Managing Memberships with PayPal

Managing Memberships with PayPal

Does your society use PayPal? If not, why not? PayPal supports not-for-profit groups and has many tools that will extend your capabilities in any number of directions. So, just what can you do with PayPal? Collect membership dues. PayPal offers a recurring billing option which will automatically remind members to renew. This is especially handy for your distant members. Special events. Use PayPal…

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Society PayPal

Does your society use PayPal? If not, why not? PayPal supports not-for-profit groups and has many tools that will extend your capabilities in any number of directions. So, just what can you do with PayPal?

  • Collect membership dues. PayPal makes it easy to pay dues online – even if they don’t have a PayPal account. It also offers a recurring billing option which will automatically remind members to…

View On WordPress

Society PayPal

Does your society use PayPal? If not, why not? PayPal supports not-for-profit groups and has many tools that will extend your capabilities in any number of directions. So, just what can you do with PayPal?

  • Collect membership dues. PayPal makes it easy to pay dues online – even if they don’t have a PayPal account. It also offers a recurring billing option which will automatically remind members to renew. This is especially handy for your distant members.
  • Special events. Use PayPal as a payment option for special events. And, with PayPal’s mobile card reader, you can use an Android phone, Windows phone or iPhone to accept credit card payments just about anywhere.
  • Fund-raising. Not only can PayPal collect donations, but it will track who made them so you can thank them and provide them with tax statements if the donation is tax-deductible.
  • Online sales. Does your society have items to sell online? Most online storefronts include PayPal integration making it easy to support those efforts. And, they offer an affordable micropayments service making it easy to sell digital products such as ebooks and digital editions of the society’s journal archives.

One very nice thing about PayPal is that your members don’t have to have PayPal accounts to use it. They can pay using a credit or debit card and PayPal will still handle the transaction for you. There are no upfront or monthly fees required to use PayPal and the transaction fees are quite reasonable. The fees for registered 501(c)(3)s are 2.2% + $0.30 per transaction with no monthly fee. For a $25 membership, that comes to 85¢.

PayPal is very easy to use too. The button wizard walks you through the process of creating a payment button to post on your society’s web site. Select the options you want and choose the price. PayPal then gives you the embed code to copy/paste onto your web site. You make a payment button for each membership option you offer (single, family, life, etc.). You don’t have to use PayPal’s standard buttons either. There’s an option in the wizard where you can enter a link to your own button graphic.

In addition to offering an online payment option, PayPal provides some significant bookkeeping too. When you build a button, you can include a service ID to identify what it is for. You can use them to identify membership types or donations for a specific cause. When payments are made, PayPal provides a register of who paid for what. So, you can easily see how many single memberships you have compared to family memberships or a donation to the scholarship fund.

Another area where PayPal can support the society is in payments. For example, many online services – like web hosting – won’t accept checks but do support payment via PayPal. This can save you the effort of getting a society credit card.

A PayPal account for non-profit groups is a special category of a business account. These accounts allow the owner to assign additional users with different levels of access. For example, while the treasurer may be the only one who can transfer money from PayPal to the society’s bank account, the membership chairman could be given rights to view the receipts register and confirm that someone has paid their dues.

One tidbit we learned the hard way. When our association’s account was first created, it was set up using the treasurer’s personal email address. When his term ended, we had to jump through all kinds of hoops to change the address on the account. Our solution was to create a generic email address (society.treasurer@gmail.com for example) and use that for PayPal. When a new treasurer takes over, he/she just needs to change the passwords to the email and PayPal accounts and update the contact information.

PayPal is a cost-effective way to provide an online payment option for member dues and so much more. Visit their nonprofit services page for more information. It’s definitely worth a look.

Note: This article discusses PayPal features related to non-profit associations. Laws regarding non-profits vary from state to state. Your society will need to research those laws and regulations to understand how they impact you.  

Managing Memberships with PayPal

Does your society use PayPal? If not, why not? PayPal supports not-for-profit groups and has many tools that will extend your capabilities in any number of directions. So, just what can you do with PayPal?paypalreader

  • Collect membership dues. PayPal offers a recurring billing option which will automatically remind members to renew. This is especially handy for your distant members.
  • Special events. Use PayPal as a payment option for special events. And, with PayPal’s mobile card reader, you can use an Android or iPhone device to accept credit card payments just about anywhere.
  • Fund-raising. Not only can PayPal collect donations, but it will track who made them so you can thank them and provide them with tax statements if the donation is tax-deductible.
  • Online sales. Does your society have items to sell online? Most online storefronts include PayPal integration making it easy to support those efforts. And, they offer an affordable micropayments service making it easy to sell digital products such as ebooks and digital editions of the society’s journal archives.

One very nice thing about PayPal is that your members don’t have to have PayPal accounts to use it. They can pay using a credit or debit card and PayPal will still handle the transaction for you. There are no upfront or monthly fees required to use PayPal and the transaction fees are quite reasonable. If your total monthly payments are under $3,000/month, your transaction fee is 2.9% + $0.30. For a $25 membership, that comes to $1.03. If your monthly payments are greater than $3,000/month, the transaction fees go down. The fee for micropayments (transactions under $10) is 5% + $0.05. That would be 30¢ on a $5.00 publication.

PayPal is very easy to use too. The button wizard (example below) walks you through the process of creating a payment button. In this example, I’ve used the subscription button to define both a single and family membership fee to be billed annually. There are additional steps not shown – including requiring the member to enter his address as part of the payment process – then PayPal gives you the embed code to copy/paste onto your web site.

paypalbutton

 In addition to providing an online payment option, PayPal provides some significant bookkeeping too. When you build a button, you can define what it’s for. When payments are made, PayPal provides a register of who paid for what. So, you can easily see how many single memberships you have compared to family memberships. My veterans group has a permanent scholarship fund and various short term fund-raising projects. PayPal makes it easy to determine who donated to each of these.

A PayPal account for non-profit groups is a special category of a business account. These accounts allow the owner to assign additional users with different levels of access. For example, while the treasurer may be the only one who can transfer money from PayPal to the society’s bank account, the membership chairman could be given rights to view the receipts register and confirm that someone has paid their dues.

One tidbit we learned the hard way. When our association’s account was first created, it was set up using the treasurer’s personal email address. When his term ended, we had to jump through all kinds of hoops to change the address on the account. Our solution was to create a generic email address (treasurer@moultriecreek.us for example) and use that for PayPal. When a new treasurer takes over, he/she just needs to change the passwords to the email and PayPal accounts.

PayPal is a cost-effective way to provide an online payment option for member dues and so much more. It’s definitely worth a look.

Mobile Payments with PayPal

Recently I spent a lovely Saturday morning wandering through one of the better arts and crafts shows in our area. I had no plans to buy anything and only had enough cash for lunch. Even if I was considering a purchase I don’t like carrying large amounts of cash with me. As it happened, I found something that would have been a perfect gift for my husband – except that the artist didn’t take credit cards.

It dawned on me – later, of course – that PayPal’s mobile capabilities are perfect for situations like this. Anyone can safely send money to another person using their mobile phone. And, the person receiving the money can get notified that a payment has been received via their mobile phone. There are apps for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry smart phones, but any phone capable of sending SMS can send/receive payments. Here’s how it works via SMS.

  1. First, you have to set up your mobile phone in your PayPal profile. Once you enter your phone number as a mobile phone, PayPal will send that phone a text message with a confirmation code. Enter that confirmation code on your profile and PayPal will now recognize it for mobile payments. [Note: You’ll also be asked to assign a PIN – easier to type on a phone than a long password – for your mobile transactions. I recommend it NOT be the same one you use for your banking.]
  2. To send a payment, send a text to 729725 with the amount and email address (or phone number) of the individual you are sending it to. For example, send 10 to fred@bedrock.com will tell PayPal to send $10 to Fred.
  3. The recipient is notified that a payment has been received. It’s also easy to check your PayPal balance at any time.

The smart phone apps have even more features that are especially useful to a seller. Another advantage is that the buyer also automatically gets a receipt for that payment from PayPal.

So, how can a society put this to use? Are you planning a book sale, rummage sale, auction or other fund raiser? This could come in handy for dealing with higher-priced items.

While it’s easy for an artist or small business owner to implement PayPal mobile payments – and possibly justify moving up to a smart phone – it will be a bit more of a challenge for a society. There needs to be some way to confirm that a payment has been received. If your event is being held in a location where Internet access is available, a laptop or tablet could be used to confirm. Fortunately, PayPal business accounts can be set up with multiple user access. The account “owner” (usually your Treasurer) can add and remove these accounts and define what level of access is available to them. It’s quite easy to set up an account for the event with just enough access to see that a payment has been received and who sent it. Once the event is over, that account can be removed or the password changed to prevent unwanted access.

To get payment confirmations by phone, the phone must first be set up in the PayPal account. Unfortunately, that phone can be used to both send and receive payments. That would be okay if the Treasurer will be working the event and had his phone set up in the account, but I’m not sure I’d want to give someone else those rights – even for just the period of the event. A better option would be to use an iPad or other tablet with 3G service or use a WiFi device with a “hot spot” 3G modem. That way, you could continue to use a limited-access PayPal account for confirmations. There are pay-as-you-go plans from Virgin Mobile and Clear that let you turn them on/off when you need them.

PayPal has a lot to offer the small society. Mobile payments is just another feature that gives us the ability to do more for less.