How To Evaluate Charity Payment Solutions For Non-Profit Software Companies

Almost $500 billion dollars—that’s how much Americans donated in 2022. With 63% of donors preferring to make online payments with a debit or credit card, it’s important that nonprofits and charity organizations take a forward-thinking fundraising approach to maximize the impact they can make.

While previously many nonprofits only had the option to use payment processors like PayPal, Stripe, or Square, there’s been a shift towards independent software vendors (ISVs) that offer integrated payments. This means the entire donation process can be handled entirely on your own platform, improving conversions by minimizing friction.

With a range of nonprofit payment processing tools, it’s hard to assess which platform can help your nonprofit process donations easily. And since you’ll need to juggle key factors like ensuring donor trust, and having top-notch security for all online payment methods, it’s likely you’ll have to evaluate quite a few options to find the right pick for you. Don’t worry: today, we’ll help you find the best charity payment solution for your nonprofit.


  • Key features your charity payment solution should cover include PCI compliance and security, streamlined integrations, a great user experience, reporting and analytics, and customization and flexibility.
  • It’s important to evaluate the pricing models (tiered, flat-rate, and interchange-plus) and go for a provider without hidden fees.
  • Make sure you consult key stakeholders, read independent customer reviews, and try out the payments solution before committing to an integrated payments solution.
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Key Features to Look for in Charity Payment Solutions

  • Security and compliance: It’s critical that nonprofits offer robust security and comply with regulatory requirements. Not only is this best practice, but it’s paramount that your software’s credit card processing provider grants peace of mind to your users so they know donor data is handled safely. Opt for a provider that adheres to the PCI DSS (payment standards set by associations like Visa, Mastercard, and American Express) and ideally ensure they offer Level 1 PCI Compliance.
  • User experience and integrations: Look for a provider that makes it easy to collect donations, whether the submerchant using a card reader for in-person donations or want to receive donations via methods such as digital wallets (like Google Pay) or ACH. It should allow people to use custom integrations to not only ensure the checkout experience matches your website’s style, but also to connect to productivity applications to streamline your workflow.
  • Reporting and analytics: How can you be sure fundraising campaigns and marketing efforts are paying off? The importance of detailed reporting for tracking fundraising effectiveness is crucial. By using a charity payment solutions provider offering real-time analytics, users can track donation trends, manage your CRM, and make smarter, data-driven decisions to boost donations and improve the charity’s reputation.
  • Customization and flexibility: A stellar payments solution for your nonprofit SaaS sof will adapt to your way of working, not vice versa. This can include flexible payment options (one-time vs. recurring donations), omni-channel payments through the same merchant account by using just one API, and white-labeled donation forms and receipts to increase customer loyalty. If in doubt, just start by drawing up a list of what’re must-haves and nice-to-haves for software and the organizations your serve. If they can’t meet your must-haves, it’s back to the drawing board!

Finally, make sure you don’t only listen to what the potential providers have to say themselves: check out what customers are saying, for example on Trustpilot. Pay close attention to what kind of vendor support you’ll get: if something goes wrong, how easy is it to speak to a real human?

Evaluating Costs and Pricing Models

In the world of payment processing, there are a few main pricing models used. Here’s a quick breakdown on the pros and cons of each method.

  • Tiered pricing: Credit and debit transactions are usually split into one of 3 different tiers: qualified, mid-qualified, and non-qualified, with the latter having the highest rates. While statements might be easier to read, this comes with a lot of hidden costs, and you’ll often be quoted the cheapest rate for qualified transactions, but in actuality often end up paying higher rates.
  • Interchange-plus: This provides detailed statements that include interchange fees alongside the markup the payment processor charges, which lends itself to more transparent pricing, especially between different providers. However, it can be harder for nonprofits to understand due to the level of detail from combining interchange rates and card network assessments. For higher-volume businesses, you can save on transaction fees.
  • Flat-rate: This is a fixed percentage added on top of each transaction, which makes it simple and easy-to-understand. However, you might overpay for processing, since it’s all built into the initial percentage, providing the illusion of saving on fees.

At Stax Connect, we work with a subscription-based model with a 0% markup on direct-cost interchange. For as little as $99/month, merchants have access to hosted payment pages, our powerful analytics, and a range of white-labeled solutions to supercharge growth. 

Case Study: Driving Effortless Digital Donations Through Stax Connect

Chrimata provides non-profits a seamless way to give and receive contributions digitally. Originally, Chrimata partnered with an Independent Sales Organization, but there were platform inefficiencies and a lack of technical expertise that made Chrimata’s founder look for a new provider with a user-first approach. The nonprofit software required an in-depth ISV partnership that offered integrated payments solutions with a focus on technology and customer experience, and Stax Connect was the perfect fit.

By reducing friction during onboarding, we could provide nonprofit users with better payment processing tracking data, maximizing value with Chrimata’s customizable payment platform. Some of the solutions we provided included recurring ACH payments, branded in-house terminals, and expedited internal reconciliation, allowing Chrimata to exceed their user adoption goals in 2020 and increase monthly sub-merchant processing volume by over 900% – all within just two months of launch. For the full story, read the article here.

Making the Final Decision

We’ve covered a lot of ground today, but the most important step is the final one: deciding which charity payment solution to use! Once you’ve found your top picks that have the key functionalities we talked about earlier, get feedback from other key stakeholders to make sure there’s nothing you’ve missed. Then, see if the shortlisted providers offer a trial or demo. Once you feel confident that you’ve made the right decision, it’s time to make the switch and get set up for success.

The Stax Connect Difference

As an award-winning payment technology leader, Stax Connect is designed to help nonprofits and charities access world-class payment processing. From debit card to Apple Pay to ACH payments, we make online fundraising and giving safe, secure, and streamlined, and do all the hard work so you can focus on getting more donors. And with our transparent subscription-based model, you can ensure you have more money going to the causes you support. Just how it should be.

Streamline payment acceptance and grow your nonprofit today with our comprehensive payment solution. Contact Stax Connect for more information.

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