Online Donation Services Compared

I often receive solicitations from service providers who’ve got something they’re sure my clients will benefit from. So when an email from AffiniPay graced my email box last month, I nearly tossed it out, out of habit, until I saw that it was for a donation processing service. You see, one of my clients had recently commented to me about how he was canceling his service, with a well known provider, because of their high monthly rate and commissions. So, I let fate have its way and opened the solicitation. “Cool, at least it’s not a form letter,” I thought to myself.

donation-servicesAnyway, what the sales rep had to offer was another avenue for nonprofits to receive credit card donations: online, via a (PC) plug-in reader, or from a traditional credit card terminal. However, what grabbed my attention was their processing fee of only 2.19% (plus twenty cents per item). And if you compare that to, let’s say,’s transaction fee of 3.95% (plus twenty-five cents per item), along with their hefty start-up cost and monthly fee, the AffiniPay option shines.

I decided to check into it.

Naturally, the first thing I did was to visit their website. On the plus side, their niche is servicing associations and nonprofits. On the down side, their website looks like a credit union employee put it together over the weekend using a template.  Okay, I let that slide since the website did explain their services fairly well and provided several customer testimonials. (I tracked down a few of them for comment. More on that in a moment.)

In my email reply to the sales representative, I confirmed their processing commissions (the percentage they keep for themselves), set-up, and monthly fees. I checked to see if donors automatically receive a receipt; I checked into client reports and checked out a couple of other must have features. The sales rep responded within the same day, confirming that AffiniPay does not have a set up fee and their monthly service fee is only $15. (The processing fee of 2.19% is for Visa, MasterCard, and Discover, and about 2.89% for Amex.) She explained that they have live customer support, each customer get’s their own representative, all transactions are on their secured servers (no need to set-up a security certificate one on the client’s website), and all fees are taken out at the end of the month, so all donations are recorded in whole!

Well, this sounded quit good. So I checked with the standard bearers of the industry to see what they offer. Here’s how they compared:


SERVICE PROVIDER Network for Good Qgiv PayPal AffiniPay
Service Account Name / Type “Donate Now” default “Payments Standard” “Gateway”
Set Up Fee (one time) $199.00 $199.00 none None*
Monthly Fees $49.95 $25.00 none $15.00
Transaction Commission Per Donation 3.00% 3.95% 2.90% 2.19%
Transaction Fee Per Donation none $0.25 $0.30 $0.20
Donation Page Portal (with client info) yes yes manual yes
Donation Tracking Reports yes yes monthly statement yes
Automatic Receipt to Donors yes yes regular receipt yes
Event Ticketing Solutions yes yes manual no
Annual Contract none none none none
Example Fee on a $500 Donation $15.00 $20.00 $14.80 $11.15
* For those who wish to have the recurring payment option, there is a one-time set up fee of $150.

After I ran the math, I contacted two current and one former customer. The later had left AffiniPay for another service that was better able to work within their database’s framework. The former customer was, however, quick to praise their overall services, fees and customer support. The two active customers also had no reservations about referring AffiniPay to any small to medium sized organization.

To sum it up, I think AffiniPay is certainly worth checking into. It could save your organization a good deal of money each year. Funds that will, no doubt, be put to better use.


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