Three Easy Ways Nonprofits Can Cut Costs

Cut costs just in time for budgeting season.

1. Pay less for processing credit card donations or don’t pay at all

How would you like to increase your annual donations by up to 4% without adding any new donors? It sounds too good to be true, but it is. Studies show that 50% of donors will pay the processing fee for their donations if given a choice. See, I told you that you might not pay at all. Now you get more and pay less. Plus, you haven’t added any new donors.  Instead, you empowered and maximized your donor base. How cool is that? Imagine what you can do with that much more money! 

Cash discounting is the industry term for when a donor opts to pay the fee. You need a way to implement it for sure. Well, let’s get that done. At your donation checkout page, if you have the right payment processing company, you can add a box for the donor to choose whether or not to pick up the tab. Now that the donor has paid the fee, you’re getting that much more for your charity. 

Tidal Commerce offers solutions for nonprofit payment processing for nonprofits or for those looking to start a new nonprofit that helps your donors give more. It keeps their data 100% secure and grows your mission. Their program gets members an approximate effective rate of 2.15%, which crushes the competition. Some organizations are paying up to nearly 6% to process a credit or debit card donation, with an average range of 3-4%. Let them do the math to demonstrate the difference between our effective rate of 2.15 and your current rate. They will discover the tremendous impact on your organization’s bottom line.

Tidal Commerce, a Nonprofit Hub Business Member, offers a free rate analysis and approximately two business days turnaround time. Simply provide them with your last two statements. They crunch the numbers and return a no-obligation quote. During that discovery phase, it sometimes uncovers that a company offers you that shiny low rate, but by adding higher per-transaction fees, they make up for it on the back end.  For example, instead of paying $.10-15 per transaction, they charge you $.30 per transaction. That takes the luster off that sparkling rate because you now learn what effective rate you actually pay. Very sneaky on their part. 

The Hard Truth:

Not every payment processor can do cash discounting. Sometimes your software company doesn’t like it when you inquire if it’s possible or if you can switch processing companies. That’s because some have a revenue-sharing partnership with whomever they signed you up with when you bought their software. And sometimes, that processor has a high rate and offers nonprofits no rate considerations. In that scenario, the only one who loses is your wonderful organization. It’s not transparent or even nice, to say the least.


Being the genius that you are, you did your homework by contacting your software company. Or perhaps you managed it some other way and asked your website hosting company, “hey, how can we do this?” At your next company meeting, you presented your fabulous new idea to implement cash discounting and got a resounding YES! You might even get a round of applause. Because you made this happen, the next budget meeting makes it possible to add a new program or new employee, or new equipment or food or clothing, or shelter. Whatever your charity does, it now does that much more because of you. Bravo! Pat yourself on the back, you shrewd and savvy person.

2. Seek out the deals and discounts that companies love to give to nonprofits:

Some businesses want to support your excellent work through less expensive plans and nonprofit discounts.

  • You can usually save money by paying for subscriptions annually instead of monthly. If the company offers no discount of this kind, there’s no harm in asking for a nonprofit deal. Once you put it out there, you might be pleasantly surprised by the response.
  • TechSoup is a website that exists as a resource for finding discounts on software,  technology, and services for nonprofits. They list names such as Microsoft, Adobe, and Intuit.  Now those heavy hitters put out products that help any organization. 
  • Use your Nonprofit Hub advantages to your advantage. The Nonprofit Hub’s Good Referral Directory is a database of nonprofit solutions providers, several of which offer nonprofit discounts. Find the ones that suit your needs and unlock the savings to help improve your organization.

3. Strengthen your volunteer program

Volunteers are part of the lifeblood of your organization. Many people want to help and get involved but don’t know how. Sometimes they do not know about a nonprofit operating in their area and if they discovered it. Perhaps they become a volunteer. Deploying technology and recognizing the volunteers’ needs requires flexibility. It’s vital to educate volunteers before they dive in. These elements are crucial to growing, energizing, and maximizing the efficiency of volunteers. After all, you should strive to make their experience a positive one.

Wow, that sounds like a lot to digest.  Have no fear; it’s easier than some might think.  

Technology is your friend!

On average, people spend 147 minutes on social media a day.  You have many avenues to energize your volunteers and tap into new ones. You can use Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tik Tik, or other platforms. You don’t know who’s waiting in the wings to answer the call to action.

Some tips for pulling in, obtaining, retaining, and effectively utilizing volunteers include:

  • This is the big one. Utilize or create social media accounts with the name of your organization. It’s a no-brainer, but nothing else happens without that being in place. On LinkedIn, I have seen charities of all causes and sizes. Not only the organization profile but the profiles of members. Some have had as few as two members, but those members have followers, and those followers have followers.
  • Once you have created your organization’s profile page, see who amongst your employees or volunteers has a profile on any social media platform. Ask them if they are willing to provide information about your charity. Strength is in numbers. The larger the potential audience, the more potential to get new volunteers. You’ve planted seeds all over the place, and now see what kind of harvest you get.
  • Now that you have strengthened your social media presence, it’s time to put some more hustle behind that muscle!  Put up posts about previous volunteer events. Post photos and feature volunteers on social media. Many people love to see themselves in action! Describe the impact of the event. For example, “thanks to all of you, we raised more than $5,000 to help cloth.” Or, “feed or provide medical care.” Maybe you even have a specific story of one person and what it meant to them. You’ve made it look fun and rewarding. Now you’re cooking.
  • At the bottom of these posts, have your contact person’s information and ask for volunteers for future assignments.
  • Ask for volunteers online for every event. I suggest doing this multiple times before the event. You should clearly state what openings you still have or need. Some people become more motivated when they see how near or far you are to your goal.
  • Now you have to reel in those volunteers by offering them flexible assignments with specific requests. You should mention you provide training and support. Remember how you felt when you started your job? That’s how these people likely feel, excited but in need of instruction. One bad experience might sour your organization. During one of my volunteering experiences at a charity run, they led us to a place where we were at a “watering station”.  We ran out of water!  We could cheer on the runners and walkers at that point, but that’s it. It wasn’t awful, but it shows how some planning might have helped us help those people on a warm summer’s day.
  • A good experience equals good word of mouth. On average, a person with a negative experience tells at least ten people. Conversely, those with good experience only tell one or two people. Get those positive vibes flowing!

There you have it! You now have three ways to bolster the income, decrease expenses, and attract new volunteers. In addition, you have another outlet for those in need to discover your organization. Thank you for reading and considering my suggestions.  Most importantly, though, thank you dearly for what each and every one of you do to help make this world a better place.

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Daniel Pagac

Daniel Pagac is a Certified Independent Partner for Tidal Commerce, a payment processing and merchant services provider that works for businesses and organizations of all sizes. Whether you're just starting or processing millions of dollars a year, they have the solutions you need to power your business and save money. Daniel has worked in the payment processing field for nine years. He is passionate about driving growth and delivering significant savings and exemplary customer service to meet the payment processing needs of businesses and nonprofits. Mr. Pagac has also served as the operations manager of companies with up to fifty employees, hundreds of clients, and $3-5mil in annual revenue. He has more than fifteen years of experience in scheduling, interviewing, hiring, motivating, training employees, and more than two decades of experience in customer service. One of his favorite quotes relates to that aspect of business: "Anyone who needs information from you is your customer.”

October 6, 2022

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