Mobile Giving for non-profits 60% reduction

CTIA-The Wireless Association® Releases “Guidelines for Mobile Giving”

October 12, 2011

Adherence to the Guidelines provides qualified charities a 60 percent discount for text-to-give campaigns that use dedicated short codes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – CTIA-The Wireless Association® today released its “Guidelines for Mobile Giving” to provide qualified charities a framework and 60 percent discount for mobile giving campaigns that use short codes. Created after months of collaboration among carriers, mobile giving service providers, major non-profits and non-profit accreditation groups, the Guidelines provide charities with “best practices” to help them create successful and reputable mobile donation campaigns.

The use of text message short codes for charitable donations was initially developed after the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, and gained prominence after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

The “Guidelines for Mobile Giving” will provide qualifying charitable organizations greater control over their unique short code. While charities may continue to conduct campaigns on shared short codes, a dedicated code mitigates donor confusion for qualifying organizations.

To qualify to lease a unique code at the discount, a charity must be accredited by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance or receive three- or four-star rating from Charity Navigator. Accredited charities can mix communications, solicitations and mobile giving with their code as long as they follow the Mobile Marketing Association’s guidelines and provide consumers with a separate opt-in for each type of activity. In addition, a single code may be leased by chapter-based groups and used by all chapters or for unified campaigns.

“After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to Haiti’s earthquake to Japan’s tsunami, Americans have generously sent millions of dollars in charitable donations via their wireless devices. The ‘Guidelines’ will help provide consumers with peace-of-mind when sending a text donation while ensuring their accredited charities are in accordance to their donors’ intent,” said Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association.

For more information about CTIA Guidelines for Mobile Giving, please visit:


CTIA-The Wireless Association® ( is an international organization representing the wireless communications industry. Membership in the association includes wireless carriers and their suppliers, as well as providers and manufacturers of wireless data services and products. CTIA advocates on behalf of its members at all levels of government. The association also coordinates the industry’s voluntary best practices and initiatives, and sponsors the industry’s leading wireless tradeshows. CTIA was founded in 1984 and is based in Washington, D.C.

Non-profit credit card processing rates

Are there special credit card processing rates for non-profits?

Yes, there are special rates for non-profits. Specifically, there are special INTERCHANGE RATES. In order to qualify for them, you must be on a price plan that enables you to take advantage of them. We call this wholesale or interchange plus pricing. Typically we offer this for merchant accounts processing more than $1 M annually. Interchange plus is what large companies such as Home Depot or Barnes and Nobel pay. It always includes a % of the transaction, a per item fee, Visa/MasterCard dues and assessments, and a merchant discount. Over 95% of your costs are in the % of the transaction, so that is the area that must be controlled or MANAGED.

The most meaningful way to lower your costs is to hit levels of interchange with a lower rate. We can get your non-profit into a program where you’ll hit interchange rates lower than what most retail accounts pay, that is a lower % per transaction. Some of your transactions such as visa rewards cards will process at the same as for profit companies. However some transactions will process at a lower rate, usually at 20 basis points or .2% lower than the lowest rate for profit companies.

In my experience, most non-profits have not been offered these special interchange rates. You can save $2000-$10,000 per million dollars in donations just on this one item. National non-profits typically save 25-50% by implementing my recommendations and services. Which is easier? Finding a donor to give you $100,000 + every year, or calling me one time and saving that much on your expenses every year?

Here’s how you can check to see if you are getting the best rates for your non-profit.

First Look at your merchant statement. Go to the section, usually the last page or two, which shows INTERCHANGE COSTS. Do you have this section? If not, you are not on a price plan that lets you participate in the program.

Second. If you have the interchange cost section, you’ll see things like VISA RETAIL DEBIT, COMMERCIAL DATA RATE 2 ETC. Do you have one that says EMERGING MARKETS OR EMG MKT? If you do not see this category on any of your past statements, you are not participating in the program.

Both conditions are required whether you are accepting donations online or swiping cards for event registrations and auctions.
If you answered no to either question, and your non-profit is processing at least $1 million annually, please call and I will help you keep more donor dollars to use for your organization programs.

Would you like a PDF presentation with actual examples of what to look for on your merchant statement? Call the hotline 954-942-0483 and we will send it to you.

Ecommerce Credit Card Processing for non-profits

What are the best choices for accepting credit cards for online payments for non profit organizations? Google Checkout, Paypal Payments, and traditional merchant accounts cost analysis, plus all in one donation form with integrated payment solutions.

Paypal costs for 501c(3) non-profits

1.9% +$.30 per transaction for organizations with over $100,000 monthly volume
2.2% +$.30 per transaction for organizations with less than $100,000 monthly volume.
3.9% + $0.30 USD Transaction Fees for Cross-Border Payments – United States

Google Checkout costs for 501c(3) non-profits

Google Grants recipients are eligible to process donations for free until 2010 (need to buy Google AdWords)
Others pay these standard fees:

google checkout non-profit rates

Google checkout vs Paypal for non-profits:

It depends on the size of your organization. If you can only choose one, Paypal would be better due to wider acceptance.

Payment processing costs when included with online donation form generator:

Some web sites specialize in providing an all in one solution for non-profits to collect cash donations, create auction sign ups, or create event registrations.  The theory is you collect more money than you would normally (usually true), so it offsets any higher costs you may pay for the service which ranges from free to $29.95 per month and up plus other fees.

Merchant Services provider costs ie traditional merchant account and internet gateway

These numbers are going to be all over the place. So how can you tell if  you are getting a good deal?
A typical average is 3% effective rate for online credit card processing. This rate varies by target audience and many factors, and can be lower, but generally should not be higher. Non-profit merchant accounts with >3% credit card processing effective rates usually have hidden information, few details, or poor price plan.

View the entire presentation including pros & cons and actual examples of what to look for on your merchant statement. Recommendations are valid whether you have an ecommerce store, online donation form, recurring donor payments, event or one time donation.

Ecommerce Credit Card Processing for non-profits (PDF download)