Category Archives: Non Profits

merchant services for non-profits

Merchant Services for Non-Profits: What You Need to Know

Non-profit organizations play a crucial role in society by addressing various social, environmental, and humanitarian issues. These organizations heavily rely on donations and fundraising efforts to support their missions. In today’s digital age, accepting credit card payments has become essential for non-profits to maximize their fundraising potential. This is where merchant services come into play. In this comprehensive article, we will explore the importance of merchant services for non-profits, the benefits they offer, different types of merchant services available, how to choose the right provider, key considerations when setting up merchant services, associated costs, security and compliance measures, strategies to maximize donations, and successful case studies.

Understanding the Importance of Merchant Services for Non-Profits

Accepting credit card payments has become a necessity for non-profit organizations due to the changing preferences of donors. In today’s cashless society, fewer people carry cash, and they prefer the convenience of using credit or debit cards for transactions. By offering credit card payment options, non-profits can tap into a larger donor base and increase their chances of receiving donations. According to a study 82% of Americans have at least one credit card, making it crucial for non-profits to adapt to this payment method.

Furthermore, merchant services provide non-profits with the ability to accept online donations. With the rise of e-commerce and online giving platforms, donors expect the convenience of making donations from the comfort of their homes. By incorporating merchant services, non-profits can provide a seamless online donation experience, attracting tech-savvy donors who prefer digital transactions.

How Merchant Services Can Benefit Non-Profit Organizations

Benefit Non-Profit Organizations

Merchant services offer numerous benefits to non-profit organizations. Firstly, they enhance the overall donor experience by providing convenient payment options. By accepting credit card payments, non-profits eliminate the need for donors to carry cash or write checks, making it easier for them to contribute to the cause. This convenience can lead to increased donations and donor retention.

Secondly, merchant services enable non-profits to expand their reach beyond local communities. With online payment capabilities, non-profits can receive donations from supporters across the globe. This opens up new avenues for fundraising and allows non-profits to connect with a wider audience.

Additionally, merchant services provide non-profits with valuable data and analytics. By tracking and analyzing transaction data, non-profits can gain insights into donor behavior, preferences, and giving patterns. This information can be used to tailor fundraising campaigns, improve donor engagement strategies, and optimize fundraising efforts.

Exploring Different Types of Merchant Services for Non-Profits

There are several types of merchant services available for non-profit organizations. The most common ones include:

  1. Credit Card Processing: This service enables non-profits to accept credit and debit card payments in-person, online, or over the phone. Non-profits can choose between traditional credit card terminals, mobile card readers, or virtual payment gateways to process transactions.
  2. Payment Gateways: These platforms allow non-profits to accept online donations securely. They provide a seamless integration with non-profit websites, enabling donors to make contributions with ease.
  3. Recurring Donations: Some merchant service providers offer recurring donation options, allowing non-profits to set up automatic monthly or annual donations. This feature is particularly useful for donor retention and creating a steady stream of income.
  4. Mobile Payments: With the increasing use of smartphones, non-profits can leverage mobile payment solutions to accept donations on the go. Mobile payment apps and card readers enable non-profits to collect funds at events, fundraisers, or even on the streets.

Choosing the Right Merchant Service Provider for Your Non-Profit

Selecting the right merchant service provider is crucial for non-profit organizations. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Non-Profit Expertise: Look for a provider that specializes in serving non-profit organizations. They will have a better understanding of the unique needs and challenges faced by non-profits and can offer tailored solutions.
  2. Pricing Structure: Compare the pricing models of different providers. Some charge a flat fee per transaction, while others have a percentage-based fee. Consider your organization’s transaction volume and choose a pricing structure that aligns with your budget.
  3. Integration Capabilities: Ensure that the merchant service provider can seamlessly integrate with your existing systems, such as your website, donor management software, or CRM. This will streamline your operations and provide a cohesive donor experience.
  4. Security Measures: Non-profits handle sensitive donor information, so it’s crucial to choose a provider that prioritizes data security. Look for providers that comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) requirements and offer encryption and tokenization technologies.
  5. Customer Support: Consider the level of customer support provided by the merchant service provider. Non-profits may require assistance with technical issues, troubleshooting, or account management. Choose a provider that offers reliable and responsive customer support.

Key Considerations When Setting Up Merchant Services for Non-Profits

When setting up merchant services for non-profit organizations, there are several key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Legal and Tax Compliance: Non-profits must ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations, such as tax-exempt status requirements and reporting obligations. Consult with legal and financial professionals to ensure compliance.
  2. Donor Privacy: Non-profits must prioritize donor privacy and data protection. Implement robust security measures to safeguard donor information and comply with data protection regulations.
  3. Donor Communication: Clearly communicate to donors how their information will be used and stored. Provide transparency regarding data security measures to build trust and confidence in your organization.
  4. Training and Education: Train staff members on how to handle credit card transactions securely and educate them about potential fraud risks. This will help prevent data breaches and protect your organization’s reputation.
  5. Reporting and Analytics: Take advantage of the data and analytics provided by your merchant service provider. Regularly review transaction reports, donor behavior, and other metrics to gain insights and optimize your fundraising strategies.

Understanding the Costs Associated with Merchant Services for Non-Profits

Costs Associated with Merchant Services for Non-Profits

The costs associated with setting up merchant services for non-profits can vary depending on the provider and the services required. Here are some common costs to consider:

  1. Setup Fees: Some providers charge a one-time setup fee to establish your merchant account. This fee covers the administrative costs associated with onboarding your organization.
  2. Transaction Fees: Transaction fees are charged for each credit card transaction processed. These fees can be a flat rate per transaction or a percentage of the transaction amount. Compare the transaction fees of different providers to find the most cost-effective option.
  3. Monthly Fees: Some providers charge a monthly fee for maintaining your merchant account. This fee covers ongoing support, access to reporting tools, and customer service.
  4. Equipment Costs: If you require physical equipment, such as credit card terminals or mobile card readers, there may be additional costs associated with purchasing or leasing the equipment.
  5. Chargeback Fees: In the event of a disputed transaction or chargeback, some providers charge a fee to cover the administrative costs of handling the dispute.

It’s important to carefully review the pricing structure and terms of service provided by different merchant service providers to understand the full cost implications.

Ensuring Security and Compliance in Non-Profit Merchant Services

Security and compliance are paramount when it comes to non-profit merchant services. Non-profits handle sensitive donor information, including credit card details, and must take appropriate measures to protect this data. Here are some best practices to ensure security and compliance:

  1. PCI DSS Compliance: Ensure that your merchant service provider is PCI DSS compliant. PCI DSS is a set of security standards established by major credit card companies to protect cardholder data. Compliance with these standards helps prevent data breaches and fraud.
  2. Encryption and Tokenization: Implement encryption and tokenization technologies to protect sensitive data during transmission and storage. Encryption converts data into an unreadable format, while tokenization replaces sensitive data with unique tokens.
  3. Secure Payment Gateway: Choose a secure payment gateway that encrypts data during online transactions. Look for providers that offer SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption and adhere to industry best practices.
  4. Regular Security Audits: Conduct regular security audits to identify vulnerabilities and ensure compliance with security standards. Engage third-party security experts to perform penetration testing and vulnerability assessments.
  5. Staff Training: Train staff members on security best practices, such as password management, recognizing phishing attempts, and handling sensitive data. Regularly update training to stay informed about emerging threats.

By implementing these security measures, non-profits can protect donor data, maintain trust, and mitigate the risk of data breaches.

Maximizing Donations through Effective Merchant Services Strategies

Merchant services can be leveraged to maximize donations for non-profit organizations. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Simplify the Donation Process: Make the donation process as simple and convenient as possible. Optimize your website’s donation page, provide clear instructions, and minimize the number of steps required to complete a donation.
  2. Offer Recurring Donations: Encourage donors to set up recurring donations to create a steady stream of income. Highlight the impact of recurring donations and the convenience they offer to donors.
  3. Provide Multiple Payment Options: Offer a variety of payment options, including credit cards, debit cards, and digital wallets. Cater to the preferences of different donors to maximize participation.
  4. Utilize Social Media: Leverage social media platforms to promote your organization’s mission and fundraising campaigns. Incorporate donation links or buttons directly into your social media posts to facilitate easy giving.
  5. Personalize Thank You Messages: Show appreciation to donors by sending personalized thank you messages. Acknowledge their contribution and highlight the impact of their support.
  6. Donor Recognition: Recognize and celebrate donors publicly to foster a sense of community and encourage others to contribute. Highlight the achievements and impact of your donors through newsletters, social media, or events.

By implementing these strategies, non-profits can enhance donor engagement, increase participation, and ultimately maximize donations.


Q.1: What are merchant services, and why are they important for non-profit organizations?

Merchant services refer to the financial services and technologies that enable businesses, including non-profit organizations, to accept credit card payments. They are important for non-profits as they provide convenient payment options for donors, expand their reach, and offer valuable data and analytics.

Q.2: How do non-profits benefit from accepting credit card payments?

Non-profits benefit from accepting credit card payments as it increases their chances of receiving donations. By offering credit card payment options, non-profits tap into a larger donor base and provide convenience to donors who prefer digital transactions.

Q.3: What types of merchant services are available for non-profit organizations?

Non-profit organizations can choose from various types of merchant services, including credit card processing, online payment gateways, recurring donations, and mobile payments. These services cater to different donation channels and provide flexibility for donors.

Q.4: How can non-profits choose the right merchant service provider?

Non-profits should consider factors such as non-profit expertise, pricing structure, integration capabilities, security measures, and customer support when choosing a merchant service provider. It’s important to find a provider that aligns with the organization’s specific needs and requirements.

Q.5: What are the costs associated with setting up merchant services for non-profits?

The costs associated with setting up merchant services for non-profits can include setup fees, transaction fees, monthly fees, equipment costs, and chargeback fees. The exact costs depend on the provider and the services required.

Q.6: How can non-profits ensure the security and compliance of their merchant services?

Non-profits can ensure security and compliance by choosing a provider that is PCI DSS compliant, implementing encryption and tokenization technologies, using secure payment gateways, conducting regular security audits, and providing staff training on security best practices.

Q.7: Are there any strategies to maximize donations through merchant services?

Non-profits can maximize donations through merchant services by simplifying the donation process, offering recurring donations, providing multiple payment options, utilizing social media, personalizing thank you messages, and recognizing donors publicly.

Conclusion: Empowering Non-Profits with Effective Merchant Services

Merchant services play a vital role in empowering non-profit organizations to maximize their fundraising potential. By accepting credit card payments and offering online donation options, non-profits can tap into a larger donor base and provide convenience to their supporters. The various types of merchant services available, such as credit card processing, online payment gateways, recurring donations, and mobile payments, cater to different donation channels and preferences.

By leveraging effective merchant services strategies, non-profits can enhance donor engagement, increase participation, and ultimately maximize donations. Case studies of successful implementation in non-profit organizations demonstrate the positive impact of merchant services on fundraising efforts.

In conclusion, merchant services are essential tools for non-profit organizations to adapt to the digital age, expand their reach, and create a seamless donor experience. By embracing these services, non-profits can continue to make a significant impact on the causes they support.

QuickBooks For Non-profits

QuickBooks For Non-profits: The Complete Guide

Just because your business serves as a non-profit does not imply that you are not expected to manage your overall finances. As a matter of fact, a non-profit owner will understand it is immensely crucial to managing the respective finances quite meticulously. Non-profits are also expected to adhere to strict budgets and in-depth reporting of the spending. Moreover, due to the unique financial and legal setup of non-profit organizations, these agencies will face a challenging time going through a myriad of options for the best business accounting software solution.

In case you are in search of the best accounting software solution for your non-profit organization, you can consider the option of QuickBooks for non-profits. Eventually, QuickBooks serves to be one of the most popular and functional accounting solutions for a wide spectrum of businesses out there.

What is QuickBooks for Non-profits?

QuickBooks for non-profits serves to be an easy-to-use and powerful financial and accounting software that has been designed to meet the unique needs of non-profit organizations. It assists non-profit businesses in managing their respective finances more accurately and efficiently -right from the preparation of detailed account reports to tracking expenses and donations.

QuickBooks encompasses advanced features like reporting, forecasting, and budgeting capabilities that help non-profit units be organized as well as on top of the finances. The software solution is also aimed at helping organizations maximize their respective fundraising efforts while streamlining processes, managing staff and volunteers, and even tracking donations out of individuals.

With the help of QuickBooks for non-profits, all non-profit units out there can continue being focused on their respective mission while handling the varying complexities of the finances more efficiently. With a wide range of features of the accounting software solution, QuickBooks for non-profit organizations offers these organizations a comprehensive and user-friendly accounting package to help them manage their finances more accurately and efficiently.

Features Offered by QuickBooks for Non-profits

  • Budgeting and Forecasting

Budgeting and forecasting with the help of QuickBooks for non-profit organizations is a seamless process. The accounting software offers organizations user-friendly, interactive tools to help non-profit organizations create, track, and manage overall budgets that are customized to specific needs.

Organizations are provided the ability to go through detailed financial reports in real time. This feature enables them to ensure informed decisions efficiently and quickly. QuickBooks for non-profit organizations also offers agencies reminders and alerts to help them stay on top of their budgeting goals.

  • In-depth Reporting

As far as reporting is concerned, QuickBooks for non-profit organizations serves to be the ideal solution. The software offers you tailor-made reports enabling you to effectively track as well as monitor the overall performance over time.

With QuickBooks for non-profit organizations, you are capable of accessing financial data from multiple sources in a single place -saving you ample time and simplifying the entire reporting process. It is also possible to generate dedicated reports for particular date ranges. This functionality offers you a clear, in-depth picture of the finances of the organization. Moreover, QuickBooks also enables you to export data into different formats, like Excel, to ensure further analysis.

QuickBooks for non-profits also makes it simpler to share reports with stakeholders -like funders and board members. You can effectively create customized reports for a wide range of audiences while sending them out through email or attaching them to documents. This feature can assist you in clearly communicating the overall financial performance of the organization while offering stakeholders the necessary information they require for making informed decisions.

  • Donor Management

Managing donation and donor-specific data is crucial for all non-profit organizations. However, it can be difficult and time-consuming to manage. QuickBooks for non-profit organizations helps simplify the process through the consolidation of all donor-specific information in a single place.

The software enables you to store all the contact information of the donor along with their preferences as well as donation history into a single accessible format. This makes it simpler to streamline and manage donor-centric information while quickly generating donation reports.

The software solution also helps streamline the entire donation process -enabling you to effectively collect donations from multiple sources -like bank accounts and credit cards. QuickBooks for non-profit organizations helps in automating payment processing while offering customizable receipts for donors.

Moreover, you can also leverage the reporting features of the software to evaluate donor-specific data while creating detailed reports. This can help in identifying trends in offerings that can inform the respective fundraising strategy.

  • Staff & Volunteer Management

QuickBooks for non-profit organizations will make it simpler to manage volunteers and staff. The software offers access to tools to keep track of employee-centric information -like time-off requests, roles, and contact details.

Moreover, you can leverage the software solution to effectively track volunteer hours while managing tasks. The software solution also provides access to features -enabling team members to collaborate effectively on projects in real-time.

  • Automated Payments

QuickBooks for non-profit agencies delivers access to multiple automated payment options that help in reducing manual errors and escalating payment processing times. This encompasses features like automated invoice reminders, automatic deposits, and payment schedules. This helps in ensuring that all financial transactions are timely and accurate.

How QuickBooks for Non-profits Function?

Like with all other QuickBooks products, QuickBooks for non-profit agencies will require users to enter information about transactions with the help of familiar-looking forms -including checks, bills, invoices, and so more. The accounting takes place in the background. It makes the process simpler for volunteers and employees who are not accountants to help the non-profit with bookkeeping practices.

On an overall basis, QuickBooks for non-profit organizations is highly effective as far as reporting and fund accounting are concerned. While the non-profit editions by QuickBooks function in a similar manner in comparison to other QuickBooks products, the backend setup for non-profit organizations makes sure that the books are kept. Reporting is executed in compliance with the best practices for non-profit agencies. You can look forward to customizing, saving, and automating the delivery of the dedicated reports as required by the donors and board of directors. Most importantly, it can help you in organizing the information required every year to file Form 990 -the document that helps in providing public financial information about the non-profit agency.

QuickBooks Discounts for Non-profit Organizations

QuickBooks has partnered effectively with a leading non-profit tech marketplace, TechSoup, to provide discounted software solutions and subscriptions to non-profit agencies.

Out of the available options, the feature of QuickBooks Online Plus is not available with a non-profit edition but can be utilized for non-profit operations, including:

  • QuickBooks Online Plus
  • QuickBooks Online Advanced
  • QuickBooks Premier 2021
  • QuickBooks Enterprise Non-profit

It is crucial to understand that, starting with the QuickBooks Premier Desktop 2022 series, Intuit has gone ahead with adopting a subscription-based model. A discounted-based subscription model for QuickBooks Premier is not made available with the help of TechSoup. Let us assume that your non-profit organization requires features beyond the concept of basic accounting, including customer support, data backups, and payroll, and if you wish to leverage a desktop variant of QuickBooks, the pricing can vary.

What are the Benefits of QuickBooks for Non-profit Organizations?

  • Scalability: It is simple to start with a small-scale QuickBooks product -like QuickBooks Premier while converting to a highly robust product like QuickBooks Enterprise Non-profit as the non-profit organization continues growing. This helps you in effectively budgeting the technology dollars of the non-profit. You can also go ahead with customizing the fundraising and accounting functions of the non-profit with the help of multiple add-on applications available out there.
  • Ease of Finding Support: Most professional bookkeeper accountants, along with most business owners, remain familiar with QuickBooks products. Therefore, whether you require assistance from an accountant or wish to enlist the support of the volunteer team for ensuring bookkeeping, you will most likely come across individuals who are capable of supporting you.


Ultimately, it is your final decision to analyze whether or not QuickBooks for non-profit organizations is right for your non-profit business. To ensure the decision, you are expected to consider the particular features of the accounting software solution you require, the budget you want to work with, and how any of the specific solutions by QuickBooks for non-profits will or will not meet the specific requirements.

The best aspect of QuickBooks for non-profit organizations is that there is a solution available for organizations of all scales and sizes. For medium-sized to small-scale organizations, QuickBooks Premier serves to be a great fit. QuickBooks Online serves to be a great choice in some cases -particularly if you do not have any prior accounting experience.