Technology is dramatically changing the way nonprofits raise funds, first with the advent of online giving and then through mobile giving and social media campaigns. Nonprofits that have adopted new technologies have been rewarded with increased donations.
Mobile point of sale (mPOS) solutions are among the most effective technology tools for fundraising. Just as online and mobile donations have streamlined the process of mailing a check to an organization, mPOS puts an end to filling out pledge cards or writing checks at fundraising events. Nonprofits that deploy mPOS solutions find that these tools improve personal interactions with donors, allowing for speedier, more efficient donations while enabling data capture and analysis efforts.
Transforming Face-to-Face Fundraising
Most mPOS solutions are built around smartphone or tablet devices and employ peripherals to authenticate credit cards, print receipts and handle other checkout chores. For nonprofits, mPOS offers a flexible and affordable way to expedite in-person donations. Among the benefits:
- Instantaneous transactions: With the swipe of a credit card, donors fulfill pledges that in the past relied on the time-consuming and cumbersome process of following up on pledges through phone calls and mailings. Mobile POS transactions reduce 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 phone number, email and mailing address. The information can be instantly stored for future use.
- Price: Although mPOS solutions come with associated costs (such as hardware, software and maintenance), these are typically lower than for fixed point-of-sale solutions.
- Security: Data from mPOS transactions is often stored and managed in the cloud, meaning that lost or stolen devices won’t result in lost information about donors. An mPOS solution should support the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (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 on store systems.
Behind mPOS solutions are integrated systems comprising several different hardware and software components. These include:
- Magnetic card and chip readers: These attach to smartphones and tablets, allowing agents to swipe or read credit and debit cards for payment.
- Computing devices: Smartphones and tablets are widely used, while some organizations prefer ruggedized devices built to withstand the rigors of field operation.
- Point-of-sale software: Many mobile applications are available to help nonprofits accept donations, with a wide array of costs and feature options, such as reporting functions, location tracking and donor emailing.
- Receipt printers: A receipt printer gives donors the option of receiving paper receipts, rather than receiving them only via email.
- Wireless infrastructure: Internet access is required for mobile point-of-sale systems.
These components can be assembled in ways suited to each organization’s fundraising needs. For example, some software products integrate with nonprofit accounting, management and event software. The choices available in each product category allow an organization to tailor the technology to its needs.
Ready to shake things up? Download the free white paper, "A Technology Boost for Fundraising," to learn more about:
- improving relationships with donors through mobile apps
- the path to data integration
- data analytics tools that provide actionable insights
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