Best Practice in Online Donations: iATS Payments

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By: Kirsten Kippen | 5.30.14

This spring we ran a webinar series called “One Small Step for Fundraising, One Giant Leap for Nonprofits” focusing on all aspects of the fundraising process. We invited some of our most trusted partners as guest presenters.

Over the next few weeks we will be sharing best practices from each webinar, starting with iATS Payments, who focus exclusively on providing payment processing products and services to the nonprofit community. Online donations increased by 13.5% in 2013 according to a recent Blackbaud report, and there are some key considerations and questions to ask to make the most of this channel.

What are your organizational goals and internal resources?

  • Some solutions may require a lot of customization. Think hard about your comfort level with out-of-the-box solutions vs. solutions that require more development work, but may be closer to what you need and scale better over time.
  • Salesforce is truly a “choose-your-own-adventure” situation where there is something for orgs of any size. Think about who will administer this and how it fits in with your overall strategy.

What payment types and methods do you wish to accept for donations?

  • Your organization has a choice between different types of payments including major credit cards and ACH (direct debit).  ACH is cost-effective and has less rejected transactions than traditional credit cards.
  • Consider how to manage recurring gifts: manually (through uploading a batch file) or have your system manage it.
  • Think about whether you have off-site payment processing needs- some systems are better at managing this than others.

How can you maximize your online donation form?

Did you know up to 70% of donors abandon the donate form after clicking the donate button? Here are some ways you can mitigate this:

  • Make your form as seamlessly integrated into the website or third party site as possible
  • Keep it simple and as user-friendly as possible. Use as few fields as possible.
  • Focus on transparency: if possible, include a graphic or table that shows exactly where the funds are going.
  • Consider responsive design that will be best optimized for smartphones, tablets, etc.
  • Make security front and center

What is your plan for data security?

  • Look into having a badge or https page for your donation page to visually reassure your donors that your page is secure
  • Make sure your system is PCI compliant: PCI compliance standards were established in 2007 to manage how card data is captured, transmitted and stored.
  • Watch out for fraud: many fraudsters target charities to validate card details. Most payment processors have tools to protect against fraud.

Additional resources

iATS Payments infographics

The Salesforce Foundation Power of Us Hub

Idealware: The Landscape of Salesforce for Nonprofits


Watch the full webinar with Heather Ballachey of iATS Payments to learn more and see a demo of Brickwork.





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