Good web app allowing fundraising participants to accept credit cards?
January 20, 2013 6:40 PM   Subscribe

I'm the director of a local road race that raises funds for our public school, and I'm looking for a reasonable online app that lets us solicit credit card donations via individual participant pages which would associate given donations with the participants who solicited them.

Generically accepting credit cards for online donations is fairly easy, and since we're a 501(c)(3), there are even good options out there that charge us lower fees for donations. But for this road race, we have a group of people who choose to raise money in return for a free bib; for these folks, we need to be able to tie donations to the specific people who raised the money (that's the way we know who gets the free entry to the race). So if John Doe wants to raise money for his bib, I need to be able to go into the web app, create a page for John, and then give him the URL so that he can let his friends and family donate via the page. The backend would then tell me that John's page generated $X in donations, and I'd know when he hit the level needed for his free entry.

We use an online race registration system that has this exact service in place, but its overhead charges are usury-level awful -- $1 per credit card transaction plus 6.5% of the total amount charged, which is way way way way higher than even the standard, much less the nonprofit, rates that we can get with Paypal, Stripe, or any of the other reasonable services. So I'm investigating what other options we have, and I'm sure that in 2013, someone has tied one of the fantastic new online credit card transaction engines into a system like this!
posted by delfuego to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure if Chipin does this for any sort of system that would let you set up possibly dozens to hundreds of fundraiser pages for participants, but they're a nice charity front-end for paypal and I bet only charge something in the low single digits.
posted by mathowie at 7:09 PM on January 20, 2013

Oh, there's also a local Portland company called Athletepath that started with race results/timing and moved into being a registration engine. They might offer something like that, but I've never used them for it. Here's their page for race directors.
posted by mathowie at 7:12 PM on January 20, 2013

The few systems I've seen used that look at least a little better are:

YouCaring - - Used by friends to help raise money for the husband's cancer treatment. No fees at all. Requires use of Paypal or Wepay, so those fees apply. Worked well.

Stay Classy - - Used by Pablove locally. They seem to have a little better rates and say they'll consider offering 'free' status to new, under $100k orgs.

Crowdrise - - Seen a couple time for things like building stair races and other non-traditional events. Again, rates aren't much better, but do offer non-profit rates.
posted by Argyle at 7:33 PM on January 20, 2013

This is exactly what crowdrise is for, but I think its fees may be too high for you-- $1 per transaction plus a 5% fee that covers credit card fees. Still, it might be worth looking into.

I have used them as a fundraiser, as well as donated money to fundraisers through them, and the platform is very user-friendly.
posted by matcha action at 7:34 PM on January 20, 2013

I managed a century ride for 5 years and do e-Comm for a living. Assuming is one of the ones you've used or looked at and the fees put you off, I think it should be considered that not only are they or anyone like them collecting your money, they're providing a registration and donation management service, marketing your event (a lot of athletes look at their schedules to find runs), and providing almost all the website services a local athletic event really needs. You're not going to beat 4-5% for this sort of thing or the company couldn't stay in business. The hard cost even at the "wholesale" level just for the credit card acceptance piece is 1-2%.
posted by randomkeystrike at 8:25 PM on January 20, 2013

I thought Just Giving was the norm for this, haven't heard of the other ones.
posted by devnull at 3:40 AM on January 21, 2013

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