payment system and collect in-person transactions once they have an agreement with a payment processor. This involves applying to a payment processor, receiving approval, and obtaining a merchant account.

Once these steps are complete, the processing company can then integrate its payment solutions directly into the nonprofit’s donation page on its website. The payment processing company can also provide physical terminals for nonprofits who wish to also accept in-person payment.

From there, donors will be able to complete their contributions directly through the nonprofit’s website or in person. With more options, comes more opportunity to better expand financial borders within the organization’s budget, collecting more funds, more easily from their gracious donors.

How Does Nonprofit Payment Processing Work?

1. A Donor Makes a Contribution

The digital payment process initiates when a donor makes an online or in-person card payment donation, or purchases merchandise, event tickets, or a membership for or from a nonprofit organization.

Donors can complete online payments to a nonprofit with their smartphones, tablets, or computers. And in-person digital donations can be completed using a physical payment terminal, where a card is swiped or dipped. Or newer card readers can process contactless payments with NFC-capable cards and mobile wallets.

2. Card Information is Processed

A payment processing system must verify any digital donation (one that is not made with a check or with cash) before the funds are accessible to a nonprofit organization. Once payment information is given, the payment gateway transmits the data.

The payment gateway ensures that the credit card transaction is not fraudulent. It also verifies that the initiator of the donation is a human and not a robot. The payment gateway can verify the validity of a credit card transaction by matching the card number to the issuing bank, cardholder name, and address and checking the security code.

From there, the verification process continues with the transfer of information between the payment processor, issuing bank, card brand, and acquiring bank. If, for any reason, the credit card is rejected, the payment gateway will communicate the issue to the nonprofit’s donation page or card terminal. Alerting the donor that their transaction attempt was unsuccessful.

If the gateway approves the card information, the payment processing continues.

3. Donation is Deposited into the Merchant Account

Once the credit card transaction has been verified, the payment processor begins the transfer of funds process. The donation will go from the credit card company to the acquiring merchant account. A day or so after the donor’s transaction the nonprofit’s bank account will receive funding for the payment settlement.

4. Donor’s Information is Stored in the Nonprofit’s Database

Finally, one of the most crucial steps is maintaining donor information. This will aid in future attempts to collect from loyal contributors. When a donor makes a contribution online, they must submit pertinent information into the virtual terminal.

This information may include the donor’s name, phone number, e-mail, and address. A nonprofit should have a way to transfer this information from the payment gateway to their donor database to leverage for future needs.

This process should be fairly straightforward if the payment processor integrates with the nonprofit’s database. If it does not, the organization will need to export a file from the payment gateway and upload it into its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

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How Can Nonprofit Payment Processing Help My Organization?

Payment processors can help collect payment for nonprofits in a number of ways for numerous reasons. Payment processors handle nonprofit donors’ financial information when they complete a transaction with their debit card, credit card, or bank account information.

These transactions may include donations such as making a financial contribution, purchasing merchandise, paying for a membership, or registering for an event. Let’s take a closer look at these donation options.

Accepting Financial Contributions and Donations

The most common reason for a nonprofit to need to accept electronic payment is to be able to accept credit card, debit card, and ACH payments online and in person. Without a payment processor, collecting donations can prove difficult and inefficient for nonprofits.

Cash and Check are no longer a go-to or convenient way of payment. Because of this, nonprofits should make it as easy as possible for potential donors to offer their payment. Which means getting set up to take electronic payments through a trusted payment processing service.

Selling Merchandise

Some nonprofit organizations run a store that sells donated goods and merchandise. The profits made from these purchases get turned over from physical donations to financial donations. Other nonprofits may also have branded merchandise for sale such as clothing, keychains, stickers, coffee mugs, hats, etc.

A nonprofit’s payment processor makes it easy for cardholders to purchase goods or branded merchandise in-store or online at the nonprofit’s website.

Collecting Membership Fees

Many nonprofit organizations offer membership programs rather than collecting simple donations. These membership programs act as a way for donors to be more personally and financially engaged, committed, and involved with the organization’s work.

Nonprofits will collect monthly or annual membership fees as an additional form of donation. Memberships typically offer donors incentives such as inclusive merchandise, newsletters, photos, and updates on how their donations are being used to benefit their mission.

With the right payment processor, a nonprofit’s donors can make their membership payments easily online. And if your payment processor has you set up with automatic recurring payments members can easily autopay their dues.

Selling Event Tickets

Lastly, many nonprofit organizations can host fundraising events to gain access to additional donations. These events can include purchased tickets for attendee entry that acts as another form of donation. The purchased tickets are just one more way nonprofits can cushion their budget.

Payment processors can make it possible to easily sell event tickets in person with card readers or online through an integrated payment gateway on the nonprofit’s website.

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What to Consider For Nonprofit Payment Processing

Nonprofit organizations should implement the most efficient payment processing solutions to ensure that they can efficiently run their program with their collected donations.

The right payment processing services can help nonprofits to streamline their donation processes, save on provider costs, accept a variety of payment types, reduce the risk of fraud, and improve the overall donor experience.

There are a few key considerations for nonprofit organizations when it comes to choosing their payment processing solutions and services.

Cost-effective Rates

One of the most important factors is cost. Nonprofits often operate on tight budgets. Therefore, it is important to find a payment processor that offers competitive rates and fees.

Finding the best cost for you may take some time and research. There are a few different payment structures that different payment processing companies may use. This can include flat rate, interchange plus, and tiered.

Each of these fee structures can benefit different merchants or organizations. It would all depend on how many transactions an organization is processing and frankly, how large each transaction is. A nonprofit would need to figure out these base numbers to effectively decide which structure would benefit them the most financially.

Inclusive Payment Acceptance

Another important consideration is the ability to accept a variety of payment types through multiple available methods. Some donors may prefer to give in person. Others, online. Some may prefer to use their debit or credit card to donate. While other donors may prefer to use electronic payment methods such as Venmo, Zelle, PayPal, or even ACH.

To ensure that your nonprofit can accept donations from as many donors as possible, you should look for a payment processor that can accommodate a range of payment methods with their services.

This means your payment processor should offer physical card readers or terminals as well as ACH processing and integrated online payment gateway services.

International Payment Processing

One of the major benefits of online payment processing is the ability to accept digital payments from anywhere in the world. This is particularly useful for organizations that have a global reach, locations worldwide, or for those who want to receive donations from international sources. This type of extension can further expand the donation pool and enlarge the organization’s operating budget.

Woman checking the numbers on the back of a credit card in front of a laptop

Payment Security

Next, security. Payment security is also an important factor for nonprofit payment processing. Donors should have no hesitation when it comes to entering their payment information online. Trusting that their sensitive information is protected when they make a donation ensures loyal donors.

Nonprofit organizations should be sure to choose payment processors that offer easy PCI compliance. This includes gateway security features like encrypted and tokenized transactions and fraud protection. Secure websites and these protection features ensure the safekeeping of personal and financial information and reduce the opportunity for unauthorized transactions.

Recurring Payment Options

In addition to the above considerations, nonprofit organizations should also look for payment processors that offer advanced features such as automatic recurring donation options. This takes out the need to continuously ask for more money from your past donors. It also takes the responsibility off the donor to remember when they need to make their next charitable contribution.

Automatic recurring payments can be set up as often as the donor would like. Whether they want to donate weekly, monthly, yearly, or anything in between. This helps to create a streamlined donation process which makes it easier for donors to support the organization on an ongoing basis. And offers a more user-friendly experience.

And with your gateway safety features in place, donors can feel confident their information is tokenized in an online vault, safe from any possible fraud attempts.

Online Reporting Tools

Having instant access to financials is vital to a nonprofit organization’s economic understanding. Not all payment processors offer such perks. But finding one that does, like ECS with its one-of-a-kind online reporting tool can help nonprofits efficiently manage all their transaction information in one spot.

This means no more calculating daily batch receipts, manually creating spreadsheets, or logging into multiple website portals to decipher transaction totals. With one login, nonprofits have everything they need to efficiently run their operation at their fingertips.

Woman trying to connect 2 pieces of a white puzzle

Seamless Integration

Whether your needs require a physical terminal or a virtual gateway, you will want to be sure your payment processing company offers seamless integration for your desired setup.

For payment processors like ECS, payment solutions are integrated seamlessly into your nonprofit’s online platform or POS system. Additionally, ECS downloads all its payment processing software to our card reader terminals to prepare them for instant donor use.

Once your nonprofit location receives the delivered devices, simply unbox the package, plug in the terminal, connect to the internet via Wi-Fi or ethernet, and instantly begin accepting donations. There is no need to call customer support or struggle with difficult setup steps.

Easy-to-Use Interface

Frustrating payment experiences can have a significant negative effect on your donors. Long and complicated payment forms can be damaging to an organization’s financial productivity. Make sure your payment solutions offer simple-to-use and easy-to-understand instructions for the organization’s staff, volunteers, and donors alike.

You want to ensure an effortless payment experience. Discuss with your nonprofit payment processor how their solutions can offer easy-to-use interfaces.

Dependable Customer Service

Lastly, a powerful payment processor leads to exceptional donor experiences for your nonprofit. Memorable impressions foster enhanced donor loyalty and increased contributions to your cause.

At ECS, world-class customer service support is something we take pride in. Our customer support teams dedicated themselves to ensuring you are set up for success. We make it a priority that our customers fully understand their payment solution products.

Any assistance needed is only a quick phone call or email away. Support teams are ready to assist you Monday through Friday 7 am-6 pm Pacific and are on call during the weekends to offer additional support when needed.

Nonprofit Payment Processing Bottom Line

Overall, processing payments online is a convenient way for nonprofit organizations to receive donations and accept contributions from a variety of sources. But choosing the right payment processor is crucial for a nonprofit organization’s success.

By considering factors such as cost, inclusive payment options, security, and additional advanced features including recurring donations, nonprofits can ensure that they have a payment processing system in place that meets their needs and helps them to efficiently accept any type of donations from anywhere in the world.

To contact sales, click HERE. And to learn more about ECS non-profit payment processing visit non-profit.