A few weeks ago I was at a fundraising event that had a silent auction. So many fabulous items had been donated, but unfortunately bidders could only pay in cash or by check. I haven’t had more than $5 in my pocket for years and I can’t even remember the last time I carried a checkbook with me. So, I opted out of the silent auction. My guess is many others did too for the same reason.

A new service called Intuit GoPayment enables nonprofits to accept credit cards on mobile phones (View Supported Phones). There is a one-time setup fee of $59.95 and a monthly fee of $19.95. For small nonprofits on a tight budget, that may be a little high, but the good news is that you do not need to sign a contract. You can cancel at any time and your first two months are free (ideal if you just want to try it for this year’s holiday fundraising season). Cards accepted are MasterCard, Visa and Discover and the credit card processing fee is 2.44% plus $.27 per transaction. A signature is not necessary to process the donation and payment is immediately transferred to your nonprofit’s bank account. You can use the system to email or text a receipt, but I strongly suggest that you follow up with an e-mail thank you letter.

If your organization is one that hosts or attends a lot of events (galas, silent auctions, walkathons, protests, conferences, etc.)  throughout the year, then this could be an easy, cost-effective solution for accepting credit cards on the go. It also allows nonprofits to accept credit card payments verbally over the phone. Maybe your nonprofit does a year-end phone banking campaign? Or perhaps you want to notify donors in e-mail newsletters or on your website that they can also call in their donations if for some reason they don’t feel comfortable entering their credit card information on the Internet? In this competitive fundraising climate, donor convenience and on-the-spot fundraising may be just what your organization needs to stand out from the rest.

You can learn more at mobilepayment.intuit.com and if you are interested in being an early adopter of mobile technology, be sure to check out my Webinar on How Nonprofit Organizations Can Successfully Use Mobile Technology and Social Media. 2010 is going to be a big year for nonprofits and mobile technology. In the meantime, good luck with your year-end fundraising campaigns!