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Payment Gateways for Charities



For a charity, community group or similar organisation, possibly one of the main challenges would be to choose the right payment gateway.

For many non-profits, money gifts and donations are so important, they are essential to funding charitable activities, so they have to get the donation process right – and get it right first time.

A payment gateway is a method of making and allowing payments online which can be used for e-businesses, online retailers, a traditional high street store or business, or “bricks and clicks” - a combination of a high street shop or business that also has and on line presence.

A payment gateway can be seen as the virtual equivalent of the physical point of sales terminal which you would find in most retail outlets; for this situation, it would also be an electronic service provider which could allow charities to process credit and debit card transactions.

Many charities choose to use payment gateways to process transactions through a fundraising platform.

JustGiving could be an example platform; charities have the ability to directly join up with the platform so the payment process is handled and remains entirely on the JustGiving website, or can provide lower fees if a charity or group is expecting to receive a large number of transactions.

Choosing the right payment gateway for you boils down to what you require as a charity. The following information may be helpful, please see below:

What do you need from your payment gateway?

Do you only need a platform which makes it easy to just take single donation payments?

Do you need the option take repeat payments, or have the ability to set up a direct debit?

It helps to think about the level of flexibility you will need when moving forward as a charity as well as how your chosen provider will work with your other business tools; some charities have things such Customer Relations Manager system (CRM) – will your gateway work with it?

Is it easy to use?

It may sound obvious, but if your payment gateway isn’t easy to use, then this could create complications.

What control do you have over the user experience?

Would your payment gateway allow for transactions onsite?

How much creative control do you have over the design of the payment process?

It should not be underestimated that bad user experience can have an effect on whether someone wants to donate or use the service again.

What are the fees?

Do you know exactly how much you are expected to pay for using your payment gateway?

There are fees to consider for your payment gateway; this can include set up, whether monthly subscription or per transaction.

Be sure you are aware of all costs involved: Your payment partner might look to be cheapest option available, but just make sure you find out as much as you can to make sure you are aware.

Is your payment gateway legally compliant and secure?

Most payment gateways that are available will abide by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). But it would be your responsibility to check if your provider is up to the task.

You also have to consider how your provider affects your GDPR processes: with the new data regulations, it pays to do your due diligence.

Choosing the right payment gateway for your charity comes down to what best suits your group’s needs. Be sure to look into your potential partners, and don’t be afraid to ask any questions. Choosing the right payment gateway for your charity comes down to looking at the best match for your group’s needs.

Below is some information about some available options:

Sage Pay -
SmartDebit -

Worldpay -

PayPal -
The Charity Commission provides some useful guidelines on raising funds for charities, which includes increasing the value of a donation to a charity.

Also known as How2Fundraise, the Institute of Fundraising is the professional membership body for UK fundraising. They work to support fundraisers through leadership and representation, as well as in best practice and compliance, education and networking.

The Institute have available resources and guidance on their website which you may find helpful.

MVA has a growing resource of information and advice available to help increase and assist organisations to generate income. This Income Generation resource can be found amongst the Advice and Support pages of the MVA website.

North Kent Training Service (NKTS), the training arm of MVA, provide a growing range of courses across all sectors and individual learners in Kent. Their courses based around Income Generation can be viewed online here . For more information about their courses, or to discuss your training needs, you can call NKTS on 01634 818 360 , or you can email them at



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