Put yourself in this situation: You’re asking for donations in exchange for poppies in your hometown grocery store parking lot. How many times have you heard the classic “Sorry — I don’t have any cash”? Think about it, and ask yourself how this could be affecting the amount of payments and donations you collect.
We’re becoming more of a cashless society, becoming dependent on swiping our credit and debit cards. In turn, that makes it much more difficult for people to make a payment or donate when only cash is accepted. It may not be that people don’t want to donate; they simply may not have the means to make it happen.
So, why is it necessary to make an adjustment in your fundraising?
When you’re able to accept credit or debit cards, you can offer an alternative when they tell you they don’t have cash, giving you a better chance at collecting a donation.
Alternative ways to accept money
While cash likely won’t go away anytime soon, many businesses and organizations are already using alternative forms when it comes to exchanging money on the spot, including the American Legion Auxiliary National Headquarters.
For example, each year at National Convention, the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation hosts a #GivingTuesday booth, soliciting donations that are used toward making a difference in the health and quality of life of our military heroes. Of course, we happily accept cash and checks, but we can easily accept credit and debit cards through a system known as Square, a mobile payment company that offers an inexpensive alternative for processing credit and debit card payments. Funds are securely accepted using Android and Apple smartphones and tablets. After the transaction is made, a small fee is deducted, and the money is then safely deposited directly into the bank account of the receiver. These devices are also commonly used at flea markets, food trucks, craft fairs, etc.
“It is seen widely amongst nonprofit organizations to have different methods available, and that is evident as each organization is reaching out and providing multiple ways to give,” said Sara Riegel, ALA National Headquarters compliance officer.
Indiana ALA Unit 500 utilizes an alternative method to cash. Like Square, the unit has been using PayPal for several years to collect payments and donations while out and about. Unit Treasurer Melanie Findley said she can accept a payment or donation via credit or debit card anywhere and everywhere. For a minimal fee, funds are securely accepted using a wireless payment device. Findley said three people within the unit can accept payments and donations via PayPal.
“It’s really made a difference,” said Findley. “It’s just tapping into payments or donations that you might not have received, whether they didn’t have cash or checks. They usually have their credit card with them.”
Security behind modern payment/fundraising methods
Along with the simplicity, using one of these alternative methods provides another added benefit. Unfortunately, situations such as theft and loss happen. For example, a member may go to a community event(s) on behalf of their unit or Legion Family, taking money for a fundraiser, then brings the can of cash home, accidentally forgetting about it for a week.
When you donate via credit and debit card, your payment goes from point A to point B, easing the concern of cash being passed through multiple sets of hands.
As you make plans to hold future fundraisers and events, consider implementing and encouraging the use of these payment methods. It could make all the difference when it comes to receiving that extra donation.