American nonprofit organizations derive nearly 70 percent of annual income from individual charitable donations. Government and foundation grants, bequests, and corporate donations represent the balance, according to the Giving USA Foundation. To secure funding across these segments demands unified systems to securely accept grant, donation, membership, and tithe payment contributions.
Online giving platforms help streamline multichannel funding processes and deliver payment methods proven to increase donor retention and contribution levels. For example, electronic funds transfer (EFT) capabilities enable nonprofits to offer convenient Automated Clearing House (ACH), direct bank-to-bank funds transfer, remote deposit capture (RDC), eCheck, and credit card payment options online.
A National Automated Clearing House (Nacha) study found that U.S. donation frequency and contribution levels rose when donors used online ACH or credit card payment portals to make donations. ACH donors averaged more than double the annual revenue and donation frequency than donors using other payments types. As a convenience to sustained donors that contributed 67 percent of organizational donations, ACH and credit/debit card accessibility across custom solutions was crucial. Online multichannel payment processing enables nonprofit organizations to effectively do the following:
Securely Process Online Donations
A global giving trends report confirmed more than half of global donors prefer to donate online using a credit/debit card or direct ACH transfer. An online payments system allows nonprofits, churches, and charitable organizations to safely accept electronic payments and reduce fraud risks associated with paper methods. Payment information is encrypted and tokenized when funds are transferred from payer to payee financial institutions via a payment gateway.
Sell Tickets and Merchandise
While charitable donations are the primary funding source for nonprofits, merchandise and fundraising event ticket sales generate substantial revenue and support for mission-driven philanthropic goals. Supporters wearing or displaying their support promote organizational awareness. A secure payment gateway with API and eCommerce plugin capabilities permits donors to make direct payments to charities for merchandise and tickets without being redirected to a third-party site, which encourages donors to complete transactions.
Collect Membership Fees or Dues
For nonprofit trade associations and organizations that rely on membership dues and fees, online payments simplify one-time and recurring payments setup, capturing contributions that might otherwise be lost due to enrollment or renewal issues. With recurring payments, members can make installment payments throughout the year. It offers an incentive to join when recruiting new members.
Protect Your Nonprofit from Fraudulent Activity
Nonprofits need to ensure that sensitive donor information is not residing in an onsite system or lost in the shuffle as checks, money orders, and paperwork are received. Automated systems that encrypt, process and store data using a secure server, and provide real-time account authentication help prevent fraud and data exposure. Gateway analytics tools provide valuable insights into the financial health of the organization to inform board member decisions, supported by data, that benefit the organization.
An integrated payment gateway allows even smaller nonprofits without a web presence access to a generic payment portal link for hosting social media, email, and SMS text-to-donate funding campaigns. Campaign codes can link online and other funding venues for a cohesive user experience.
An industry compliant payment portal does not require the nonprofit to have a website. Portals can be configured to match branding image. Portals can also mirror an existing website and enable donate button activation. Powerful add-on features for increasing donor participation and managing funding activities across all channels are important considerations when selecting a payment gateway provider.
When partnering with an online payments provider, ask the following questions: Is the interface user-friendly? Complex interfaces repel visitors and their support. What types of payment are supported? Card, eCheck and ACH payments are the most popular. Does the processor offer a mobile app with strong security features? Apps are an excellent payment and communications channel for nonprofits. Authentication, data encryption, tokenization, and fraud protection should be universally supported.
Finally, what additional features and functions does the platform support? SMS text-to-donate capabilities can tap donors and keep them actively engaged. Campaign codes can be used in multiple locations to host social media campaigns and online events appealing to larger audiences. Drop-down capabilities can segment donations and events and recurring payments encourage sustained giving. In some cases, passing a fee to donors automatically or as an opt-in can reduce processing costs, robust reporting and dashboard features help track funding and reporting for donor tax purposes.
As donor preferences shift to secure online and mobile platforms that offer convenient payment options, nonprofits making these shifts are realizing the benefits of ACH processing such as increased donation frequency and dollar volumes, less donor churn, lower processing costs, and new revenue channels. For the best results, work with a Nacha Preferred Partner who is Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard Level 1 certified, such iCheckGateway.com. ICG’s industry-compliant, simple-to-navigate system supports multiple donation campaigns in one secure platform easing administrative duties and increasing charitable contributions for nonprofit organizations.
Contact iCheckGateway.com today to learn more about the benefits of ACH payment processing for nonprofits.