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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:45 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 667
Location: B'more Maryland
Yes.

If for no other reason than the fact that the "growth market" (ie, younger busy people) tend to hate dealing with checks.

Add in the complications that they incur when dealing with online transactions (like waiting for them to arrive and clear before shipping an order) and they are, without a doubt, on the way out.

You can debate the positives or draw backs of this tend, but you can't refute it's existence, and you ignore it at your organization's peril.


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:37 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5905
Location: southeastern USA
As long as people want to use checks, I'll accept them. What would be the benefit of turning them down?

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Santayana: "He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it."
Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:42 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:54 am
Posts: 931
Location: NJ
I got thinking about something somewhat related to how credit card companies charge a merchant fee. There are many organizations and charities, especially this time of year, that offer sustaining memberships. I am bombarded with ads, on TV, email and 'snail mail' with pleads for donations from hospitals, public broadcasting venues, animal rescues, etc.. I'm sure everyone is familiar with these outreach programs.

Just how do these work? Do the non-profits handle their own processing, or are there outfits that do that for them? Or both? I know there are processing fees involved in some cases; I have been asked if I would include and additional XXX to cover fees. And those fees would probably be in addition to the credit card fees.

It does seem like having a third party involved would eliminate some of the book keeping for a non-profit. And credit cards, either for one time or sustained donations, would eliminate the danger of someone issuing a bounced check, and would make the donation available, right away, as someone else has stated.


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 3:37 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 201
There are third party firms that do raise funds for non-profit organizations, but many charge 90% or more of the gross revenues. Therefore, if you donate $100, $90 or more can go to the fund-raising organization, not the non-profit.

Yes, there are firms that do it for less, but finding them can be tough and they are normally booked with the largest non-profits where millions of dollars are handled routinely.

Many non-profits do handle their own fundraising, but it can be a major part of their budget - salaries of some of their managers approach those of executives at major for-profit companies. Many call them Development Offices and they are heavily staffed. Some even take a loss on the fundraising, using the advertisements as part of their public relations effort. For example, several very well-known environmental and animal rights groups routinely lose money on their television fundraising campaigns, but write it off as part of their name recognition efforts that they use when they talk to politicians.

Fund raising can be very expensive and time consuming as you have to know the right people, have materials made, handle the funds if they come with specific purposes, etc. Looking around, some of the largest donations come from the members of the organization that receives them, or contacts of members. This is because they know the group. In many cases, it takes efforts to get people to know the organization before they are willing to support them. Think about how this will be done as fundraising can be a major time consuming and expensive proposition.

The first step should just make it easy for anyone looking at your website or Facebook page to donate with just a click. If someone is looking at your materials, they are at least interested in the organization. From there, you have to know your organization, your current supporters, and who might be your future supporters.


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 5:29 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:40 pm
Posts: 306
Location: San Francisco, CA
folks,
I can see both sides of this; I send checks to some organizations and electronic mail to others.

I do not have a Pay Pal account; they make enough money as it is. No need for a non-profit to miss some of my donation because of a charge.

Ted Miles


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 5:59 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 843
The number of people who would see an ad for a donation online and then desire to send a check in the mail has got to be a minimal number.


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

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:07 am
Posts: 591
Bartman-TN wrote:
There are third party firms that do raise funds for non-profit organizations, but many charge 90% or more of the gross revenues. Therefore, if you donate $100, $90 or more can go to the fund-raising organization, not the non-profit.

.


IRS requires non profits to report the amount they spend on fund raising and administrative expenses on the 990s they have to file each year and this data is available on the Guide Star website.

Bob H


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:32 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
Posts: 915
Location: New Franklin, OH
We accept checks, credit cards and donations through PayPal. Checks have no fees, credit cards have their standard merchant fees (amount depends on which gateway you use) and PayPal’s non-profit rate is 2.2% plus $0.30 per transaction. You don’t need a PayPal account to donate via PayPal. We accept cash, too. We’re old fashioned like that.

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Orrville Railroad Heritage Society
Car Knocker, Gandy Dancer & Hog Jockey
https://orrvillerailroad.com


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:45 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 667
Location: B'more Maryland
Dave wrote:
As long as people want to use checks, I'll accept them. What would be the benefit of turning them down?


Not having to delay transactions while waiting for the USPS to do its thing.

Not having to worry about managing physical paper objects in a distributed organization where the treasurer, membership person and person doing order fulfillment don't live within 100 miles of the organization's PO box.

Not having to worry about checks lost in the mail.

Not having to deal with checks made out for the wrong amount (either too much or too little).

Generally, all sorts of opportunities for inefficiency.

Avoiding all those hassles is worth the 3%.

If you need validation, try ordering from any major modern online retailer with a check.


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 9:35 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9850
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Don't we already have problems finding treasurers?

One group I'm has had its treasurer begging for a volunteer replacement--for over a decade. Even though this group no longer does main-line excursions or owns rolling stock (both of which complicated the job in ages past), and only has a few hundred members, it manages somewhere north of a quarter-million dollars in the bank, used for grants to other projects.

When he finally either quits or dies, I am rather positive the new treasurer will shift to more online accounting than before, as well as an online bank account of sorts.


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 10:24 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 1473
I have seen a remarkable rise in the number of people who prefer to use Venmo for relatively small payments (~$100-600) arranged over the telephone.

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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 10:38 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 1:53 pm
Posts: 343
Location: Annville, PA
All it costs is a small issuing fee plus the stamp...

https://www.usps.com/shop/money-orders.htm


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:05 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 667
Location: B'more Maryland
NVPete wrote:
All it costs is a small issuing fee plus the stamp...

https://www.usps.com/shop/money-orders.htm



Lol, money orders.

I'll get the operator on the line...

Seriously. Clinging to outdated ways of doing things will DOOM the railroad preservation movement.

I'm very involved in the management of two historical societies. One embraces modern technology, methods, and the people who use those. One is still trying to adopt Roberts Rules to email communications.

Guess which one is building a museum, and guess which one is concerned about its members passing away.

If you want your organization to thrive, or even survive these times that seem to be accelerating the arrival of the future, you've gotta get with them.


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:14 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:10 pm
Posts: 171
Location: TN
Ed Kapuscinski wrote:
Yes.

If for no other reason than the fact that the "growth market" (ie, younger busy people) tend to hate dealing with checks.


This. I’m 27, never owned a checkbook, don’t plan to. If I absolutely must have a check, I get a cashier’s check from the bank, but that is way too out of the way for anything but bills (which are all payable online) and almost never happens (it’s been over 2 years since the last time I did that even, just for earnest funds for my house).

I’m far from alone in this opinion amongst my age group too.


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:33 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 843
The railroad museum I worked for stopped paying me by check years ago. Direct deposit is the only option.


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