to Get Started:
an Application Service Provider (ASP)
If your organization does choose to use an application service provider
(ASP) to handle donations and transactions, you should thoroughly
research several ASPs to decide which is the best for your organization.
According to the E-Philanthropy Review, ask yourself the following
questions when choosing an ASP (Ellsworth, 2001):
- Do you need
a merchant account and if not, whose name shows up on the donor’s
- Who owns the
donor information? Does the information integrate into my existing
membership and accounting programs?
- Who handles
insuring that donor questions regarding the transaction are answered?
- What are the
fees? Are there fees for set-up, customer service, and/or transaction
- What is the
financial stability of the ASP and are you locked into the contract?
- What is their
uptime guarantee (sometimes called an “SLA”)?
Can their systems handle significant loads?
- How often
do I receive my funds?
- Do they audit
their transactions and do reconciliation to insure that funds are
- How responsive
are they to their customers? What is their promised turn-around
time for responses?
- What clients
do they have? What do these clients think of the ASP?
- What other
tools can they provide, such as e-mail marketing, donor tracking,
- Can they handle
the type of fundraising that you want to do (dues, membership,
All reputable ASPs should be able to answer your questions truthfully
and thoroughly. Remember, YOU are the customer, and the ASP is there
to serve you.
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