Should Nonprofits Accept Donations on Credit Cards?

June 18, 2013

Larger charities such as the American Red Cross and the American Cancer Society are easily recognizable. People like to donate to charities that have a reputation for doing meaningful work and spending their money sensibly. However, even these organizations have to seek out donations constantly to keep up and running. For smaller nonprofits and charitable causes that are just getting off the ground, seeking out donations can easily become a full time job.

Accepting credit cards for nonprofit charities is one way an organization can easily increase the volume of their donations. American society lives by their plastic, both debit and credit, so a nonprofit that is not poised to accept donations from a card is going to have a harder time procuring donations.

Some nonprofits do not accept card donations simply because they do not want to spend the small monthly price. This thinking can be somewhat backwards though. If the increase in donations is great enough, it will offset this small monthly cost. In order to accept card donations, a nonprofit has to establish a merchant account and is required to pay certain fees. The fees vary depending on the merchant account and the types of cards that will be accepted.

If the nonprofit already operates a website, accepting cards through the site is a very quick and easy way to increase donations. Many studies have shown that people spend more on their cards than they do with cash. This is true whether they are shopping for groceries or donating to a charity. By accepting cards on the website, a nonprofit will see increased donor amounts.

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If the nonprofit is a smaller organization and does not run a website, they can still accept credit cards. With a mobile card reader available for smartphones, an organization can accept cards a lot faster and easier than before. Many smaller merchants, nonprofit and otherwise, now use these readers so that they can accept cards on the go, say for example at a gala or other fundraising event.

Some organizations do indeed prefer credit cards for nonprofit donations because they generally mean larger donations. Another bonus for accepting cards is the ability of the donor to set up a recurring monthly payment. This is fantastic for a nonprofit because it means a steady, dependable stream of funds. Donors do not have to remember to send in a monthly check or cash, the money simply comes out of their account every month.

As the number of recurring donors increases, it becomes easier for the nonprofit to budget and forecast out spending. This also might allow them to increase services or programs offered to the people or cause they serve.

There are many aspects to consider when deciding if a nonprofit should or should not accept credit cards. The size of the organization, the size of the normal donation and the possibility of setting up recurring payments are all factors to consider. In addition, the operator of a nonprofit needs to research their options in regards to fees and choose the one that charges the least amount. Host Merchant Services has the lowest fixed monthly fees and uses interchange plus pricing in order to deliver the best value for your nonprofit or charity.

There are also added benefits for the donor to use their credit card to donate. If they have a card that offers rewards they can earn points while donating to a good cause. If they are near a certain reward, it is possible that they might even donate more than they would have otherwise. While this seems shallow to other charitable givers, remember that a donation is gladly received no matter what the donors underlying reasons may be.

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