These days, people are using mobile devices to do just about everything — including making donations to their favorite causes. According to the Blakbaud Institute, 28% of online donations are made from mobile devices:
Given the growing trend of mobile giving, it makes sense for public and Christian radio stations to set up their systems to accept donations from listeners' phones. Not only would this make it easier for people to donate, but it could also lead to a significant increase in donations. After all, if people can give with just a few taps on their phone, they're much more likely to donate than if they have to make a call or go online.
In the last few years, we have seen the rise of peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile payment apps like Venmo (which was purchased by PayuPal in 2012) and the Cash App (which is owned by Square). Non-profit radio stations would benefit by accepting listener donations from both of these mobile apps.
Using Venmo to Accept Donations
According to Business of Apps, Venmo is accepted by over two million merchants and was used by 70 million people last year. Perhaps most importantly, Venmo is widely used by younger demographics: Half of its users are between 25 and 34 years old, while a third are between 18 and 24 years old.
Moreover, Venmo users can share the fact that they've made a donation in the app's social feeds, which can, in turn, encourage others to do so. This type of social proof can be a powerful motivator for listeners and supporters. (Note: Venmo has recently removed the global social feed from its app and added new privacy controls, so the donation is only likely to be seen by friends of the donor, not strangers.)
Your radio station will pay the standard business fee of 1.9% + $0.10 on all donations; the donor is not required to pay any fees unless they are using a credit card in connection with their transaction, in which case there is a standard 3% fee.
To accept one-time donations, you will need to set up a Venmo business account for your station. To do this, you will need to first set up a personal Venmo account. If your business uses an EIN, you will want to have that handy. You can find full instructions for setting up the account here.
Currently, Venmo does not distinguish between non-profit and for-profit businesses on its platform, However, there is a beta test in progress, so it's possible that the platform will introduce features for non-profits soon. Venmo is only available to businesses in the U.S.
To make a donation to your station, listeners will need to search for your business name or username in Venmo. If your business name is different from the station name, it's a good idea to use the station name for your username. You can also make it easy for listeners by saying the station's username in all on-air mentions. If you are also accepting donations through other apps, such as the Cash App, try to secure the same username for both accounts.
Venmo also provides businesses with a QR code that listeners can scan to make a donation. To find your QR code, tap “Scan” at the bottom of the app, then press “My QR Code.” You may want to include this code on your station's banners, posters, bumper stickers, or other promotional materials.
If you're wondering how Venmo will handle your documents when tax season arrives, you can find all the answers here. You can find the answers to any other questions you might have here.
Using the Cash App to Accept Donations
The Cash App is another way to accept one-time donations from listeners. Although the Cash App was launched four years after Venmo, it has been catching up in popularity.
The Cash App works in much the same way that Venmo does. You will need to set up a personal account, then turn it into a Cash for Business account. The Cash App also works with a QR code.
Cash for Business account charge 2.5% to accept payment or 2.75% if the sender is using a credit card. The sender pays nothing unless they are using a credit card for the transaction, in which case there is a 3% charge.
Like Venmo, the Cash App does not currently have a program exclusively for non-profit businesses yet.
You can find out how the Cash App handles tax document here.
The goal of every radio station is to serve its audience and create a connection with listeners. One way to do this is by making it easy for listeners to donate to their favorite station. In the past, donating to a radio station typically required mailing in a check or going online to fill out a form. However, with the advent of mobile giving, listeners can now donate with just a few taps on their smartphone. Not only is mobile giving more convenient for donors, but it also opens up new opportunities for stations to raise money. For example, stations can now accept donations during on-air pledge drives or live events. As more and more listeners turn to their mobile devices for entertainment, it only makes sense for radio stations to follow suit and offer mobile giving options.
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