What mobile payment options mean for nonprofits

The way people pay for products is changing again as more consumers use their smartphones in place of wallets. One tap of the phone to launch an app and a simple scan is all it takes to pay for goods and services. Meanwhile, the not-for-profit sector hopes the recent technologies will make it easier and faster to accept online donations.

Apple Pay, Google Wallet and other mobile payment apps make transactions fast, safe and secure by storing credit and debit card information within the apps themselves. The payment option is also a boon for nonprofits seeking donations as donors can send money immediately without doing much more than pressing a button. Instantaneous aid also takes less steps than text message donations that charities, such as the American Red Cross, use.

The Facts
With the advent of Apple Pay in October 2014, the payment form has taken off as mobile payments are expected to hit $142 billion by 2019, according to a 2014 Forrester Research study.

Apple, Disney and Starbucks already employ the payment method and nonprofits could reap the benefits from taking smartphone donations as well. Apple put a ban on apps in their online store from explicitly asking for donations, according to The Nonprofit Times, making online giving more complex. A potential donor may download a charity's app but then is redirected to the nonprofit's website to make their donation. According to The Nonprofit Times, the complicated process may dissuade givers on the go with limited time.

Apps that require users to sign in multiple times with their billing information can effect whether nonprofits receive donations as businesses fight for recognition while consumers' attention spans get shorter.

Apple Pay eliminated multiple sign ins, giving donors a fast way to donate without a second guessing the donation. Therefore, a person walking by a charity's booth at an event can instantly become a donor without the charity having to process a check or donation at a later date. Apple Pay also streamlines the process for nonprofits since the organizations no longer have to keep donor financial information on file or repeatedly swipe donor credit cards.

There are many different ways for nonprofits to accept mobile. For instance, donors can access mobile donation forms through their phones’ internet browser or send a donation via text message.

Nonprofits also have the option to create mobile applications that provide supporters with valuable information and direct them to different donation methods.

An easy click to give $5 or $10 can add up if nonprofits and charities embrace mobile payments. Donation apps can be beneficial for both nonprofits and donors by saving time for both.

Mobile donations also benefit donors by giving them a quick and easy way to give, which could lead to more donations (another advantage for nonprofits!)

Let’s look at three ways that mobile donations change how donors can contribute to nonprofits.

Fast, User-Friendly Donations

With text-to-give and mobile donations, the process only takes a few steps to complete. If it’s the donor’s first time giving, the process may take more time. Mobile giving is also very intuitive. After a quick lesson, donors complete the process and feel comfortable making future mobile donations.

Convenient Donation Method

Since most people have their phones with them at all times, mobile donations are not only an easy way to give, but they're also convenient.

Unlike direct mail or using a computer, mobile donations don’t have the same limitations. When donors have to wait until they have access to a computer or their checkbook, for instance, they may forget to donate.

With mobile donations, donors can give anytime they have their phone (which is most likely all the time!).

Secure Payment Processing

A big concern for most donors is payment security. Just like any online donation form, mobile donations are as (if not more) secure as any other form of giving.

Why is this? To make a mobile donation, donors usually have to go through other security measures to ensure that they are the person they say they are. An example of this extra security is 2-factor authentication, which requires donors to use their phone number and email address to confirm a donation.


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