As a non-profit organization, your success lies in receiving donations. There are many types of fundraising options, such as direct donations, payments for special events, membership fees, and payments for merchandise. Having the right software at your fundraising events with the capability to handle the full suite of fundraising payment options, all while being easy for you and your donor to use, is ideal. Welcome to the world of ACH.
In this article, we provide a breakdown of the different types of ACH processing methods you can adopt and how you as a non-profit benefit from this method of payment.
How To Take Donations Through ACH
How do non-profits accept donations online?
Online donations are actually very similar to standard online payments, making the donation process easy for customers. You may know ACH by its other name of direct deposit. Your payment processor can set up donation management software to work with any electronic device. It can be done on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. And this online system works on any internet website and mobile app, automatically connecting payments directly from the donor’s bank to yours or through outside payment providers like PayPal.
It can take interstate and, in some cases, international donations, increasing the potential of orders.
On-site and remote payments
Need a solution that gives people the option to easily donate at events? ACH can be set up on any portable device and designed to be fast and intuitive for users so they can easily input their data and approve recurring payments. It doesn’t matter where you are because the system can work off WiFi or your device’s data plan. You can use remote ACH systems on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone at the place of an event and receive immediate payments when the iron is hot. It works equally well at your office or an outside location such as a rented conference room, a person’s home, or at a club or exotic location. Just like on-site payments, you can accept payment on any portable device, such as a smartphone. Smartphones and many tablets, donations can be made and received electronically through WiFi or by using a data plan.
How ACH payments benefit you as a non-profit
No matter what type of nonprofit you run, ACH offers you benefits that help you hit your goals. Here’s why.
A low transaction fee
“How Much Does ACH Cost?”
For a non-profit, a low transaction cost is a significant benefit. The more money you have after a transaction is processed, the better you can do, so it is essential to reduce transaction costs as much as possible. Non-profits often accept large sums of money, and the larger it is, the more you can lose through high transaction fees.
Online and in-person transactions via ACH have lower transaction costs than credit card transactions, debit card transactions, wire transfers, and cashier’s check deposits. A typical paper check can cost between $3 and $5 to process. A credit card processing fee can cost between 2.5% and 3.2% per transaction. As an ACH provider, a single cost applies to transactions of any size.
Verified payments for your business or recreational organization
As a non-profit, you have important goals, and having verified funds from donor bank accounts ensures you have what you need to accomplish them. With this payment processing solution, your dedicated payment processor instructs direct debit payments via a payment gateway from your donor’s bank account to yours. The corresponding funds are pre-verified, not a line of credit like with credit card payments. By the end of the processing verification date, typically 2-3 business days (shorter than the typical check verification time of 0-5 business days), you have guaranteed funds available for all your initiatives.
Guaranteed funds are particularly advantageous for forecasting. A pre-approved ACH payment means you will know exactly how much you will get. And if the donor makes recurring payments, you have more assurance the funds will be there on time, helping you cleanly budget your initiatives for the year.
ACH billing saves your non-profit time
You have heard the business expression “time is money.” This same expression goes for non-profits, too. Freeing up billing time is a benefit that sits at the forefront of your performance. Each minute spent toward growing your non-profit helps you achieve your goals.
ACH helps you lower your donation oversight and maintenance by as much as 85%. You and your staff spend less time doing manual billing and creating invoices. This is a huge advantage – especially for times that require recurring billing. ACH allows for automatic billing direct to your account, taking funds either as a one-time payment or regular billing cycle, and generates invoices and payment confirmations for you and your donor. This paperwork is immensely important for your donor for them to take advantage of tax benefits.
ACH is also a perfect solution for declined payments. In these cases, the system informs the donor automatically, so your staff doesn’t have to, aiding with more prompt payment while improving donor relations.
It also eliminates the time needed for receiving and processing paper checks. Your staff won’t have to schedule a time to meet the donor in person to collect that important check, and for mailed checks, you won’t have to wait for it to arrive and then wait for the check to clear. And both options won’t require you to take the checks to the bank. Electronic ACH payments are initiated immediately while making the payment process easier and faster for everyone.
Nothing can do more to harm your non-profit than having a donation check or cash contribution lost or stolen. You either lose out on fulfilling initiatives your donor hoped to accomplish or you are put in the awkward position of telling your donor the bad news and losing their trust – and future contributions.
Many non-profit clients also have large sums of money at their disposal, and that requires top-notch security measures. One breach and your business can be seriously affected. Thankfully ACH offers comprehensive security features and maintains high-security standards, including numerous safeguards, protected access, and encrypted transactions.
The ease of processing payments for you and donators
The good news is more people are paying online for services. Online payment is becoming second nature and the future points toward more online payments. Having ACH capability is a smart investment for future growth.
With ACH, all it takes is an initial authorization for recurring payments. The form can be filled out online, in person, or over the phone, and software can be customized to speed up payment approval based on a range of buying factors. For instance, if a donor does not require a certain type of meal at an event or does not want an invitation to a get-together, it can be specified in the online donation form and any additional questions on those topics are automatically eliminated. The easier the system is, the faster and easier it is for you to receive payment, making it a benefit for you and your donor.
A single location for all your transactions
With the capabilities of both website and app payments in one master system, you get a clear read on all money received and a better understanding of your funds. Your donors also have a clean read on all donations and corresponding invoices for tax purposes.
Ability to track donation locations
ACH provides precise data on where and when a donation is taken, making it a substantial advantage when taking funds from multiple offices or events. With this payment processing tool, you get a read on which location performed best and where it underperformed, aiding with future strategies.
Advanced organization and integration through your merchant provider
ACH also has amazing integration abilities with your accounting software. In fact, your dedicated merchant provider can sync ACH directly to your current software. It works seamlessly with popular accounting software such as Quickbooks.
B2B merchants excel at this work, and as a merchant services provider, BNG Payments can set up your business with specialized software. You can choose how to view financial information, and we can integrate it into any ongoing software you use.
The ease of securing membership fees
Memberships are a smart and reliable way to add to your non-profit’s income. You receive regular and timely payments to help you plan and execute your initiatives. Payments can be taken as often as you like, such as monthly, every six months, or annually. Since automatic withdrawals are approved beforehand, your donors won’t have to remember to submit payments. Your donors may even let the payments ride longer than if paying manually.
Processing event invitations
When a non-profit initiate requires event tickets, ACH allows for simple online payments. When donors receive an email or text with a link, they can simply click it and be taken to your online payment system, simplifying the buying process vs. sending a check in the mail or paying verbally over the phone.
More sales through your online shop
If you offer clothing like hats and shirts or accessories like pens and mugs, you can keep an online store running and regularly link it with any messages you send. Your customers can shop at their leisure and purchase via a shopping cart, making the purchase process fast and easy for increased sales while adding to your overall profit.
Flexibility in payment methods
Today’s ACH offers the ability to receive payments via direct bank-to-bank transfers or through multiple payment providers such as Square and PayPal. And ACH provides an alternative for donors who don’t want to use credit cards, checks, or cash. This added payment method is made to be simple, easy, fast, and accurate, and ACH excels so well at each that customers are more prone to using it in the future. It’s a smart investment, as well as a profitable one.