Maximizing Donations and Retail Sales for the Holidays

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 The 2012 holiday season is upon us, and consumers and businesses alike are gearing up for the biggest spending time of the year. Soon, non-profits and charities will be doubling efforts to obtain more donations by getting creative with campaigns, adding incentives for those who donate, and hiring freelancers for cold calls. On the other hand, retailers are preparing their businesses to keep up with high demand by hiring seasonal employees, ordering extra inventory, and planning holiday promotions for last minute shoppers.

 On the Intuit PaymentNetwork (IPN) team, we work with many nonprofits and retailers who come to us with a similar problem: How do I get more sales? When a nonprofit is fighting for donors, how can they make it simpler than ever to donate? When a retailer is clawing for customers, how can we help them increase conversion rates? Here are some tips for nonprofits and retailers to get a jump on the busy season to maximize donations and profits, and save time in the process:

 For Nonprofits: ‘Tis the season of giving, so make sure you can accept plastic: Research from The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University shows that charitable giving is at its peak during the holiday season. In fact, forty-six percent of non-profit groups receive a majority of their annual contributions in the fourth quarter, making it a critical time of the year to meet fundraising goals. Many reports show that charitable giving was up in 2011, with large organizations such as the Salvation Army and American Red Cross seeing donations increase as much as five percent from 2010. But the same sunny picture isn’t necessarily true for smaller charities with fewer resources. Una Osili, director of research at the Center on Philanthropy, says large non-profits are able to collect more donations than smaller organizations because they are more established and have larger cash reserves and more diversified funding streams. In contrast, smaller charities who depend primarily on cash or check donations have the hardest time meeting their bottom line, and see almost no donation increase year-over-year (only .02 percent a year, according to the Center on Philanthropy).

 What does this mean? As consumers rely more on credit/debit cards and online payment methods, it’s critical that charities respond by catering to these habits – adopting technologies for online payment methods to exist in an online and mobile payments world.

 There are many online systems that charities can use to accept online payments, such as PayPal, Google Checkout, JustGive, and our own Intuit PaymentNetwork. When evaluating options, organizations should research the transaction fees associated with credit or debit card transactions, as well as the bank to bank transfer fees to ensure they are getting the most out of their donations. For example, the Intuit PaymentNetwork only charges a flat rate of 50 cents for a bank-to-bank transfer. Regardless if a consumer donates fifty dollars or five thousand dollars, the charity or non-profit will only be charged 50 cents for the transaction fee. Since each transaction fee that is taken from a donation hurts the non-profit’s bottom line, using a system with low bank to bank transfer fees or a low transaction rate can save hundreds of dollars on a single donation.

 Below is a breakdown of transaction fees for the aforementioned products:

 

Payment Solution Provider

Fee for B to B Transaction

% Fee for Credit Transaction

IPN

50 Cents

3.25%

JustGive

Not Available

4.5%

Google Checkout

Not Available

2.9% + $0.30 per transaction

PayPal

2.9% + $0.30 per transaction (for goods and services)

2.9% + $0.30 per transaction

 

 Choosing the right online solution to collect donations will help shave unnecessary overhead costs to help nonprofits do what they do best: give back.

 shoppersFor Retailers: ‘Tis the season of buying online: Online sales are growing at a rapid pace according to a new report by the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), a U.K. online retail trade organization. The study estimates that worldwide business-to-consumer e-commerce sales in 2011 increased to $961 billion, an increase of close to twenty percent from a year earlier with the United States remaining the world’s single biggest e-commerce market. During the holiday season and into the New Year, “winning” retailers will be those who master their online portals in addition to their brick and mortar stores.

 Specifically, small business owners who are looking to capitalize on this busy spending season should:

  • Take Payment Method Inventory: Shopping cart abandonment can occur in-store and online. According to Listrak, abandoned shopping carts cost online retailers $18 billion a year. Before the holiday rush, take time to ensure your business can accept multiple methods of payment to avoid missed sales.
  • Get Personalized and Go Social: Look for services that offer personalized payment links, which allow businesses to create custom links for goods or services. These can be shared on Facebook pages, Twitter, email or websites to make sure customers always have an easy and customizable way to pay.
  • Get Mobile: In addition to the uptick in online shopping, shopping on mobile devices has also risen. IBM’s Black Friday report from 2011 showed mobile traffic grew by more than 200 percent. Although they can be costly to build and deploy, mobile apps are an increasingly valuable marketing and sales tool for small businesses. They give consumers the ability to purchase from their favorite stores, anywhere, any time. Startups like Bizness Apps and services like AppMakR and SwebApps offer affordable alternatives to help small business owners keep up with this trend and connect with consumers this holiday season.
  • Skip the Lines: For brick and mortar stores struggling with long lines during the holiday season, implementing GoPayment in-store is a simple fix. This device simply plugs into iPhones and Android phones and can swipe cards anywhere in-store cutting down customer waiting and decreasing lost sales due to cart abandonment.

 With the holiday boom in mind, and all signs pointing toward paperless purchases, a little strategic preparation paired with a positive outlook and the right payment solution will help your small business or nonprofit keep up with fundraising and payment needs. Happy holidays!    

 

 


 

 About the Author:

Mimi Turner is an expert in Strategic Payment Initiatives at Intuit PaymentNetwork.


 

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