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Looking for an improved payment processing solution

  • 1.  Looking for an improved payment processing solution

    Posted Dec 03, 2018 14:19
    I'm serving as CIO for UpStart, a nonprofit that incubates innovative programs and businesses that improve life in the Jewish community. UpStart currently uses Paypal to manage fiscal sponsorship donations; e.g., money that funders and constituents earmark for a program that UpStart is working with. Paypal is proving insufficient for two reasons: first, the very limited interface, and, second, what seems like an inability to do something critical: pass additional (non-payment) info inconsistently through the transaction process. Simply put, Organization A donates money via UpStart to Organization B, and Paypal can't retain the donor and recipient data along with the transaction details.

    I've been to Paypal's site to review their API and customization options, and they seem limited - too limited to address these concerns. I know that other NPOs I've worked with have had similar (and more complex) challenges, and they used Blackbaud Merchant Services and Blackbaud tools to handle this. We aren't Blackbaud customers; we use Salesforce for donor management.

    So I'm looking for suggestions for a payment service that either out of the box or with a flexible, not too obtuse API and/or customization function will allow us to clearly communicate with donors at the point of donation and track the donor/donee info all of the way to our bank. Maybe Network for Good or Stripe? Any advice or suggestions would be welcomed.


    Peter Campbell
    Technology Solutions Provider
    Washington DC
    Tech Accelerate

  • 2.  RE: Looking for an improved payment processing solution

    Posted Dec 04, 2018 09:12
    We've used Stripe as just a plug 'n play payment processor with third party tools and have created custom payment solutions for web application and the such with it. It has always been a great platform to work with. It has always been a very, very developer friendly tool with a great API and docs to go with. Recently, they have made some very nice improvements to their dashboard to be a little more friendly to all users.

    Seth Giammanco
    Principal, Technology
    Brooklyn, NY

    Tech Accelerate

  • 3.  RE: Looking for an improved payment processing solution

    Posted Dec 04, 2018 09:45
    Hi Peter,
    My organization switched from Paypal to Stripe a few years ago and it was a very good decision.  I feel like Stripe's entire business model is catering to unhappy Paypal customers. Not sure about how to handle your specific data requirement but my experience with Stripe has been excellent.

    Rob Foley
    IT Director - The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis

    Tech Accelerate

  • 4.  RE: Looking for an improved payment processing solution

    Posted Dec 04, 2018 10:18
    Hey Peter - Upstart was a Sage70 client, there are some lovely people there, please send them my best regards.

    PayPal is, frankly, a non-compliant donation tool for many use cases. Paypal Here, for example, doesn't give nonprofits enough data to fulfill their legal obligation to acknowledge the donation.

    As others have mentioned, Stripe is beloved by developers for its well-documented and flexible API. However, in the context of a nonprofit that doesn't have on-staff developers, it's more like a point solution. Assuming Upstart will want access to a larger suite of fundraising tools, Stripe may be too limiting (or too expensive to code for), and then you'll need to add another payment processor into the mix.

    Take a look at iATS offering, Brickwork, and QGiv - they'll give you a lot more out-of-the-box functionality than Stripe, and they're focused on serving nonprofits, rather than serving payment application developers. (Note, I love Stripe and use them for my business, but you know, the right tool for the right job.)

    Isaac Shalev
    Stamford CT

    Tech Accelerate

  • 5.  RE: Looking for an improved payment processing solution

    Posted Dec 05, 2018 08:36
    Hi Peter,

    A couple questions for you that might help me answer...

    What level of developer capacity does Upstart have to implement?  I noticed you mentioned a "not too obtuse API and/or customization function" - are you looking to embed a form or integrate with a content management system of some kind? Embedding is obviously much simpler, but often looks, well, like an embedded form.

    Second, are you looking for a full service that handles everything from generating the forms to payment processing to email receipts?

    What sort of content management system (CMS) are you hoping to implement these forms into?

    We've worked with payment gateways such as Authorize.net, iATS, Paypal (couple versions) and Stripe. Stripe is definitely the most versatile. Paypal is versatile but very hard to work with as you've learned. You might want to look at Stripe Elements, in particular.

    Without knowing exactly what type of information you need transmitted, I'm fairly certain that most of these services have the capacity to collect information in the way that you are need because they all allow you to pass along custom donation attributes in the payment/donation payload. We've done some extensive customization of data sent to Stripe, so I know you'll be well served there. I'm less confident about the other services' abilities to manage complex data customization needs, but it seems like your data needs are straight forward so it doesn't really matter.

    Few other notes, in case you're interested:

    In general, we've found all of these services, except Paypal, to be straight forward to work with - documentation is good and, if working in Drupal, they have well supported modules (including Paypal). We've found that getting help and support has also been easy to get with all services except PayPal.

    All of them support recurring giving which is obviously critical in this use case. For Paypal, there is an extra charge and the process for enabling it is a bit of a maze. However, one page donation forms can create a bit of a challenge for Stripe. In general payment gateways hate one-step payment forms or forms that don't require a user to login because the incidents of fraud is much greater, but that's an aside.

    Hope that helps!


    Joel Bush
    Capellic, LLC
    Encinitas, CA

    Tech Accelerate

  • 6.  RE: Looking for an improved payment processing solution

    Posted Dec 06, 2018 11:07
    Give Lively (free fundraising platform) uses Stripe as well for the backend payment processing and we loved it. We also use Plaid for ACH (through the Stripe platform) and do offer Paypal, but most users donations are processed through Stripe.

    Let me know if you have any questions!

    Molly Trerotola
    Media & Communications Manager
    Give Lively
    New York, NY

    Tech Accelerate

  • 7.  RE: Looking for an improved payment processing solution

    Posted Dec 05, 2018 11:10
    I'll echo Isaac on this one.

    It's sometimes nice for nonprofits to work directly with payment processors to negotiate better transaction fee rates, but if the data captured is not meeting expectation and you don't have the resources to develop the tools yourself, you may want to research a third party system.

    There are a lot of online donation vendors whose focus is serving nonprofits, and many of them integrate directly with Salesforce.

    Kelly Sallander
    ClearView CRM
    Amherst, NY

    Tech Accelerate

  • 8.  RE: Looking for an improved payment processing solution

    Posted Dec 05, 2018 11:18
    Hi Everyone,

    Next spring our office is moving to a Salesforce-based CRM systems, NimbleAMS. We currently use Paypal's PayFlow as our processor but have to choose a new payment processor for Nimble. They've given us the choice of Authorize.net or BluePay. I saw that some people here have used Authorize.net - does anyone have any feedback on either of these two services? Or is there another processor you've used with Salesforce?


    Stephanie Henyard
    Information Technology
    Society for College and University Planning

    Tech Accelerate

  • 9.  RE: Looking for an improved payment processing solution

    Posted Dec 06, 2018 11:25
    Hi there,

    While the most important consideration is how the data will serve you once payment processing is done, it sounds like you might already be aware of your data strategy and want to build a solution using a service with a better API. In my experience, PaymentSpring has a great API while still giving you negotiated rates that are favorable to nonprofits. (Services like Stripe also have great APIs, but tend not to have negotiated nonprofit rates.) I'd recommend giving them a look!


    Jake Grinsted
    Simply360 / The Fresh Air Fund
    New York, NY


    Tech Accelerate

  • 10.  RE: Looking for an improved payment processing solution

    Posted Dec 13, 2018 03:56
    Hi Peter,

    I'm the founder of Raklet and we provide cloud solutions for non-profits. We use Stripe, PayU, MolPay and Iyzico as payment gateways. We're happy with using Stripe in the backend.

    If you're looking for an all-in-one solution, you might want to checkout https://hello.raklet.com


    Michal Szwarc

    Tech Accelerate