Reasons to Ask for Credit Cards
Credit card transactions are an important part of any successful fundraising effort. For our non-profit clients, asking their donors for a credit card achieves three main goals:
1. Instant Fulfillment. When a donor fulfills their pledge via a credit card, the non-profit receives the money instantly and is able to put it to use right away. This makes budgeting and planning easier and more efficient.
2. Saves Time and Money. If a donor indicates they would like to pay by check, a pledge reminder is mailed. If the pledge isn’t fulfilled, more reminders must be sent. Each time a reminder is generated, there are additional costs: first class postage, two envelopes, a pledge form or letterhead, and the labor in printing and mailing the reminders. Credit cards eliminate these extra costs, meaning more of the donation can be used by the non-profit to provide its services.
3. Stresses Urgency. Most donors choose not to pay via credit card over the phone. However, it’s even more important with these folks that we ask for a credit card. Why? It stresses urgency. As we mentioned in #2, reminders cost the non-profit money. Communicating the reasons we ask for a credit card to the donor helps stress urgency and encourages them to send their payment in right away.
How to Ask for Credit Cards
We utilize three specific techniques to secure credit card pledges for our clients.
1. Forced Choice. Not to worry, it’s not as ominous as it sounds. We’re not really “forcing” anyone to do anything. Forced choice simply means offering two or more choices when asking, with both choices being a desired outcome. It’s a confident way to ask and it results in a higher percentage of credit card pledges. A good ask for a credit card looks a little something like: “Thank you for your pledge of $50! We appreciate it. Would you like to process that on Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or would you prefer Discover? A bad ask looks something like “Would you like to put that on a credit card?”
2. Ask Twice. When donors discover the reasons non-profits prefer credit cards, more of them agree to pay that way. Some people are conditioned to respond “No” when asked to use their credit card over the phone. Communicating openly and honestly with donors about credit card payments and asking (gently) a second time increases fulfillment, lowers costs and stresses urgency. The key is to give a good reason to help convince the donor.
3. LERA. An acronym that stands for: Listen, Empathize, Reason and Ask Again. This is a technique we utilize throughout our calls. When asking again (for a pledge or a credit card), it’s critical that we don’t sound as though we are badgering a donor. Instead, our goal is to educate, inform and convince in a gentle and professional manner. LERA helps us do that. When a donor says “No” to the first credit card ask, we empathize with their concern, state the reason we ask for credit cards and ask again.
Security and Fraud Protection
One of the major reasons donors choose not to give their credit card numbers over the phone is the fear of fraud. Donors respond more positively to phone calls in which agents are honest and professional, and sounds like they are listening to the donors instead of just reading a script. When donors feel like they are dealing with a reputable organization (and caller), they are much more likely to give and use their credit card. Sometimes, they just need reassurance that the transaction is safe and secure.
At Falcon Fundraising, Inc., we take the security of cardholder data very seriously. We give donors and our clients that reassurance by not repeating credit card numbers aloud and never writing down or storing credit card numbers in any way. All credit card transactions are submitted directly to our clients’ secure online web portals, ensuring only safe and secure transactions for our clients and their donors. We adhere to a strict set of standards and controls as set by the PCI Security Standards Council to protect cardholder data.
Want to know more?
To learn more about our fundraising services and how we can assist your organization, contact us today.