Six Major Upcoming Updates Coming to Community in 2018!!
1. HOSTING PLATFORM CHANGE
We are in the process of moving from a local hosting provider for our server to Microsoft Azure (Microsoft’s Cloud Platform). This move will enable us to scale up our server(s) during the 24 hour giving periods. We can not only scale up by dynamically adding more CPU and memory on the fly to the server but we will also be able to scale out and have multiple front-end servers handling traffic. This will greatly enhance our scalability posture as we take on more and larger Big Gives.
2. PAYMENT PROCESSOR CHANGE
We are going to be switching from PayPal to Priority Payment Systems (TSYS).
Over the years we have had the desire to make improvements to our Big Give Platform. We believe that this is the next step in making a major enhancement to the platform. We believe that this will be a good change for all parties involved.
We are looking to move away from PayPal as the platform’s payment processor and go with a new partner Priority Payment Systems. Here are the advantages that we see with this move.
Non-profits will receive more money due to smaller credit card transaction fees. Priority Payment Systems will be taking out 2.2% which will match the non-profit rate of PayPal minus the $.30/transaction fee that PayPal tacks on as well. This will be a slight bonus to the non-profits but cost savings really isn’t the primary reason for changing to Priority and leaving PayPal.
A new feature we will be added during the checkout process that will give the donor the ability to cover the transaction fee of 2.2%. If the giving day organization wants to add an amount on top of this to help them cover the administrative cost of the giving day that will be a setting in our system that they can assert.
With the new processor configuration, we will now have the option to schedule credit card payments two weeks in advance! Before the Big Give “opens” donors could come to the site and schedule their donations. This information would be sent to and stored by Priority Payment Systems. Then when the time scheduled occurs the transaction would be processed.
Non-profits no longer need to set up a PayPal account, tie it to their bank account and get their PayPal accounts verified before the Big Give. This is a benefit both to the non-profits as well as the Big Give administrators as they don’t have to spend a bunch of time helping non-profits onboard into the system. Big Give administrators will all agree this can be a challenging task.
Big Give Administrator Advantages:
Big Give administrators only have to manage the finances for the physical money that comes in. The funds that come in via credit card transactions will flow into a Community Giving Platform account and at the end of the giving day we will either cut a check to the big give community organization so that they can disperse the funds or in the case of a community not having a formal checking account we can cut checks to the individual organizations. Whether we are providing the funds to the community organization or the participating organizations themselves, we will provide a statement that shows the total amount of donations that came in and the total amount they actually received less their processing fees.
Big Give administrators will have access to more detailed information in the case of an unsuccessful credit card process attempt. We will have access to more detailed error messages such as – card declined, invalid security code provided, incorrect card number, etc. that the Big Give administrators can look up in our system if they are contacted by a donor.
Big Give administrators no longer will need to run through all non-profit accounts each year and make test donations to validate that their PayPal accounts are correctly configured.
Big Give administrators will be able to onboard non-profits with ease, due to not having to assist non-profits with their PayPal account setups.
Administrators will have an easier time helping donors with any problems they may experience during the checkout process as the donors will now be staying on site vs. being sent to PayPal where we have zero visibility on what happens.
The donor will wait during the actual transaction processing and they will real-time receive feedback on whether or not the donations that they made actually went through. If there are any errors during that processing we can notify them immediately during that transaction and give them some insight as to why the transaction did not go through.
At the end of the checkout process, the donor no longer needs to leave your Big Give site and be sent to PayPal. All transactions will now happen directly within your Big Give site’s interface so it will be a much smoother experience for the donors.
General System Advantages/Feature Enhancements:
The new system solves the issue of only being able to add up to ten non-profits to your cart at a time. This was a PayPal integration limitation.
Multiple Big Give events can be running at the same time – this is currently a limitation of our interface with PayPal.
There aren’t many disadvantages but these are the ones that we were able to come up with.
Non-profits will not have immediate access to their funds – funds will be dispersed to each non-profit within 5-10 business days after the closing of the Big Give event. In the current system with PayPal the funds are deposited into their PayPal accounts immediately after the donation is made.
Priority Payment Systems doesn’t have the same name recognition in the industry as PayPal. Once the new integration with Priority Payment Systems is in place the donors will not have any idea who is actually doing the processing so this probably really isn’t a big disadvantage.
3. SITE INTERFACE UPGRADE
We built out Community platform a few years ago and the site interface is starting to look a bit dated. This year we will be rolling out a new main interface to the site. With the new interface, the site will look fresh and be even more mobile-accessible for those on the go.
4. ADMIN INTERFACE UPGRADE
The admin interface of our site was a homegrown “built it as we grew” interface. We are now going to put the admin area of the site through a major interface enhancement. With this change, it will allow us to now only do what we are doing today in a more intuitive way but also give us the flexibility to add numerous new features to the admin side of the house.
5. TEXT TO GIVE
We are just getting ready to launch a new service to our Community platform. This new service will allow each participating nonprofit to have a unique code that can be used to make a donation via sending mobile texts. Everyone would share the same phone number and the code will differentiate between each nonprofit. All of the funds collected through this channel would end up in the same account as all of the website donations. This service would only be available during the 24 hour giving period. The transaction fee for this type of transaction will be a bit higher (3.8%) than the standard website transaction (1.8%). This will simply provide another donation channel for the nonprofits. We are still discussing if there will be an upcharge for this service – stay tuned.
6. ADDING A NEW DEVELOPER
We are bringing on a new part-time developer to help us execute all of the above changes as well as help us with a number of feature enhancements for the platform as well.
We are super excited for 2018! It is going to be a great year for Community! We would love for you to be a part of what we are doing.