Choosing a credit card processor for your non-profit app or website

We are a member of a few non-profit related groups on LinkedIn. A question was posted by a startup non-profit for recommendations on choosing a credit card processing provider. We thought it might be helpful to provide a few things to consider if you are starting a new non-profit, or are looking to change credit card providers:

1. Will your website be the only place you will be accepting donations? If you will also be taking donations over the phone, you will want to make sure the provider you choose offers an admin for manual entry. If you will be attending/hosting events and doing card present transactions, providers such as Square or Paypal that provide readers that plug into a smart device might be a good option.

2. Will you be accepting reccurring donations? If so you will want to ask about the costs for that. That is not included by default with all providers.

3. Will you need a donor management system? If so a service like Blackbaud or DonorPerfect might be worth investigating.

4. Do you want your donation form hosted as part of your website? If you go with a standard merchant account/payment gateway, you will need to integrate it with the donation form on your site. If you are using a popular cms such as wordpress, dotnetnuke or drupal, you may want to investigate what plugins are available. Also if you host your own donation form you will need to get an ssl certificate also. Services such as Raz Mobile and Network for Good (and many others) host the donation form, so you simply add a link on your site to the form they provide.

5. Whatever route you go, make sure your donation form is mobile friendly! I read an article that Paypal saw a 200%+ increase in mobile donations in 2012, and that number is only going to go up. You will want your donors to be able to easily donate regardless of what device they are accessing your form with. And if you haven’t started your website yet, you should look into a responsive design, now is the time to do it.