Vested ideas (vendor column) – No-brainer fundraising method

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By Mike Grigsby, NonProfitCard.ORG

For years, big nonprofit organizations have offered credit-card programs as a way of leveraging the buying power of members and raising additional funds.

Until now, smaller organizations could not take advantage of these “affinity card” programs because the fees and costs to deploy and maintain them were too great.

To start a credit card program:

* The program should cost your organization absolutely nothing. That means no startup costs, no maintenance costs, and no fees. Remember, your card program must be attractive in every way so members will apply for, and use, your card. That means using a name brand credit card. Interest rates should be competitive — preferably in the five to six percent range. Standard consumer protections should apply, like zero liability for lost or stolen cards. Don’t let the bank offload program fees to your members or they won’t want to acquire or use your card.

* Attract members with a Platinum card. With as few as 10,000 active members, you can offer a Platinum card with your organization’s logo on it. Members will want your card, they will have pride and loyalty in carrying and using a platinum card with your logo, and at least one other person will learn about your organization every time the card is used.

* Make sure the bank is willing to pay for the initial marketing of your new card to members. A bank should be able to deploy your card program in weeks, not months. They must understand the needs of nonprofit organizations and be anxious to include your organization’s own marketing verbiage on the card offer mailing.

* A good nonprofit card program will provide funding to your organization in two ways — through a substantial fee paid for each card issued, and a percentage of the bank transaction fee for every dollar spent with your card.

With no cost, no fees and unsolicited funding, is it any wonder this new nonprofit card program is a no-brainer?

Mike Grigsby is managing director of the Nonprofit Business and Strategies Group, or NonProfitCard

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