The bad way to deal with donation credit card fees

Credit card fees for donations are like a pebble in your shoe: small, but it can really hold your attention and made you miserable.

Some fundraisers look for ways to make donors pay the 2-3%.

Bad idea, according to the Bloomerang Blog, at How Do We Tell Donors Paying By Credit Card To Pay The Associated Fees?

It’s not donor or customer-centered anymore than a retailer is when they tell potential customers they’ll have to pay extra if they pay with credit cards. No one likes to be forced to pay a fee.

Bloomerang suggests two possible ways to deal with the fees:

  1. Consider fees a cost of doing business. It’s not a way you “lose money” — it’s a way you get more donations.
  2. Include a fee “opt-in” box at checkout. Give donors the option to add 3% to their donation to cover credit card fees. (Make sure it’s “opt in to pay,” not “opt out not to pay.”) Given the option, some donors will take it. But make it their choice.

As a fundraiser, your job is to help donors feel good about what they’re doing. Decreasing that good feeling by forcing an extra 3% from them is a very expensive way to save a very small amount of money!


Comments

4 responses to “The bad way to deal with donation credit card fees”

  1. Christof Hotz Avatar
    Christof Hotz

    Thanks for this piece.
    Of course, forcing is very bad but I strongly plead for the opt-in version.
    As being also a donor (not only a fundraiser ;-)) I’ve seen this solution already more than once and I find it very transparent and charming. I always opt-in for a good cause.

  2. Christof Hotz Avatar
    Christof Hotz

    Thanks for this piece.
    Of course, forcing is very bad but I strongly plead for the opt-in version.
    As being also a donor (not only a fundraiser ;-)) I’ve seen this solution already more than once and I find it very transparent and charming. I always opt-in for a good cause.

  3. I’m so glad you liked this answer, as I’m the one that wrote it for the Bloomerang blog as their resident “expert.” Thanks for sharing!
    And I agree with Christof. It’s worth a charmingly (as he suggests) written try, as it does make many donors feel good. Win for them; win for you. Just make sure you don’t force the choice on people by making them opt out.
    — Claire

  4. I’m so glad you liked this answer, as I’m the one that wrote it for the Bloomerang blog as their resident “expert.” Thanks for sharing!
    And I agree with Christof. It’s worth a charmingly (as he suggests) written try, as it does make many donors feel good. Win for them; win for you. Just make sure you don’t force the choice on people by making them opt out.
    — Claire

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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