FUNDRAISING SUPPLEMENT | Case study: Square & Westside Church
Innovative tech tools connecting Canadians
Every year millions of Canadians donate to charitable and nonprofit organizations accounting for an average of 8.1% of Canada’s total GDP. While these organizations fundraise in various ways, nearly all of them rely heavily on individual donations to run their operations. And an increasing number of Canada’s 170,000 charitable and nonprofit groups are adopting new technologies to make it easier to connect with donors. Up to 69% of Canadians, for example, expect to be able to use their credit card when making a payment, yet many groups find it too complicated and expensive to use.
At Westside Church in Vancouver connecting with congregation members is a top priority. “We’ve always tried to be forward-thinking and connected with the community,” said Chad MacDonald, Pastor of Ministry Development. “Our church is mostly made up of young professionals and families, so we do our best to connect with our congregation using tools they’re already familiar with.”
For Pastor MacDonald and the Westside congregation, this includes a mobile app, weekly podcasts, active and engaging Facebook and Twitter accounts, social events, and mobile credit card donation tools
Instead of passing around a traditional collection plate each week, volunteers at Westside Church gather in the church’s lobby equipped with iPads and mobile credit card readers from Square, the company making commerce easy for everyone. Pastor MacDonald said the new technology has allowed their church to accept donations at any time, any place, and for any amount.
“People are blown away by the experience,” said Pastor MacDonald. “Our members receive a donation receipt by e-mail immediately after they make a contribution. It’s been a big money saver and convenience for everyone.”
Accepting donations by credit card no longer needs to be difficult or expensive, in fact it is the opposite. Companies like Square are transforming how simple it can be for charities, nonprofits, and businesses to accept credit card payments and grow.
Anyone can sign up to receive a free Square credit card Reader and download the free Square Register app at www.squareup.com/ca. Each credit card transaction has a flat and transparent 2.75% fee regardless of the type of card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and Diners Club). There are no monthly fees or contracts.
In the past, Westside Church used standard bulky credit card terminals that required a wall plug in and proximity to phone lines. In addition to expensive monthly terminal rental costs, the Church’s volunteers were only able move as far as the terminals’ cords could stretch, limiting the amount of interaction they could have with congregation members.
“We cut the cord when started using Square. Our volunteers are now free to focus on building relationships and supporting our congregation each week,” said Pastor MacDonald.
With a reliable payment processor like the Square Reader charities, nonprofits, and businesses can use their smartphone or tablet to take credit card payments.