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Fundraising in a cashless society

Fundraising in a cashless society

Here in the US we live in an increasingly cashless society. While this undoubtedly hits subway musicians and coffee baristas hardest, the days of donation jars at grocery store checkout counters are also numbered. Of course technology gives what technology takes away. A new start-up called DipJar has come out with a product of the same name that, although intended for tipping at your favorite coffee shop, could just as easily be used at conferences and networking events for a passerby to make a quick, small donation to your organization.

The DipJar

The DipJar

The small cylindrical device has a credit card slot that allows a person to dip (hence the name) their credit card and automatically charge a preset amount of money, usually $1. DipJar’s FAQ says that currently their transaction costs total to no more than $0.20 per dollar, with an eventual goal of $0.10 per dollar, and the DipJar itself is provided free to retailers. DipJar is currently in early testing phases and is only available to select retailers.

If you can’t wait until DipJar is widely available, there are alternatives already on the market. One such alternative is Square, a small credit card reader that plugs into the headphone jack of your Android or iOS smartphone/tablet. They are already popular with small businesses that want to give their customers the convenience of credit card transactions (if you’ve ever patronized a food truck in DC, you’ve likely already experienced Square).

Square

Square

Although Square requires more user interaction than DipJar, there are a few benefits. Each person can specify how much they want charged to their card and can be emailed a receipt (important for tax time!). Also, Square’s flat transaction fee of 2.75% is quite a bit lower than DipJar. Similar to DipJar, the card reader and apps are free, but you will of course have to use your own smartphone/tablet.

While Square was first-to-market with this type of service, some other recognizable names such as PayPal and Intuit offer similar devices with similar rates.

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