Non-profit treasurer - tools for accepting money (Venmo, Paypal, etc.)

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dolphintraveler
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Non-profit treasurer - tools for accepting money (Venmo, Paypal, etc.)

Post by dolphintraveler »

Hi all,

I am a treasurer for a non-profit (cub scout pack). We collect money for all types of activities from the scout families that participate in those activities as well as donations to the pack. The pack is looking for an easier way to exchange money (checks it the current method) and Venmo was suggested. As far as I can tell Venmo does personal accounts (I hesitate to collect money in my personal account then pay for others) and business accounts, but not non-profit accounts.

I glanced at iGivelify which seems to have a set fee per donation (2% + $0.30), whereas Venmo is free unless a credit card is used (then 3%).

My ideal (which I'm sure doesn't exist) would be free (or low, or only credit card charges) and could be done remotely - e.g. don't have to physically be near each other so they could be done at any time of day or night. Edited to add: and I could transfer one day to the next treasurer.

Any suggestions on what we could use or what tools I should look at? Any tool you've actually had experience with?

Thanks!
baliktad
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Re: Non-profit treasurer - tools for accepting money (Venmo, Paypal, etc.)

Post by baliktad »

dolphintraveler wrote: Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:58 pm I hesitate to collect money in my personal account then pay for others
Your instincts are right here - do NOT do this as it will be viewed suspiciously by Venmo and banks on both sides. Although it's not your intent, funds transfers like this are a form of money laundering and financial institutions will very quickly catch on, freeze funds, and probably close both your personal account and the pack's account. Never mix personal and organization funds in one bank account.

Presumably you already have a local bank account for your scout pack. Go to the branch the account is held at and ask if they accept deposits by mail (most do). You can then tell other parents they can make their donations via their bank's online bill pay by adding a payee with the name of your scout pack at the address of your local bank. This will be free for everyone involved. Each online bill pay service will cut a paper check and mail it directly to your bank, who will deposit it to your pack's account. Our bank allows us to view scanned images of deposited checks so we know who paid what.

This requires no expensive set up or ongoing fees, doesn't require any new accounts or services, and allows parents to make donations from their existing bank the same way they pay the rest of their bills. It also removes all the hassle from you as the treasurer as you don't have to touch any checks and can do all your recordkeeping online.

The only 'risk' to this method is if your pack decides to change bank accounts. Parents may use their saved payee information to send payments months or even YEARS later to a bank that no longer holds your account. So this method words best if you don't expect to change banks in the foreseeable future.
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dm200
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Re: Non-profit treasurer - tools for accepting money (Venmo, Paypal, etc.)

Post by dm200 »

1. I would discuss ideas with others from similar scout groups

2. Do you have a host or sponsor group? (such as a church, etc.) If so, they may have ideas for this
niceguy7376
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Re: Non-profit treasurer - tools for accepting money (Venmo, Paypal, etc.)

Post by niceguy7376 »

Do you need to have credit card acceptance? If it is just bank transfers, then see if you could setup to receive money by linking the non profit company email to the bank account. With Zelle application, now it is very easy to transfer money from one bank account to another.

If you need credit card acceptance, then how about those that are sending to have paypal account.
Miakis
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Re: Non-profit treasurer - tools for accepting money (Venmo, Paypal, etc.)

Post by Miakis »

I am the treasurer for an organization that uses Paypal. The Paypal account itself is easy to authorize the new treasurer for. The old treasurer just calls and authorizes the new one. Transfers to the bank happen in 1-2 business days. Fees are the usual Paypal fees. It integrates well with our website buttons.

If you want to have a credit card reader with Paypal, the treasurer has to attach their name and SSN as the responsible party. To switch it, you need to do a conference call with the old and new treasurer and the new treasurer is accepting personal responsibility to some degree. This was our first year doing this, and I was the treasurer and I felt generally comfortable with Paypal's terms. But we have discussed this as a board and have decided that we will probably end up stopping swiping cards when the treasurer positions turns over.
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celia
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Re: Non-profit treasurer - tools for accepting money (Venmo, Paypal, etc.)

Post by celia »

Miakis wrote: Sat Aug 26, 2017 11:43 pm The old treasurer just calls and authorizes the new one...

...To switch it, you need to do a conference call with the old and new treasurer and...
And what do you do if the old treasurer died unexpectedly or became incapacitated? Why does either have to contact PayPal if the payments are going to the same scout checking account? You should only have to change who the treasurer is on the bank account. Donations from Amazon or local markets or other programs you are affiliated with should go directly into the checking account. Why would PayPal be different?

Many non-profits have a hard time getting volunteers to fill board positions. If you make the treasurer job difficult, people will be less likely to want to volunteer for it.

As an aside, I read that one way to encourage the treasurer to stay honest is to have the monthly bank statement be received or at least opened and read by another board member and see if the numbers match the reports the treasurer is generating for the board each month. Meanwhile, the treasurer can use online access to reconcile the checkbox register with the bank.

(I am a former non-profit treasurer.)
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Watty
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Re: Non-profit treasurer - tools for accepting money (Venmo, Paypal, etc.)

Post by Watty »

I deposit the checks for my large HOA. We have looked into setting up some sort of online payment and one of the drawbacks is that there will still be people that will want to pay by check. There is a risk that instead of making the work easier you will more or less double the work for the person handling the books since they will have to handle both credit card payments and check payments. This would especially be an issue when a new person needs to be trained to do the deposit since they will need to be trained in both processes.

Another problem for us is getting the check associated with the right account. We use the lot number as the account number and people will often not include that and even occasionally write down the incorrect lot number on the check. Part of our deposit process is to verify the lot number.

For the amount of time that it would take to set up the online payment and train people on it it might be easier to just stick with checks.
Topic Author
dolphintraveler
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Re: Non-profit treasurer - tools for accepting money (Venmo, Paypal, etc.)

Post by dolphintraveler »

Thank you all for the advice. Really appreciate the reminder on not mixing personal and (non-profit) business funds.

We will check with the other packs and see if any others have suggestions, as well as our sponsor.

Paypal does seem straight forward, but trying to avoid the fees.

Excellent advice on being considerate to the next treasurer, though I am hoping to pass it to them while alive and of able mind.

I will look into Zelle, so far not seeing the pricing structure, but the fact that we could create a treasurer email account and then transfer that password (which they could change) to the next treasurer along with the bank account has some appeal.

Thank you Bogleheads!
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Pajamas
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Re: Non-profit treasurer - tools for accepting money (Venmo, Paypal, etc.)

Post by Pajamas »

Paypal is notorious for freezing accounts, making withdrawals from connecting bank accounts, not handling anything unusual well, and generally providing poor service when something goes wrong. I would avoid using them if at all possible.
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celia
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Re: Non-profit treasurer - tools for accepting money (Venmo, Paypal, etc.)

Post by celia »

dolphintraveler wrote: Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:13 pm Excellent advice on being considerate to the next treasurer, though I am hoping to pass it to them while alive and of able mind.
This is very important if your volunteers are un-paid. Or if you have more board positions to fill than you have volunteers. Or if your organization mainly caters to seniors and your volunteers are seniors.

At our last meeting (of mainly seniors), one of the members demonstrated how to use Excel, since over half the people had it on their computer but have never used it. The treasurer's position requires experience with Excel since that is how we keep our records. And since I had to send out the status of our bank accounts to all the board members every month and some of them didn't use Excel, I also had to send out a copy in .pdf format.

When I was treasurer, I spent a lot of time re-organizing how the treasurer kept records. I added macros to the spreadsheets so the "Budget" worksheet could pick dollar values out of the "Checkbook register" worksheet. This kept the "Budget" worksheet up to date as soon as I reconciled the monthly bank statement. We also had donations coming in from about 6 "partners" whom we promote indirectly on our website (Amazon, Ralph's markets, eScrip,..) These were all tied to the email address of the former treasurer. So I created a new email account for the treasurer and one-by-one worked with the old treasurer to change how they should contact us. Now, it is easy for a new treasurer to jump in and have ready access to all that they need, once he/she becomes known to the bank as the treasurer and has access to the treasurer's email address. (Part of my efforts in doing this, was to make it easier, should I become treasurer again.)
dolphintraveler wrote: Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:13 pm I will look into Zelle, so far not seeing the pricing structure, but the fact that we could create a treasurer email account and then transfer that password (which they could change) to the next treasurer along with the bank account has some appeal.
The email password should be known to a few other board members in case something should happen to the treasurer. Remember, this is not the treasurer's personal money, but belongs to the organization, and the organization needs to access its assets.
inbox788
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Re: Non-profit treasurer - tools for accepting money (Venmo, Paypal, etc.)

Post by inbox788 »

The problem you're trying to solve is difficult to do in the electronic world. A lot of non-profits are trying to use these online services to help fundraiser, but they're very inefficient, and many appear to be profiteering off the non-profits. The worst part is that man of these services require registration by the users, so that's a big issue getting all the participants into the fold. So on the cost side, how many nonprofits can absorb a 3% or higher cost to their budget? And on the service side, it takes a high participation rate to reduce the offline burdens, and having to deal with online and offline money can be double taxing. I'm all for technology, but when it's not ready or helpful, I holdfast to traditional methods.

Experiment slowly and see if you find helpful tools, but don't dive into it. Do you still receive paper statements or have you gone all electronic?
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bayview
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Re: Non-profit treasurer - tools for accepting money (Venmo, Paypal, etc.)

Post by bayview »

dolphintraveler wrote: Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:13 pm Thank you all for the advice. Really appreciate the reminder on not mixing personal and (non-profit) business funds.

We will check with the other packs and see if any others have suggestions, as well as our sponsor.

Paypal does seem straight forward, but trying to avoid the fees.

Excellent advice on being considerate to the next treasurer, though I am hoping to pass it to them while alive and of able mind.

I will look into Zelle, so far not seeing the pricing structure, but the fact that we could create a treasurer email account and then transfer that password (which they could change) to the next treasurer along with the bank account has some appeal.

Thank you Bogleheads!
I would also suggest contacting your local BSA office. I did the same sort of thing for many years in Girl Scouts, and I ran similar questions through my local Girl Scouts Council office/ Service Center. I don't know the jargon for BSA, but I'm sure it's similar.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri
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dm200
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Re: Non-profit treasurer - tools for accepting money (Venmo, Paypal, etc.)

Post by dm200 »

Maybe I am wrong, and have never been a Boy Scout myself, but I thought money from BSA troops, etc. was done by the sponsor. When I was a parent of a Boy Scout, I was on the troop committee and the money/bank account was handled by the representative of the sponsor (a Church).

A friend of mine is a Scoutmaster for a Scout Troop sponsored by a church of our denomination. He tells me that he must get the Church Pastor to disburse all funds and sign the check.
Nowizard
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Re: Non-profit treasurer - tools for accepting money (Venmo, Paypal, etc.)

Post by Nowizard »

You might want to look up a company called Classy. They produce software to aid with the unique tax issues of non-profits and allocation of funds received, as I understand it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classy_(company)


Tim
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