A variety of factors is making fundraising increasingly challenging for nonprofits.
In 2018, US charities saw the first overall drop in donations from individuals since the great recession. The reasons are varied and include rising income inequality (leading to an effective decrease in disposable income among individuals) and a change in US tax law that made it more difficult for individuals to claim tax breaks for charitable donations.
Traditional payment methods, such as cash and cheque, are also waning in popularity. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco reported that cash was used in only 26% of transactions in 2018 compared to 30% in 2017. This trend is reflected in how donors give to nonprofits as well, with the use of cash declining and contactless spending rising.
The increasingly competitive and evolving market for donations means that organizations that provide customers with a convenient, hassle-free experience and as many options as possible are more likely to generate more revenue. For nonprofits, this means providing a convenient donation experience that would make donors want to give more and do so more frequently.
Events, such as auctions, are increasingly being conducted with innovative digital solutions such as mobile bidding. Events with large guest and item counts, as well as fundraising auctions dependent on a few volunteers in the registration and check out process, may find mobile bidding particularly helpful. In addition, mobile bidding provides participants at auctions with more convenience (especially during silent auctions) and also livens up the sometimes dreary bidding process.
Nonprofits can provide donors with more convenience in other ways as well. For example, they can accept payments via USB card readers connected to the iATS Payments mobile app, which securely processes payments and deposits the proceeds into the nonprofit’s bank account.
In some instances, nonprofits are unable to maximize donations because of technical difficulties, the most prevalent being an unreliable or nonexistent internet connection. Such a situation not only leads to less funds raised for events that still require time and effort for organizers but also can be the cause of much frustration for donors.
Luckily, there is a solution. The iATS Payments Mobile App has a store and forward feature that securely stores payment information offline in the absence of an internet connection and processes the transaction when the connection is reestablished. This feature provides an additional layer of convenience and peace of mind to both donors and merchants by not requiring them to repeat transactions. In the event of an unreliable internet connection, nonprofits can continue fundraising without worrying about losing out on donations. At the same time, donors do not have to go to the trouble of swiping their cards again to support the organization of their choice.
Technological innovation has allowed organizations of all sizes to collect more funds more quickly and with less effort and expense. The International China Concern (ICC), a Christian development organization working with children with disabilities in China, utilized the iATS Payments mobile app to increase donations by 400% at their annual fundraiser in 2019 compared to 2018 when they accepted only cash donations. Organizations such as the ICC can utilize the time and resources thus saved and the high proceeds generated on supporting social and environmental causes that play a vital role in improving their communities.
While a fundamental shift in donor behaviour can cause significant unease for organizations that are dependent on every dollar they receive, it is also ripe with possibility. Nonprofits that seize this moment will edge ahead; wowing with an exceptional experience for donors and maximizing the funds needed to fuel their cause.