Is there a simple, inexpensive, electronic way for a community association to receive dues and other payments?
I am the treasurer of my community association. My duties include:
• Collecting dues from residents.
• Collecting admission fees for social events and two charitable fundraisers, a 5K race and neighborhood festival.
• Reimbursing those neighbors who purchase items out of pocket for the setup/decoration/food preparation for social events.
• Paying bills for landscaping and other contractors. (Most of the voluntary dues go to landscaping.)
I have been able to pay the landscaper and some of the other vendors electronically, using the online bill-paying offered by our bank. Otherwise everything
I do is via checks. This is difficult enough when I’m paying people (usually my neighbors, who’ve come to expect a personal check from the treasurer), but much
more so when it comes to depositing checks I’ve received. The problem is most acute with the dues checks, but, after every social event, I wind up manually depositing a few hundred checks.
My question: I’d like to know if there is a secure, reliable and simple online method for my neighbors to pay their dues and social event fees online.
• We’re classified as a 501(c)(4) organization – as I understand it, this means that we are a tax-exempt community association, but also means that those who pay money to us may not deduct their payments if they itemize their deductions on their personal income tax returns. Such itemized deductions are apparently limited to contributions to 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. I think our 501(c)(4) status renders options like Network for Good unavailable or inappropriate – please advise if you disagree, however!
• Some of my fellow board members have expressed concern about having residents tie their online payments to credit cards. They’d prefer that the residents use an online system that is only connected to the residents’ bank accounts. I believe PayPal can work this way, but I’m unaware of other options that might work. If this is totally unrealistic, I’d appreciate knowing that, too.
• Online payment processing is a subject about which I know very little – the simpler the explanation, the better! I’ve perused the various PayPal questions
and this one
in particular, but I don’t think this specific question has been raised. I looked at the links identified in this question
to see if any of the listed neighborhood web sites use online payment, but I didn’t see anything promising. This
sounded promising and was the only seemingly relevant link I found through Google, but (for me, at least) the site is down.
Many thanks in advance for any thoughts or suggestions.