Credit Card Payment Processing Best Practices for Nonprofit Organizations

Not only is a nonprofit organization like yours challenged with ongoing fundraising and building your foundation and donor base, you have to keep up with #1 best nonprofit industry best practices, marketing, tradeshow and events, mobile, and website ideas, to keep donations recurring. Non profits might be hoping there's a free service out there for payment processing for a 501C3, but it is banking after all. So your best bet is to do your research. The best and cheapest processors are those that offer simple, elegant, integrated merchant accounts and payment gateways along with transparent interchange or network fees. Teaming up with a specialist who knows the ins and outs of network bank processing fees, offers transparent pricing (instead of bundled), can help with the mix of reporting and management tools you'll need—plus offer security measures you'll have to comply with—is the key. Once you get set up properly with your online credit card payment processing for your nonprofit it will enable fast, efficient, and easy donation collection and fund management. When complementing traditional fundraising strategies, it can become a nonprofit's fundraising workhorse that delivers recurring revenues with routine. It can also be used to create donor loyalty, too!

Here are six tried and true credit card processing best practices regarding this fast growing payment and donation method for nonprofits:

Best Practice #1: Accept all major credit cards. Limiting yourself to MasterCard and Visa gives Discover and American Express cardholders an easy reason to say “no”.

Best Practice #2: Set up a recurring payment option. Giving donors the option to give small amounts each month will often add up to more than a once or twice donation every couple of years.

Best Practice #3: Be sure the name of your nonprofit organization appears with the donation charge on the statement. This reminds the cardholder of their gift, allows them to use it as a receipt when filing taxes, and helps prevent confusion or worse, concerns that the charge is fraudulent.

Best Practices #4: Use mobile credit card processing to generate as much action at your charity events as possible. Book signings, silent auctions, road races – when it’s easier to make a transaction, it’s easier to raise the day’s contribution level.

Best Practices #5: Don’t overpay for credit card processing. Fee structures can vary dramatically, so be sure to do your homework and learn your options.

Best Practices #6: Choose credit card processing partners with nonprofit experience. Nonprofits have different credit card transaction needs and challenges than regular retailers or service providers. Payment gateways and merchant account service providers that specialize in nonprofits will provide solutions structured to maximize your fundraising efforts.

Are there free credit card payment payment processing services out there for nonprofits or 501C3s? Not that we know of. But the #1 processors are specialists who truly care about saving you money by offering everyone, 501C3 or not, transparent, or cost-plus, pricing on their bank fees. How to know what the best practices are to save on these fees and how to do it all isn't easy, but it can become a nonprofit or charity fundraising action that will create optimized recurring donations for your foundation forever. 

Another best practice? Arm yourself with the knowledge you need to shop around and manage your processing long term by reading the Ins and Outs of Credit Card Processing eBook – available for download. It’s a quick read that spells out the roles of all the players in every single transaction, the pros and cons of different pricing models, plus security and processing basics. It’s a quick read, and free!


Download Our Complimentary Guide to Smart Credit Card Processing. Download now.

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