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Cash Alternatives

Have you noticed that more businesses are not accepting cash – folding money, coins? Have you also noticed how impatient you are when someone is paying for their groceries with a check that they have to fill out and sign? Heaven forbid that a transaction takes more than 5 seconds.

Keeping customer experience from last month’s newsletter in mind, what are you doing to make your donor’s options to give as inclusive as possible?

  • Venmo, Zelle, CashApp, etc.: These peer-to-peer (P2P) digital payment services are not FDIC insured and are meant to be used between people who know each other. The exception is Venmo. A nonprofit can get an official Venmo profile after their 501c3 status is validated by PayPal.
  • Alternative currencies: Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have been around since 2009 and in my opinion, not a safe bet for nonprofits. However, your gift acceptance policy should give direction on whether or not to accept cryptocurrencies and what to do with it once it is accepted by your organization.
  • Stock and other securities: A nonprofit needs a brokerage account to accept stocks. Your bank or a brokerage house can help with this and should charge a minimal fee or do it pro bono. There are third party companies that can handle these gifts for you. Again, it’s important to have a section in your gift acceptance policy relating to the acceptance and sale of stock gifts. Keep it simple and sell it within a few days.
  • Bequests: Most donors who have included a nonprofit in their wills, do not inform the nonprofit ahead of time. It’s a surprise! Nonprofits should let their donors know that a bequest or estate gift would be gratefully accepted.
  • In-kind: Whether your nonprofit accepts cans of food, real estate, or fine art your gift acceptance policy should outline whether these types of gifts are accepted, under what conditions and how to dispose of them.
  • Checks: Many donors over 65 years of age use checks. When you send a mailing by USPS, include a self-addressed return envelope. When you send an email appeal, include your mailing address.
  • Credit cards: Make sure your website and donation page are secure by being PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant. The padlock icon and the “https” prefix indicate that the connection between your web browser and website is encrypted.
  • Cash: Have a protocol in place so your staff knows what to do with cash donations.

Taking a cue from the marketplace, nonprofit leaders and fundraisers should make our donors’ experiences as seamless as possible. Make it easy for them to support your organization and let them know you appreciate their support; however, they decide to give.

DMGroupConsulting, is your frontline fundraising consultant. Contact us at