Posted by admin on Jul 23, 2010


Payment Processing for Online Donations

Online giving is the fastest growing channel for donations for non-profits and charities.  

To accept online donations, non-profits need to accept payments. Offering card payments & electronic checks gives donors the ability to pay with either a card or through an electronic debit from a bank account.

Online donations are considered high risk merchant accounts by processors.  Yet, payment processing at attractive rates is readily available for non-profits and charities.

Tips for Accepting Online Payments

  • Get your own merchant account rather than processing though a third party.  A direct merchant account will always save you money on payment processing.  And give you control over your money.
  • Accept both cards and electronic checks.  Electronic checks are much less costly to accept than cards.  And, offering both payment options are important to maximize donations.
  • Offer recurring payments.  You’ll be surprised at the number of people who want to donate on a regular basis. Recurring payments are a great way to stabilize cash flow from donations.
  • Make it easy for people to donate.  Use a “donate now” button.  Don’t make people register before donating.  Simply take them to the payment page.  The fewer the number of “clicks” to donate, the more money you’ll receive.
  • Use the name of your cause as the name the donor sees on their card or bank statement.  This helps the donor remember what the payment is for and gives them another opportunity to feel good about their contribution.  It also reduces cancellations for recurring billing.
  • Reassure your donors that their privacy will be protected and that the donation process is completely secure.  Display privacy and security policies prominently on your site.
  • Payment processing systems can be directed to send a customized email upon receipt upon payment.  Thank the giver for the donation on the site.  And use the email feature to thank them once again with their receipt.
  • Integrate your payment processing with your in-house systems.  It’s easy to do and will streamline operations and increase productivity.


Accept both card payments and electronic checks to maximize donations. The more ways donors can give, the more funds will be raised.

How are you currently accepting payments for online donations?

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