International Donations for Nonprofits

International Donations for Nonprofits

September 29, 2016 Lynette Garet Business Basics 0 Comment

How to Facilitate International Donations to Boost Your Nonprofit


Increasingly, international donors from emerging economies are considering U.S. nonprofits with missions that match their interests: poverty relief, global warming/climate change, sustainability. In Asia alone, experts expect the number of millionaires to surpass numbers for their U.S. counterparts. As a result, American NPOs are beginning to court international donors to globalize and diversify their donor bases.


At issue is how to facilitate those online donations while addressing issues such as originating currencies, exchange rates and payment processing fees that eat away at a donor’s total contribution and complicate your site’s payment gateway options.


Nonprofit donations made via international banking are increasing, but depend on geography and infrastructure. Direct deposit is common in Western Europe, South Africa and larger South American markets and growing in Asia and the Middle East. In East African countries, mobile payments via mPensa are the norm. Eastern Europeans with bank accounts tend to be rare, while in South America credit cards are the usual donation vehicle.


Payment processors


Credit card companies will charge your nonprofit 2 to 3 percent in merchant processing fees. Capital One’s No Hassle Giving program waives processing fees, while VISA offers a modestly discounted fee to nonprofits. Typically, banks will charge the donor’s credit card a percentage of the total amount as a currency conversion fee.


Nonprofit Hub and Ironpaper agree on the top online payment processors with a few tweaks in the ranking:


  • PayPal Donations – works well for existing users, as well as one-time donors giving via credit card; offers donate button widget that, with a bit of additional html coding will collect user information. Cost: 2.2 percent, plus $0.30 per transaction; international donations incur a 6.4 percent fee that includes a base rate of 2.4 percent, cross border fee of 0.5 percent and a currency conversion fee of 2.5 percent.


  • First Giving – designed specifically for nonprofits, it integrates other donor management tools and platforms to manage direct donations, donor communications, events and grassroots campaigns. Cost: standard 7.5 percent fee, 5 percent for support and enhancements, 2.5 percent in credit card processing fees; online event registration is an additional 4.25 percent.


  • DonateNow Lite – a Network for Good product that handles recurring donations and offers a branded fundraising page. Cost: 5 percent transaction fee


  • Google Wallet – formerly Google Checkout, offers little in the way of personalization but the Google brand may reassure donors. Cost: Standard 2.9 percent, plus $0.30 per transaction; under Checkout nonprofits could apply for a Google Grant that if granted retroactively waived credit card processing fees, whether that holds true for Wallet is unknown.


  • Razoo – also offers a donation button widget and easy set-up; handles recurring and one-time donations. Cost: 4.9 percent per donation.


Other payment processing vehicle options include Amazon Payments,, CrowdRise, GiftTool and QGiv.


In addition to payment processing fees and a plethora of online payment platforms, your nonprofit must time transnational campaigns to take advantage favorable exchange rates; a tricky undertaking.

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