Could Your NonProfit Organization Use a Little Extra Dough?
Ok – that is a trick question because of course you’d love to earn more this year for your nonprofit or association! I’m going to share a secret and give you some simple steps to follow to make this year your nonprofit’s best financial year yet.
What’s the Secret?
Step 1 to increasing your online revenue is to integrate your website with an online payment gateway. You’ll want to apply for a CNP Merchant Account, (CNP stands for card not present), which will allow you to accept online credit card payments from your site visitors, donors and members easily.
Credit cards are fast and secure, making them the preferred payment method for your site visitors’ online purchases. If you don’t have a merchant account and are accepting online payments, then you are probably using a 3rd party like PayPal or Eventbrite to direct your site visitors to when they are making a purchase.
These 3rd party providers are great options for smaller organizations or the one time event, but for nonprofits with membership dues and renewals, regular event registrations, job posting fees, and other online payments coming in – you really will want to consider comparing payment gateway options and accept payments through your own website. In most cases, a Merchant Account will end up being cheaper than using a service like PayPal or Eventbrite in the long run.
Applying for a Merchant Account is actually pretty simple to do, and is the first step towards increasing your nonprofit’s online revenue. By integrating payment processing with your website, you also will have more control over the purchasing experience that your site visitors and members have. This will let you customize and personalize your website better so your site visitors will love coming back to your site.
Here’s some more information about the different merchant account providers that Tendenci integrates with and I recommend. There are links to the different pricing plans, FAQs and getting started guides for each of the different companies to help you make the best decision for your nonprofit.
What’s the Next Step?
You’ll want to determine what your organization has to offer of value to your community to better understand your current and potential sources of additional revenue.
Take out a piece of paper and a pen, or open up a Word or Google document and just start listing out all the things you are either charging for, or are doing for free that people ask for more of. Add things to your list that you’re not currently doing and getting requests to do too. Brainstorm with your staff and volunteers and let them add their ideas to your list. You may be surprised by how long your list grows. Non-profits often overlook their value and the opportunities they offer that they can charge fees to provide.
It is a common myth that the majority of a nonprofit’s revenue comes from donations and contributions.
Non-Profits Earn Revenue from Fees for Goods and Services
Don’t just take my word for it. Take a look at this chart below that displays revenues earned across different Tendenci modules for the past 3 years. Tendenci’s software integrates each of the different core modules with your merchant account payment gateway to accept online payments through your website. We compiled data from the last 3 years for the total revenues earned by nonprofit organizations’ Tendenci websites segmented by the different modules including event registrations, memberships, job directory listings, product sales (cart catalog), donations, training courses, and more.
These graphs display revenues earned as a percentage of the total in years 2009, 2010, and 2011:
The results of comparing this data tells us that the fees nonprofits earn online from event tickets and membership dues far exceeds fees earned from donations year after year.
If you want to earn more revenue online this year, host more and better events, focus on bringing in new members and increasing membership renewals, offer training courses and consider adding an online store if you have a gift shop. Offer more services and products for sale and focus less on asking for donations.
Looks Easy on Paper – How Do You Create and Manage These New Services?
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed right now – you are not alone. Start small, take your list that you made and put stars next to three items on the list that you think your organization has the budget and staff to accomplish this year. Start with those three and measure the results of their revenue generation this year as you implement them. Be sure to save your list, keep adding items to it, and return to the list when you’ve accomplished all three of your starred items. Pick three more things from the list and try those.
I also recommend you utilize technology to help you collect payments, manage your events and members, and report results of your activities so you can make better decisions on what worked, what didn’t work, and what you can improve upon and do more of next year. I also highly recommend you checkout TechSoup’s website, where you’ll find great reviews and special pricing for software exclusively for nonprofits as well as a Learning Center and a Community Forum where you can find help using unfamiliar technology.
I also recommend you give the new Tendenci CMS for NonProfit Websites a try!
Any More Tips?
Find creative and innovative ways to add value to your organization’s offerings. To help you get started, I’ve prepared a great presentation and online webinar to give you some creative ways to use your nonprofit website to earn more this year. You’ll find new ideas to use your website to promote your services, manage registrations, membership applications, job postings, training courses, and more plus collect payments and automatically generate invoices and receipts.
Find a copy of the presentation on Tendenci’s Slideshare plus additional presentations that show nonprofits how to create more effective online marketing campaigns.
We also have a free 30 day trial where you can start setting up a Tendenci website and try out some of these revenue generating ideas yourself. Tendenci enables you to create custom pricing for things like membership dues, jobs board postings, event registrations, and donations so that your nonprofit is able to generate the funds needed to grow without having to feel overwhelmed. If your current website isn’t doing enough for your nonprofit, come give Tendenci a try.
Check out these resources to help you create and set-up a Tendenci Community website:
Tendenci Training Videos – short videos that walk you through setting up the different modules included with your Tendenci website.
7-Step Guide with Help Files and Videos to take you through the first week of setting up a Tendenci website.