Collecting online payments as a Non profit
Nonprofits need to collect online payments, just as businesses do. The difference between nonprofits and businesses is often found in the resources available. In my day job as the public relations coordinator for The Independence Center, a Colorado Springs nonprofit, I understand this firsthand. I manage our WordPress website and handle issues on a weekly basis that could be more easily solvable with a larger budget and a developer on hand. Our situation with lean resources as a nonprofit led to converting our non profit forms from PayPal to Stripe.
How I picked a WordPress form plugin
Formidable users may know me as a frequent writer on Formidable’s blog. This is in addition to my work at The Independence Center. While much of my work does involve public and media relations, I additionally handle our WordPress website maintenance. This make me the resident go-to person in the marketing department (total of 3 employees) for digital problem solving.
That's actually how I discovered Formidable Forms: while looking for a WordPress form plugin to capture a digital signature without developer customization. After comparing the major form builders, Formidable rose to the top as the most robust, economical solution for our nonprofit. I’ve since gone on to build a number of forms for our nonprofit with non-existent coding knowledge. Put simply, Formidable has been a life-saver.
The problem with collecting payments with PayPal
The most recent problem that Formidable Forms solved for our nonprofit, The Independence Center, was an ongoing dissatisfaction with how online PayPal payments were collected. We offer classes that require an application and online payment to be submitted together in order for a seat in the class to be reserved.
We were using the PayPal Forms plugin for Formidable. It was functional, but there were often applicants who submitted their applications and subsequently were sent to the PayPal payment page. For one reason or another, payments were abandoned or failed. Thus, applications were being submitted without payment. This made them null and void according to our policy. Due to limited manpower, we could not chase down the payments. It was an ongoing source of frustration for staff.
The other side of this coin was that sometimes payments were submitted without the form through a separate payment page. Because an applicant may have used someone else’s credit card (such as a parent’s card), the payee’s name wasn’t always the applicant’s name. This made the applicant difficult to match up to the payment.
Our finance team wasn’t happy.
While the “hold email notifications” feature in Formidable could have been deployed, it still didn’t solve the main issue. We needed a form that included the credit card payment WITH the application. So that when the form was submitted, both the application and the payment were intact and delivered together.
How Stripe Fixed the Problem that PayPal Standard Couldn’t
Steph at Formidable asked me to write a post on the new Stripe Forms plugin for Formidable. As I researched the post, the thought began to gather steam that Stripe was the answer for my problem at The Independence Center. Perhaps our answer was converting from PayPal to Stripe. Even though the Stripe plugin had not been released yet, I set about to gather buy-in from our internal stakeholders for converting from PayPal to Stripe. I wanted to be ready to implement when the Stripe plugin released.
The main draw for Stripe? The ability to accept online payments directly within a Formidable form without sending the client away from our WordPress site for payment.
Form + Payment in one package = Happy Finance Team.
Converting from PayPal to Stripe
Gathering internal stakeholder buy-in was not difficult when I presented the facts about a Stripe payment form. Plus, Stripe offered us a nonprofit rate of 2.2% (+ $.30 per transaction) compared to the 2.9%(+ $.30 per transaction) at PayPal. It was a win-win for our budget, staff, and customers.
Read part two and get a walkthrough of converting a non profit from PayPal to Stripe.
Or get started with the best WordPress form builder plugin today. Your non profit will thank you.