CanadaHelps is a great site that makes it easy for small charities to take credit card donations. Just this week my sister was looking for a way for a registered charity for which she volunteers to take credit card payments, and this was my best suggestion.
From their own about page: “CanadaHelps, a public charitable foundation (896568417RR0001), is Canada’s only donation portal that provides access to all of Canada’s 80,000 charities, from national organizations like national cancer charities to smaller groups like local animal shelters and soup kitchens. ”
They’ve taken the publicly available list of all Canadian registered charities and pre-populated their website. Every charity has a generic landing page with the basic information from the CRA, such as name, address, phone number, etc. A charity can create a login to customize their information to further detail.
All that CanadaHelps takes for accepting a credit card donation and forwarding it to the charity is 3-4% off the top, this is inclusive of all the credit card company fees (e.g. Visa and MasterCard). All-in-all it’s great for the charity because of costs and ease of use.
Taking credit card payments is not easy, nor free. For example, our web based revenues from print-bingo.com and PapayaPolls.com are on the margins for where it would justify the effort and cost of getting a merchant account. Thus, we still use a PayPal account. We would be lucky to setup a merchant account with someone like Moneris for less than $50/month, and the discount rate would only be slightly better than we get at PayPal’s – we probably would not get much below 3% as a discount rate. Plus, we would have to spend hours writing our own payment pages. We keep putting it off.
For a charity with limited time resources and modest expectations of taking donations by credit card, I highly recommend looking into CanadaHelps.org.