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Integrated Payments: The Engine Powering Nonprofits Through and Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic Featured

Integrated Payments: The Engine Powering Nonprofits Through and Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic Nathan Dumlao

Nonprofits have long relied on in-person and paper payments. However, as these organizations look to grow their revenue streams and donor bases in an increasingly digital age, this system has resulted in a number of logistical challenges in collecting and processing payments – an issue that was magnified amid shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic this year. This reliance on in-person fundraisers and physical checks makes it more cumbersome for existing supporters to make donations to nonprofits, as well as more difficult for the organizations themselves to attract new donors.

For many nonprofits, the solution to these issues has come in the form of electronic payments, which are integrated directly into the existing business management software used by nonprofits, and allow them to accept and manage donations online or via mobile devices. By providing nonprofits with the ability to digitally receive and process donations, integrated payments make it easy for existing donors to simply transition their giving online, and also potentially open the door to entirely new donor bases. Additionally, they provide a means of setting up automated recurring donations – a “set it and forget it” approach that makes the donation process even easier for both donors and non-profits.

At the onset of the pandemic, when nonprofits were suddenly stripped of their ability to hold in-person fundraisers, they found themselves bereft of their ability to meet with and build face-to-face connections with donors – and collect donations. Furthermore, as many nonprofits lacked the capability to accept online or digital payments, donation acceptance was severely limited, dealing a significant blow at a time when demand for financial assistance was spiking.

By rapidly adopting integrated payments technology, or significantly accelerating their usage of them, nonprofits can maintain operations and revenue flow even while unable to collect funds in person. Doing so has made a pivotal difference for many nonprofits, empowering them to continue serving their target populations at a time when their services may have been most in need. Additionally, for nonprofits that pivoted their fundraising events to a virtual format, having an integrated payments system in place allowed them to not only maintain the level of revenue they typically generate at such events, but in some cases even surpass it, due to the elimination of big-ticket expenses like a hall rental, food, and speakers.

A prominent example of the value of integrated payments in the nonprofit space can be seen within religious institutions: Think of the collection plate that is passed around at church. When in-person services were suspended at the height of the pandemic, faith-based organizations were left without a way to collect the revenue that they desperately needed. During the first wave of the pandemic, integrated payments provided the critical tools they needed to carry on with their missions and serve their congregations amid the long months during which in-person services were suspended.

At Paya, we have observed nonprofits and faith-based organizations quickly adopt and ramp up their usage of integrated payments. Consequently, the growth rate of online giving has spiked among our nonprofit partners since the spring, with online donations between January and September of this year increasing by 20% compared to the same period last year. As integrated payments continue to provide a critical resource to nonprofits amid COVID – and these organizations and their donors grow accustomed to the increased simplicity and flexibility they offer – this is a trend we only expect to continue.

For the nonprofit space, integrated digital payments offer increased efficiency and convenience, eliminating much of the red tape and cumbersome administrative work associated with collecting and managing physical donations. With the onset of the pandemic, these benefits were only magnified among nonprofits – and for many organizations, integrated payment technology was essential in helping them maintain operations. As a result, integrated payments have solidified themselves as an indispensable technology for nonprofits, allowing them to maximize efficiency, increase their donor base and ultimately, spend more time focusing on their philanthropic missions.


Mark Engels, Chief Revenue Officer of Paya

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