During one of our February webinars, Processing Payments for Good, we had a very inquisitive and active audience wanting to understand the finer details about how to get the best, safest, and most effective system for processing credit cards for their organizations.
There were so many questions coming in from attendees, in fact, that we did not have time to address all of them during the live session.
To help answer questions regarding credit card processing in general, and Dharma Merchant Services specifically, Dharma's Alexia Marcous has taken them time to answer them in writing.
Q. In your experience, to what extent does instituting a sustaining donor program increase donations?
A. We’ve seen that a sustaining donor program can easily double donation amounts. Consider this simple example: you could solicit donors for a one-time donation of $100, or you could encourage them to be a sustaining donor for $20/month, which amounts to $240 per year, and much more if there is no end date specified on the program.
Recurring donations also reduce operational costs, since the process is automated. They are convenient for young donors and helpful for older donors who might be on a fixed income. There is a great book about this called Hidden Gold by Harvey McKinnon that talks in depth about the benefits of a sustaining donor program and how to get one started.
Q. How does Dharma link an online donation to our organization's donor database?
A. To automate the recording of online donations, your donor database would need to be compatible with Authorize.net. If it is not, you would be able to export the donation records from Authorize.net and then would need to import them into your donor database.Q. Also, what's integration like with different content management systems?
A. Thankfully, the integration process is very straightforward if the content management system allows you to choose your own merchant service provider. The process usually entails providing them with a setup sheet that we provide to you. We always contact the content management system company and confirm the integration details for you.
Q. Are we able to deposit the transactions to multiple accounts? We have one physical terminal that goes to one bank account and for charges done by phone portal goes to separate account. Is this still possible with using Dharma?
A. Yes, as long as those transactions are running through two different merchant accounts. That definitely makes sense in your case because you would want to get the benefit of lower processing rates for swiping cards versus the higher card-not-present rates for charges done by the phone portal.
Q. Can I get clarification about using the old knuckle busters machines? Are they still legal?
A. Absolutely! Having your customer’s or donor’s signature on an imprinted receipt is a great way to protect against chargebacks, where you can provide proof that the cardholder authorized the charge. "Knuckle busters" are also great to have around in case your system goes down.
That said, there are a two important things to keep in mind: 1. You’ll still need to key the data into either a phone system or credit card terminal, and processing fees on keyed transactions are higher than swiping the credit card; and 2. You are responsible for securing your copy of the imprinted receipt, because it contains full cardholder data. This means it needs to be kept under lock and key, with restricted access.
Be extremely careful with this information because if it is compromised, you could be subject to fines from Visa or MasterCard. Treat those slips like they had your own credit card information on them!
Don't see your submitted question in this list? We will be reaching out to additional webinar participants with unanswered questions directly.
If you have more questions for Alexia about credit card processing or Dharma Merchant Services, feel free to contact her at AMarcous@dharmams.com. If you missed the webinar, or would just like to view it again, you can view the recorded session.
Kyla HuntWebinar ProducerTechSoup Global
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.
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