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Advanced Techniques

Sept. 11




How to Get Started:

Choosing 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 bill?
  • 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 fees?
  • 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 transferred correctly?
  • 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, etc.?
  • Can they handle the type of fundraising that you want to do (dues, membership, merchandise, etc.?

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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Copyright ©2003 Cathryn A. Outzen