May 22 2015

10 Benefits of mPOS for Nonprofits

Mobile point-of-sale is revolutionizing the way nonprofits engage with donors.

Mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) solutions are streamlining the way nonprofit organizations sell goods and services, raise funds and collect donor data. Although the “sale” in mobile point-of-sale has traditionally led users to think primarily of retail transactions, the technology, in fact, has a number of advantages for nonprofits that wish to utilize it for fundraising.

These include:

Instantaneous transactions: By swiping their credit cards, donors instantly fulfill their pledge. This stands in contrast to the time-consuming and cumbersome process of following up on pledges through phone calls and mailings. The point-of-sale transaction reduces costs for postage, phone bills and staff time, while eliminating unfulfilled pledges.

Data collection: Before donors swipe their cards, they may be asked to enter contact information, including their phone number, email address and mailing address. The information can be instantly stored for future use, eliminating the cost of data entry — and also removing illegible pledge cards.

Human interaction: Nonprofit staff members can share their enthusiasm and passion for the organization’s programs while talking to potential donors, who, in turn, may be inspired to increase the size of their gift. In the for-profit space, some companies have reported increased sales when switching to mPOS systems, and this effect may translate to the nonprofit world as well.

Email receipts: Donors can get receipts for their gifts automatically, via email. This reduces paperwork for nonprofits and also provides a convenient service for donors, many of whom want donation records for tax purposes.

Reduced paper: The paperless nature of mPOS technology not only saves time (previously spent on paperwork) and money (previously spent on paper and printing), but it also reduces waste — a feature that may align with the mission of some nonprofits.

Cashless (and checkless) donations: Not everyone remembers to bring a checkbook to a benefit dinner, just as not everyone who is asked to make a small donation at a rally or other event will have cash on hand. Mobile POS technology allows donors to give using the method they utilize most often in their daily lives: a credit or debit card. The technology also facilitates the cashless purchase of small items sometimes associated with nonprofit fund drives. For example, the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts have sold cookies and popcorn using mPOS systems.

Compliance: Organizations that utilize mPOS technology often face a reduced Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance burden than those that accept credit card payments via fixed point-of-sale systems. Mobile POS solutions generally involve fewer devices that must comply with the standard. Fixed point-of-sale systems may involve sales terminals, PCs, store servers, centralized servers and payment gateways, all of which must meet PCI standards.

Event promotion: Nonprofits can promote future events on the screen of an mPOS device or automatically email donors about upcoming benefits.

Price: Although mPOS solutions come with several associated costs (such as hardware, software and maintenance), these are typically lower than fixed point-of-sale solutions.

Security: Data from mPOS transactions is often stored and managed in the cloud, meaning that lost or stolen devices will not result in lost or stolen donor information. An mPOS solution should support the PCI DSS Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) program. End-to-end encryption ensures that data is scrambled upon receipt and remains so throughout its journey to where it will be stored.

A small investment in mobile POS technology can make a big difference to a non-profit’s bottom line. With the aid of mPOS solutions, nonprofits can improve operational efficiency, customize interactions with donors, reduce the organization’s environmental impact and facilitate exceptional customer support – all at an affordable price.

This piece was excerpted from CDW’s white paper “The Secrets of Mobile POS for Fundraising.” Download the full white paper.