How Payment Processing Factors into Your School Fundraiser

23 Mar 2022 By Peggah Azarvash

How Payment Processing Factors into Your School Fundraiser

It’s the end of an era—cash donations are a dying breed. For years, cash and check payment have been on the decline, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only hastened the arrival of digital payments as a preferred fundraising collection method. With so much focus now put into online donations, it’s essential that your school has a payment processor that makes the virtual giving process as simple and easy as possible.

And beyond simply facilitating virtual payments, a payment processor can do far more to ensure the success of your fundraising efforts. From increasing donations for your school to optimizing your communications with donors, take a look at the following ways that a payment processing system can make or break your next school fundraiser:

  1. Facilitate more donations with different payment methods.
  2. Win donors’ trust with secure, protected transactions.
  3. Increase professionalism and accessibility.
  4. Improve future fundraising appeals.
  5. Launch bigger, more lucrative events.

No matter the size of your school or the financial goals of your next fundraising campaign, everyone can benefit from a dedicated payment processing system. Once this system has been integrated into your online donation page, you will be blown away at the possibilities offered by this dedicated fundraising solution.

Ready to level up your school fundraising campaigns? Let’s dive in.

1. Facilitate more donations with different payment methods.

Picture this: a potential donor logs onto your school’s web platform, credit card details in hand and happy to support their local school system. But to their dismay and your detriment, they discover your donation system doesn’t accept their credit card provider. They click out of your donation page, likely not the first or the last person to have abandoned their gift after failing to find their preferred payment method on your donation form.

Avoid this very scenario and maximize incoming revenue for your fundraising campaigns by investing in a payment processor that accepts all of the major payment methods.

For example, debit and credit card processing are two of the most popular methods that your payment processing system should be able to accommodate. On top of that, an especially intuitive payment processor will be able to facilitate direct deposit and ACH donations, as well as international processing for donors who may be away from home.

Considering the extensive investment in marketing and promotion that it takes just to get donors onto your donation page, there’s no good reason that your school should miss out on a single gift simply because you aren’t able to accommodate your donors’ choice of payment. With a comprehensive payment processor, you won’t have to worry about losing precious funds to an inflexible donation system.

2. Win donors’ trust with secure, protected transactions.

No donor should have to worry about the safety of their payment information and personal details while submitting a gift. To put donors at ease, increase incoming funds, and guarantee the security of donor data, be on the lookout for a payment processing system that boasts the following security features:

  • PCI compliance is the official guideline set by credit card companies themselves to distinguish companies and services with an industry standard of data security.
  • Encryption and tokenization scramble donor payment data as it is processed, ensuring that hackers and fraudsters cannot read this sensitive information.
  • Anti-fraud protection tools such as CVV2 and BIN/IP verification can not only halt active attacks on your donation processor, but discourage them before they even take place.

For more information on other essential security features to search for and what top solutions can accommodate your financial needs, check out the iATS buyer’s guide to nonprofit payment processing. For example, the piece also cites integration capabilities as another important feature to seek out in a payment processing system.

An integrated payment processor will be embedded on your website through your online donation form. This means that when a donor is prompted to enter their payment information, they won’t be unnecessarily redirected to an unfamiliar, possibly insecure third-party payment platform. They can perform their entire donation, from start to finish, all in the comfort of your website.

Some payment processors can even integrate with _other _event management, and fundraising softwares so that donors have a secure donation experience no matter where they are submitting their gifts. Whether you’re hosting an online auction through its own dedicated platform or you simply want to build faith in the security of your school website, a strong payment processor can help you accomplish your fundraising goals.

3. Increase professionalism and accessibility.

While there are many aspects of your school’s brand, marketing materials, and communications that help to establish the legitimacy of your fundraisers, there is no denying that a dedicated payment processor can increase the professionalism of your campaigns.

From increased security measures to different payment acceptance to direct integration with your online donation form, a robust payment processor makes the donor experience simple, easy, and more accessible. Donors can submit their gifts in a matter of minutes without ever having to leave your platform, reflecting positively on your school and leaving a lasting impression on supporters.

On top of that, a number of payment processors even have their own apps to increase accessibility for mobile users. This is especially critical considering 360 MatchPro’s master list of nonprofit fundraising statistics, which illustrates that mobile giving makes up over 33% of online donations. With accompanying apps, donation form integration, and mobile accessibility, payment processing systems ensure that donors have a seamless, professional donation experience regardless of where they are or the devices they’re using.

4. Improve future fundraising appeals.

When donors submit online donations to your organization, they’re not just adding incoming revenue to your current campaign—they are also logging in precious data that can be used for your next fundraising push. Information such as donor names, gift amounts, the frequency of their giving, and their involvement across various fundraisers over time are all shared during the donation process.

If your organization is relying on, say, a third-party payment system, it may be challenging to retrieve and log this data into your constituent relationship management system (CRM) or donor database. However, a dedicated and integrated payment processor automatically sends this information to your records, allowing you to analyze it and form actionable strategies to optimize your fundraising and increase donor retention.

An integrated payment processor will even allow you to create custom fields to track additional information that may be relevant to your specific fundraising needs, like current grade levels of donors’ kids.

With this data, your team can tweak and personalize your future fundraising appeals to each individual donor. You might ask for increased donation amounts appropriate to what they’ve previously donated or promote specific fundraising campaigns similar to the initiatives that they have supported in the past.

5. Launch bigger, more lucrative events.

Relying on spreadsheets, calculators, and manual methods of managing your fundraising campaigns will seriously limit your ability to host certain events. While it may be easy enough to host a small bake sale and other simple campaigns without dedicated software solutions, you’ll limit your ability to manage larger, highly lucrative types of events by not investing in the right technology.

Payment processors streamline the entire donation process and automatically track and record important data metrics for your fundraising. This resource will allow you to take on more complicated tasks, coordinate more sophisticated projects, and brainstorm more engaging school fundraising ideas to boost your incoming revenue.

If that wasn’t enough, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever to seek out software that can support virtual and hybrid events. To overcome the challenges of the changing event landscape, your organization would greatly benefit from dedicated tools to successfully host virtual fundraisers.

Expand the horizon of what’s possible for your organization with software solutions that not only support but _optimize _your operations. Just as an auction platform would be critical for carrying out an online auction or a website builder could maximize the design of your school web platform, a dedicated, integrated payment processor is a versatile and powerful tool that provides essential value for your various fundraising needs.

Too many school fundraising coordinators assume that comprehensive fundraising software is only meant for large fundraising entities with complex financial management needs.

Whether you are the PTA leader of a small elementary school or a professional event planner for a larger school system, an all-in-one payment processor adds essential value to any individual, team, or department hoping to boost their school’s fundraising success.