Why NFP boards should revisit their banking solutions


Just a few years ago, banking rarely made the agenda at not-for-profit (NFP) board meetings. Banking was merely a utility: a simple service (a bank account) that could be bought from the cheapest provider. But, today, the infrastructure behind an NFP’s financial purpose – to collect money to disperse to people who can’t collect it themselves – has grown substantially more complex.

Taking the first part of this process (collecting), donation tins and cheques have been largely superseded by consumer preferences for an ever more sophisticated range of digital payments. In many ways, this is good news. The ability to offer donors a choice of convenient payment touch points is helping NFPs by increasing opportunities for fund raising. NFPs are finding new donor audiences by developing an online presence beyond their websites, using apps, SMS and email campaigns that culminate in frictionless digital payments.

But tapping into the power of digital giving requires sophisticated payments processes supported by complex infrastructure that is constantly changing. As digital giving ramps up, even major banks are finding it hard to keep up with the most modern and efficient ways to collect money.

Payment collection platforms cut through the complexity

For many NFPs, the answer is to make a modest investment in connecting with a platform that can handle many different types of payments on their behalf – quickly, easily and automatically. The advantages include:

  • Diverse payment options – a good payments platform gives your donors a choice of BPay®, direct debit or credit card, as well as taking payments direct from your website, increasing the opportunities for giving. It also makes it easy for you to turn repeat donors into an automated recurring revenue stream.
  • Improved cash flow – electronic donations are submitted immediately, hitting your cash flow within 24 hours.
  • Lower admin costs – integrated with merchant gateways and software providers, a digital payments platform allows you to automate lengthy manual processes, significantly improving efficiency and taking costs permanently out of your operating model. The staff freed up from manual processing can focus their time and effort on fund raising activities.
  • Donor data – your platform can integrate with your management software to reconcile payments and match donors to donations. You can record all the information sitting behind the transaction for use in future campaigns. The system also saves valuable time by automatically generating email receipts and ensures receipting takes place every day – not just when staff are in the office.
  • Contactless donation points – at events, your provider can help you to set up ‘tap and go’ donation facilities that feed into your payments solution.
  • Room to grow – once payments are automated, you don’t need additional admin to accommodate high volumes, more events or different web sites. Your platform will expand with you, avoiding growing pains.
  • Expert support – your staff will largely manage the platform themselves, but they’ll also have the backing of a relationship manager and support team who can step in to assist with changes.
  • Future proofing – your provider will stay ahead of the curve for you, ensuring new payments technologies are built into the platform as they become popular.
Tapping into the power of digital giving requires sophisticated payments processes supported by complex infrastructure.

Outward payments processing

Turning to the second half of the process (dispersal), NFPs don’t just collect money – they distribute it to those in need. If your NFP makes regular payments to multiple beneficiaries, it’s also worth considering the efficiency dividend from outward payments solutions.

These banking services allow staff to carry out bulk payments easily and quickly by simply uploading the transactions in one file. Then, overnight, your provider will send out the payments for you, for immediate, cleared funds to your beneficiary This type of service further reduces your administrative burden and also rests the responsibility for quality and accuracy with your bank.

Take another look at your banking solutions

In our fast-paced digital world, being able to receive and record donations through multiple channels is an essential capability for most NFPs. As we move towards a cashless society, successful NFPs are focused on making it easy for donors to contribute – at the time, in the place and via the method of their choice. Those that do so in the most efficient way will greatly increase their ability to raise a sustainable line of funding for their important causes.

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Unless stated otherwise, this information has been prepared by Macquarie Bank Limited ABN 46 008 583 542 AFSL & Australian Credit Licence 237502 and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making any financial investment decision or a decision about whether to acquire a credit or lending product, a person should obtain and review the terms and conditions relating to that product and also seek independent financial, legal and taxation advice. All applications are subject to Macquarie’s standard credit approval criteria.