When was the last time you wrote a check? Perhaps a better question: When was the last time your parent or grandparent wrote a check? I ask the question as this payment method is decreasing in popularity. It’s true that a large bulk of donor revenue comes from loyal supporters who are 65 and over. However, donors of all ages, but especially those under 65, are no longer reaching for their checkbooks when they donate to their favorite nonprofit.
I witnessed proof of this trend in 2021. For the first time, my own Junior Service League ONLY offered digital payment for entry into our largest fundraising event — a holiday market that funds the nonprofits that we support. Decreasing the available avenues for donation had the potential to jeopardize our results. In reality, the results were surprising. And it was our most successful year ever.
It turns out, donors are more digitally savvy than we give them credit for. And if we’ve learned anything during the pandemic years, it’s that donors want to explore new options for how they give to their favorite charities.
There’s always giving online via debit card or credit card. Many donors are comfortable with this approach as they may pay their bills using this method. A transaction or processing fee may be applied if you use a credit card or a third-party service to make a gift.
Payment apps such as PayPal, Zelle, or Venmo that consumers use for paying, say, their hairdresser or lawn service, can and should be an option offered for charitable donations. Like credit cards, however, some of these apps charge a transaction fee.
More and more, consumers have become familiar with digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. The beauty of these payment methods is that donors do not need to manually type in their card details. They can simply authorize their donation using their devices that are compatible with Apple Pay or Google Pay. The other great news is that there are no transaction fees charged to the nonprofit for using these methods of payment.
Most often used at events, nonprofits offer the “text to give” method that allows donors to donate money to your organization from their cell phones via text message. Typically, there’s a transaction fee (charged to the nonprofit) for this payment method.
The newest option is cryptocurrency donations. With 100 million global users, cryptocurrency is also a tax-deductible payment method. This method is in its infancy now, but should be a forward-thinking method that you consider.
And while a lot of the older generations will continue to give donations via check, to stay relevant with the giving trends, nonprofits should include multiple options for how donors give. So give your donors more options — you might just be surprised at how much they give back to you!
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