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 Post subject: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2021 5:57 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 7:16 am
Posts: 1596
Just asking. I keep hearing about how badly contributions are needed right now, but some organizations are sending out calls for support by e-mail with a link to a facebook page that does not have mailing address information that leads to a funding page that only accepts credit cards and has no provision for other popular payment systems and no information where to send a written check. There are still a few people out here that prefer to write a check, are your organizations giving them the information they need to do so?

PC

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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:10 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1962
Yes.


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:48 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 1:21 pm
Posts: 227
Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario
Absolutely. While we prefer donations online (the one we use automatically issues the Charitable a receipt to donors), we still accept payment by cheque, and provide the mailing address any any information the donor requires.

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http://www.nfrm.ca


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:45 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:28 pm
Posts: 517
Location: Northern WV
There is a transaction fee when paying by plastic (typically 2-3%) which decreases the gift received by that percentage. If paying by check/cheque, the recipient receives 100% of the amount.

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Roger Cole


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:06 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2020 5:36 pm
Posts: 31
The question then becomes is it worthwhile to pay 2-3% in order to ensure you never have a bounced check again?


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:41 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2005 1:02 pm
Posts: 110
Location: Mi
Some banks do charge a transaction fee for paper checks.


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:05 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:44 pm
Posts: 80
Although the OP seemed more like a rhetorical question or expression of frustration, I'll chime in.

Almost all organizations are active in soliciting funds on various e-platforms such as email, web site, social media. There is a marketing theory that if you make it "easy" then people are more likely to do it. You won't trudge through the aisles of the supermarket to find the pack of gum, but hey it was right there next to you while you were standing in line so why not?!

So we don't like the 2-3% cut that the merchant processor takes but it still improves the bottom line because people are making donations at times that they otherwise wouldn't have. You see a message from an organization you support, you want to donate, compare (a) click your mouse a few times (b) take out your checkbook and a pen, write it out, address an envelope, put a stamp on it, go to the mailbox

Our organization still sends out paper fundraising solicitations, which include a pre-addressed return envelope as well as the web site address for donating online. But other solicitations only appear in online form. Since all of our email messages contain our phone number and mailing address, it wouldn't be a mystery for those who want to respond with a mailed check, but it isn't our expectation.

Most major donations still arrive as checks. When someone donates $1000 online, I cringe a little thinking about the $30 or so fee that the processor took. But if that was the difference between making the donation and not, we're still up $970.

Also regarding paper checks, if you have paid staff who process your donations, think about the cost of staff time. If it takes them 5 minutes to open the envelope, key in the information, and process the check for deposit, that's 1/12 of an hour. If your total burdened cost on the employee is $36 per hour, it actually cost you $3 to process that paper donation. For the $1000 check, not a bad overhead, but if you are receiving a lot of $20 donations in the mail, well....

Our members/donors seem to be sensitive to this without us ever explicitly talking about it. By volume, more than 50% of our transactions are online, including membership dues payments. But by total dollars, online only amounts to 20-25%


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:28 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9867
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
In the past several years, literally the ONLY thing I have written checks for is NRHS Chapter and National dues.

Two of the three Chapters I belong to have waived membership dues for all members in good standing for the past year, I'm stuck with only two checks predicted for 2021.

The predictable payments are all either automatic payments from my bank account or automatic credit card payments. I know a landlord in Baltimore that went around just before I moved out of the city with special ATM cards for his tenants that allowed them to go to a branch of his bank and deposit cash or a check, or transfer funds directly from their account to his, and ONLY make such a deposit or transfer--and he was a private individual owning several places, not a big apartment complex.

I have been repeatedly lobbying/badgering the treasurer of the largest Chapter I belong to to set up a PayPal or any other form of direct online payment, to allow members or prospective members to send money directly, or for us to sell surplus books or other merchandise to others remotely. It hasn't happened yet..........

And in the last lesson for this epistle, I sent the treasurer one of my only checks of 2020, in early December, for an annual donation, a purchase of several books, and shipping for those books and others to certain libraries, mailed in a Christmas card.

As of Jan. 9th they have yet to receive said check.


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:16 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:07 am
Posts: 592
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
In the past several years, literally the ONLY thing I have written checks for is NRHS Chapter and National dues.


I have been repeatedly lobbying/badgering the treasurer of the largest Chapter I belong to to set up a PayPal or any other form of direct online payment,


PayPal also charges $30 per month just to have an account, so for a small organization it may not make sense to use it.

Bob H


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:21 am 

Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 7:16 am
Posts: 1596
I thought it curious that groups that request support (with urgency) would fail to provide direct contact and payment information, and instead chose to funnel contributions through a single path that only can be done with credit cards. There is certainly not a lot of effort required to post a mailing address and instructions to "make checks payable to....." on a Facebook page or a website. After a year of dealing with the Covid related problems, everybody has had plenty of time to get their websites edited to meet the need.

PC

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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:41 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 6:41 am
Posts: 198
Location: Stockton, New Jersey
I only send in checks for my donations. I do it so the organization does not pay the processing fee and it is easy for me to keep the notes in my records. I sent in two significant donations this past year to two great organizations. I have been selling some of my builder's plates and then donating the proceeds as donations. I check my bank accounts daily on line, but I refuse to do online banking as I simply do not trust the system and have friends who have been hacked. Maybe I am a dinosaur, but that is the way I like it. I have been forced recently to make two electronic payments on my credit cards because of the slow mail service. I am hoping that will improve soon.


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:57 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 4:18 pm
Posts: 505
Location: Illinois
If you bank with Chase, they have a BillPay function which can send a paper check to a payee, or transfer the $$$ directly if they also bank with Chase. I use that with the NRHS and also with the Train Collector's Association - so those were the last two checks I wrote that I don't anymore. This function will work with any payee, as far as I know. An alternative to finding the checkbook and very convenient.


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:01 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:28 am
Posts: 456
Location: Ipswich, UK
There are still some enthusiast/supporters type groups in the UK who will only accept cheques as payment for their membership fees, and I seem to be a member of three of them! Other ones I do online nowadays or (mainly) have set up bank standing orders.
I still prefer to use cheques for any donations that I make though, which enables me to keep a more tangible record of them. I have made a few bank transfer donations in the past, but discovered that my Bank (a well known International one) charged for the priviledge of doing these once you reached a certain figure (around £10K) if you didn't do online banking (which I don't).
I have been in the fortunate position of making some donations to preservation projects in the last 18 months which exceeded that figure, due to personal circumstances, so cheques were the only real way of doing it.

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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:27 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 861
Heavenrich wrote:
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
In the past several years, literally the ONLY thing I have written checks for is NRHS Chapter and National dues.


I have been repeatedly lobbying/badgering the treasurer of the largest Chapter I belong to to set up a PayPal or any other form of direct online payment,


PayPal also charges $30 per month just to have an account, so for a small organization it may not make sense to use it.

Bob H


This is not correct. There is a pro plan that charges $30 a month, but you only pay for that if you want to use those features.

Also, square and stripe are great ways to take money online as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:21 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1397
Location: Back in NE Ohio
Ron, you're not the only Neanderthal here who doesn't trust on-line banking.


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