The Right Donations Processor for your Nonprofit

Alyssa Hansen December 01, 2014, by Alyssa Hansen

Your organization’s business development increasingly depends on easy-to-use online donations and e-payments. Here are some tips and side-by-side comparisons when choosing a donations processor for your website.

Cost

Transparency and accountability often dictate how your nonprofit spends its funds. No one wants to spend more on overhead costs than mission-related areas.  That’s why the first question usually asked when setting-up online donations and payments on your website is: how much is it going to cost?

First, let’s get to know the terminology: payment gateways vs. merchant accounts. Payment gateways (ie: PayPal) process online payments/donations. Merchant accounts (Authorize.net) collect those payments to deposit them at your bank. While each merchant account has its own fees related to transferring your online funds to your physical bank, different payments processors also have varying fees.

Check out these popular Payment Gateways and their fees:

Gateway: PayPal Standard Authorize.net Network for Good Click & Pledge DonorPerfect
Transaction fee: 2.2% + $0.30 2.9% + $0.30(+ $0.05 batch fee) 3% 3.5% + $0.35 2.89% + $0.30
Monthly fee: $0 $7.99 $79.95 $20 $0
Set-up fee: $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
International fee: +1% cross-border fee and/or 2.5% currency fee +1.5% Usually available (per country) Available Available
Recurring Payments: FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE

Time Saved

Which tool is going to save your staff the most time? Often, nonprofit staff are jack-of-all-trades that perform several functions within the organization, covering administrative, program, and business management functions. It’s important to weigh the costs both monetarily and in terms of time saved when choosing your set-up.

You don’t want to waste time manually importing transaction information into your accounting software or donor information into your CRM tool. So what do you need to know now to save yourself a future headache?

Software/Processor Tool Integration Available Manual Integration
Raiser’s Edge Quickbooks NO Export to Excel, then map to import to QB
Constant Contact Available for fee
MailChimp Available; free
DonorPro Quickbooks NO Easy export to format for QB, also Excel/CSV export
MailChimp NO
DonorPerfect (SofterWare) Quickbooks NO Easy export of individual/summary data to format for QB
MailChimp NO
Constant Contact  Available; free
Click & Pledge Quickbooks NO Export to Excel, then map to import to QB
MailChimp Available; free
Constant Contact Available; free
Salesforce Available; free
CiviCRM Available; free
PayPal Quickbooks NO Easy export of summart data to format for QB
Authorize.net Quickbooks Sync available
NeonCRM Quickbooks Sync available
Convio Constant Contact Available; free

Umbrella Solution?

If your organization wants to raise funds online, accept payments for memberships or registrations, sell tickets, and maybe even t-shirts-- then you’re probably looking for a cover-all umbrella solution. However, that may not always be possible or the best choice, depending on your needs.

The most affordable solution also might not provide you with the flexibility you need to offer various membership or ticket levels. You can use PayPal’s free buttons throughout your site, but your site visitors will be taken to a generic checkout page that says nothing about your organization’s mission and won’t let them check-out with multiple items all at the same time.

The rising trend of peer-to-peer or campaign fundraising also calls for a separate donations tool that caters specifically to this type of setup, and often comes with its own pricing and transaction fees. However, it’s probably worth adding this in as an option depending on how you mobilize your organization’s donors.

Mobile-friendly

… because your latest donation or ticket sale probably came from someone using their cell-phone. Maybe it’s not at the top of your list when comparing payments processors, but remember that not every donations form is easy to navigate on mobile devices. For those solutions that don’t allow for much customization on their forms, it’s important to know if they’re mobile-friendly.  Network for Good, NeonCRM, Convio, Raiser’s Edge “Online Express” already have mobile-friendly forms, while Click & Pledge’s form can be easily customized to work as well.

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Interested in an Integrated Donations Solution for your Website?

Contact Elevation today to see how we can integrate your choice of payments processor and immediately improve your online fundraising.

Learn more about our Smart Fundraising Solutions

Alyssa Hansen

Alyssa Hansen

Alyssa Hansen is a Senior Account Manager at Elevation, a full-service nonprofit web design agency. With a background working in nonprofit communications, Alyssa's experience helps clients develop a new vision for their website. When she's not at her desk, she's passionate about microfinance, traveling, and learning new languages.

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