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Maximizing Donations (Minimizing Fees)


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Thank you for the "HelioHost Finances" email letting me know you're losing money, and the great graph illustrating where your money goes! I already donated in the past and have the maxed 2000MB storage, but I think a monthly donation of even $1/month would be more helpful to you guys than the random $5 donations from you sending an email.


With that context, I have a two-pronged question:

  • Can you add support for Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), to eliminate card transaction fees and send money directly from my bank account to Heliohost's bank account?
  • If not, which of your existing options minimizes fees for you? PayPal takes a 2.2% fee for registered 501(c­)(3) organizations, Skrill appears to take a 1.45% fee, and credit cards also have merchant fees, but I don't know which is the lowest fee for you. Cryptocurrency is another option of course, but I'm not sure what fees I'd end up paying to convert my USD to BTC, Aeon, ETN, or XMR and then finally get it transferred to you.
Most of the other 501(c­)(3) organizations to which I donate accept EFT, minimizing fees. With family and friends, I use Zelle which has zero fees. I did some googling and I while I have no experience with accepting payments, I chatted with a rep (Danielle) from Host Merchant Services and it sounds like they might be able to help you at low cost. You can get a free quote from https://www.hostmerchantservices.com/lowest-rates. I have no affiliation with them so if you can find another provider with better fees, of course, you should use them instead. But if Host Merchant Services can lower your fees, I'd love to donate through them instead!


Of course, accepting EFT sounds to me like it could be a big task especially considering how few donors you likely have, and if that's the case please let me know and I'll happily send you money using whatever other option is best for you.


Thanks again for providing your wonderful service!

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Here's a transcript of my chat with Danielle from Host Merchant Services:



Danielle: Hello how may I assist you?


Me: I'm looking for someone who can help a small online non-profit (registered 501c3) accept EFT and minimize transaction costs. Monthly donations are less than $1000/month, and most of those will come via PayPal, Bitcoin, or other more common venues. Is Host Merchant Services a good fit to add EFT support for them?

(Note, I'm only a customer for them, not part of their organization. I want to donate to them and get more of my money to them than the 2.2% fee charged by PayPal)


Danielle: We have several solutions that allow a non-profit to take payments online.

If they have their 501©3 paperwork than they will get the discounted rates that are offered from the card associations.


Me: Do you support EFT?


Danielle: We do


Me: That's obviously MUCH cheaper than card transaction fees


Danielle: Correct.


Me: Would it be economical for them to start accepting EFT through you (and keep their PayPal option for other donors who won't want to switch), even if you're processing less than $10/month for them? This is of course a very low-priority venture for you I'm sure, but I do appreciate your time!


Danielle: There is no such thing as low priority. We are always happy to speak with every charity and find the best way for them to accept donations.

We would be more than happy to speak with them and do an analysis to see what would work best for them.


Me: Thank you so much for your time! I'll let them know about you, and hope you can find something together that lowers their fees!


Danielle: Perfect! We look forward to hearing from them.

Please feel free to have them email me: danielle@hostmerchantservices.com or call: 877-517-4678 opt 1. What type of non-profit is this?


Me: https://www.heliohost.org, they offer free website hosting for anyone with no required ads or any other disadvantages that I've found! I've been using them for over 5 years and they've been really great!


Danielle: Thank you for that information. I am glad that they provide you with such great service.

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  • 9 months later...

I just found another name for this type of bank-to-bank payment is ACH (Automated Clearing House). One payment processor supporting this is Wave, and while they do have just 1% fees for ACH transactions, it also has a $1 minimum fee. So basically unless someone is donating over $68 it would still be more expensive than Skrill. Just wanted to note this in the hopes that someone can use the information in the future. I keep hoping more payment processors will start offering this feature. 

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Something like this might make sense for the larger VPS options (or if we had customers wanting to prepay for multiple months up front), but otherwise yeah, our average transaction size is too small for the fees to make sense. Most of our donations are between $1 and $10, and not recurring.


Also, most of our users are international, so whatever we use must support as many countries as possible. The only countries we aren't allowed to accept money from are Iran and North Korea.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 years later...

PayPal Giving Fund page looks active at https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/2598664. Minimum donation is $1.

Facebook is also showing me a fee-free donate button from the Heliohost Facebook page on mobile app. I don't see it on the browser website for whatever reason. Maybe Meta Pay is only an app feature and not on web https://www.facebook.com/HelioHost.org. Minimum donation is $5.

Charityvest is another option I found for fee-free donations, although only US citizens can use it and there is a $20 minimum. I am considering making a donation from Charityvest. Looks like they'd send you a check in the mail https://guide.charityvest.org/for-charities/overview, to 110 7 Th Ave S, Kirkland, WA 98033 per your IRS records (and may support ACH direct deposit in the future). Their giving page is https://charityvest.org/charity/helio-networks-d5b1f0df-8759-41c4-91b3-e9e75099579d 

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Charityvest is probably not a good option for most...the bulk of our users are non-US and < $20 (though we do get some big donations from time to time, so it might be a nice option to have if a US donor wants to make a large donation). Also, I'm not sure whether how often we receive mail at that address considering none of us actually live in WA. Krydos would know if that's an option or not.

Note that anything sent outside of Paypal won't count for anything in terms of a Tommy invite/space upgrade/ETA change/etc. unless you were to post and request it be counted. Our systems depend on the Paypal API for donation tracking, only a normal Paypal donation reports this way (I'm not sure if giving fund donations would report on the API or not, I suspect not based on how GF works).

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I'm not entirely sure, but I suspect that address is Ashoat's parents house which is where he was living when he was 15 years old and started HelioHost. We do receive official mail there from the government, etc. so we'd eventually get it if a check was mailed there, but that would be a huge hassle for Ashoat, who currently lives in New York, to fly to Seattle, to visit his parents, pick up the check, go to a Chase bank where we have our main bank account, and deposit the check. The donation would have to be several thousand dollars for that to be worth the effort.

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  • 3 months later...

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