Let Technology Help Fund Your School By Simplifying Recurring Online Donations
In this series, we are looking at ways that simple cloud apps can be used to automate and enhance school operations.
As I mentioned in my article last week, allowing online donations from our school website was a task given to me. I wanted to leverage the cloud and hosted systems to simplify the task. Wufoo and Stripe allowed to me roll out online donations without having to set up (or manage) a lot of complex systems.
I’m a big fan of trying to get people to make systematic donations for smaller monthly amounts. I think a lot of people think that if they can’t donate $500, then their donation won’t make a huge difference. My goal is to motivate people to think smaller. Instead of asking for $500 donations, ask people for $25/month. While this is only $300/year, it can easily turn into $300 every year instead of a one-time donation. By combining Wufoo and Stripe again, I created the ability they offer is the ability for fonors to do recurring monthly donations.
How to set up your system
To get started, you’ll need to create the dollar amounts in Stripe. Once you log in, look for Subscriptions > Plans. You’ll want to create all of the monthly options on this screen. We offer $5,$10, $25, $50, and $100. Some may see the $5 and wonder why we offer something so low. The first reason is that $50 X 12 ends up being $60/year. If you end up with a bunch of people on this plan that wouldn’t have normally donated, the end result is a huge net positive.
Next, let’s create a new form in Wufoo. I recommend collecting at least the person’s name, address, and email address. You will also want to create a Drop-down box that has the payment amounts you set up in Stripe. You can then click “Form Settings” to control what happens after someone fills out your form. We usually thank them for their donation and include contact information for our Development Department. After you’re finished with the form, save it, and click it again to see notifications for the form. This is where you can customize who gets notified when the form is filled out.
Once you are back on the main screen of Wufoo, click Payments under your form. Under Merchants, you’ll want to select Stripe Subscription (instead of Stripe). On step three, you’ll be able to match your Drop-down box options with the payment plans you’ve set up in Stripe. One downside to this system is there is no way for people to cancel on their own. They have to be manually canceled in Stripe (under General > Customers).
We also recently added Stunning to this system. Stunning automatically contacts the folks who are donating to you and helps keeps those donations from failing to expired credit cards.
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