Development Audits

Articles and information for conducting development assessments.


Client Advisory – Innovating Your Donations Processes

Originally published May 27, 2015

This month, The Chronicle of Philanthropy identified expanding mobile payments as a top trend in online fundraising1. A 2014 Forrester report predicts that mobile payments will grow from $52 billion in 2014 to $142 billion by 20192. Interestingly, the Chronicle notes that, while innovation in mobile payments is being driven primarily by technology vendors rather than consumer demand, forward-thinking executives should expect this gap to narrow very quickly.

Applications such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay will lead the charge in mobile payment innovation, but nonprofits can expect to fall behind if not following closely. Some nonprofits are keeping pace, particularly in accepting alternate forms of currency such as Bitcoin. American Red Cross, Greenpeace, United Way, and other select organizations have made recent headlines with their openness to accept the alternate currency. Many organizations have made good use of “text to give” services. However few nonprofits have achieved the simplicity that characterizes Google Wallet and Apple Pay in their donations processes, whether online or mobile.

Since technology in this area is changing rapidly, partnering with a solid vendor is critical. Below are a few key questions to ask when considering partnering with a payment vendor:

  • Is the vendor ready to innovate? A cutting-edge vision can be great but can be quickly stifled by a credit card processor that isn’t keeping up with current technology. If you aren’t hearing news from your vendor regarding mobile app development and other innovations, this may be a red flag regarding your future plans.
  • Are your processors and payment merchants on the same page? There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to accepting electronic payments. To make changes, you need to make sure your processors are ready to be innovative but also are in sync with your existing merchant accounts.
  • Involve your finance department, auditors, and compliance departments early. It’s important to be flexible enough to adapt to change, but change cannot be enacted at the expense of regulations and lax security. Involve other departments that might have a stake in processing changes early in the process to avoid being sidetracked by concerns later.

Whether you have concerns about your existing payment structure or would like help planning for the future, the systems and operations division of Bentz Whaley Flessner can help. Our expertise and experience working with a variety of clients and vendors can help you prepare for rapid technology changes.

1“Online Fundraising Trends to Watch.” The Chronicle of Philanthropy. May 4, 2015.

2“Denée Carrington’s Blog.” US Mobile Payments Will Reach $142B By 2019. November 17, 2014.

Copyright © 2015 Bentz Whaley Flessner & Associates, Inc.