Things to Look for in Technology

The following is an excerpt from the Demystifying Credit Card Processing for Nonprofits article. (See the Other Related Links to read more).

Constituent-initiated transactions via an organization’s web site are certainly one of the fastest growing areas for nonprofits. Although much of the money raised this way has been driven by major disaster relief efforts, more and more nonprofits are discovering ways to make it easier for constituents to make payments online and thus increase their fundraising successes.

The three most important considerations for constituent-initiated transactions are:

Ability to handle all the types of transactions needed – Although it is relatively simple to allow someone to enter their credit card information and a payment amount, most nonprofits have a need for many different types of transactions. For example, donations or memberships chosen from a variety of participation levels, honorariums/memorial gifts, pledges, special events, fundraising item sales, etc.

Process that gives donors confidence – Once you have gotten a constituent to your online form, the last thing you want is for them to be concerned about completing the transaction online or confused with how to proceed. The key to this to provide a solution that clearly states that all processing is secure. Your solution should also clearly explain each step of the process and should not introduce confusing requirements.

Administrative ease and efficiency – Optimally, you want a solution that makes it easy to perform all the necessary tasks to track & acknowledge the transaction. Here are a few important aspects to consider:

  • Notification of the transaction
  • Ability to review completed (as well as non-completed) transactions
  • Simple download of transactions (and related information) into your donor management and/or accounting system
  • Easy issuing of any necessary credits/refunds
  • Availability of online tools for reporting and analysis of transactions
  • Ability to acknowledge the transaction (by email and/or letter)