Common Roadblocks to Social Donations

The ALS ice bucket challenge proved this summer that social is arguably the most explosive means for raising awareness and funds while connecting like-minded supporters together online. But not every social campaign reaches such a fever pitch. To help strengthen the weak spots in your next fund-raising campaign follow these payments processing best practices.

Don’t Make Donors Go Out of Stream – One of the fastest ways to scare off your donors is to ask them to enter their credit card information somewhere unfamiliar online. This not only puts a donation at risk for being abandoned today, but also leaves a lasting impression a lot of consumers won’t ever shake.

If you’re planning on using a third party to collect donations online, think again. In other words, if your soliciting donations via Facebook and you’re asking them to click on a link that will take them away from Facebook, plan on donors getting cold fingers and closing out of the donation box before the transaction is complete. With the rise of phishing and other online fraud, consumers know to beware.

Donors favor familiarity and that’s what you should give them. Choose to keep them in-stream where the interface stays the same. They’ll also appreciate staying on the page so they can easily get back to their social activities once the transaction is complete.

Use an Experienced Payments Processor – Inexperienced entities handling sensitive financial information is a recipe for disaster. If you’re asking your donor to trust a place like Twitter to properly secure their credit card information, you’re asking too much.  In a recent poll of online shoppers, 0 percent said they would trust Facebook with their credit card information. Five percent said they would trust Google. That’s in comparison with 60 percent who trust Amazon.

Using a trusted payments processor is the only way to go. Processing payments should be the core function of their business, not a skunkworks project used to capitalize on a trend. Teaming with an organization that not only processes millions upon millions of payments every month, but are also experts in fraud prevention and protection, will create that safe online giving environment your supporters demand.

Confirm, Confirm, Confirm –  Donors need to be reassured throughout each step of the giving process. Hold their hand by providing an initial credit card setup confirmation using something other than email, like a text message. This proves the validity of the process. Plan to send another confirmation when the transaction is complete to say “thanks” and provide a place for donors to log in and easily check their donation history. Providing this paper trail will build confidence and interest in giving again.

With these tips you can rise above your peers by not falling into the trap of working with payments startups that are typically more flash than function or social sites that were never intended to process transactions. Treating your donor’s money as the precious resource it is will be another key differentiator; always provide real-time updates so the donor knows their gift has arrived safely at its intended destination.