Creating a merchant gateway and credit card acceptance system is a process fraught with complexity, expense, and frustration. From the monthly security scans to the costs of maintaining the required network security, operating a nuclear power plant might be easier.
We decided to create a product that would make this process painless for organizations that can benefit from online contributions. By using Patriot, you avoid having to create your own gateway and merchant account systems, as you can simply borrow ours. Moreover, we offer a full-featured contribution management system, so even if you don't want to collect funds from online donors, you can benefit from the organizational capabilities that Patriot offers.
Who can use our online donation system?
Our system allows anyone to collect donations from any existing Website no matter who hosts or who designed it. No matter the programming language in which it is written or number of pages in your site, Patriot can easily be linked into your existing online offering. This flexibility leaves you worry-free so you should use our system as your online fundraising tool whether you are a nonprofit organization, a political candidate or other political organization. All you need is an email address to receive donation notifications and a checking account into which we will deposit your funds. Our secure system also allows you to control which users have access to donation information. For example, you can restrict access to financial information but allow the same user to manage the volunteer module within the same system. You have complete control through our unique Roles and Security feature.
Is our system secure?
There are many levels of security that organizations can attempt to meet when doing business online. With our years of software development experience and working with such restrictions as HIPAA compliance, EU privacy acts, and other laws, we truly understand the meaning of the term "secure." We encrypt our data so your information is rendered unreadable outside of our application. Also, on a physical level our servers are securely housed in a secure building with locked server cabinets, locked bezels on each server, HID key-card door locks, and Brinks security challenges on those that do enter. We also have multiple security cameras to see who is lurking about inside or outside of the facility. Our entire network is continuously scanned by external security firms to be sure our firewalls are hardened and our systems are secure. We also re-scan our entire network each week to maintain a pristine environment. You won't find many others that have taken the time or expense to secure their network and data to the level that we have. We meet or exceed all of the requirements for Visa and Mastercard security certification required by a level four merchant.
What information do we store?
We store everything we can because you never know what kind of weird report you might want years down the road. This includes all of the required personal data for each individual that donates to your organization as well as the raw dollar amounts and transaction details. We also store this information for another key reason: fraud prevention. We store the Internet (IP) addresses of all donors and users as well other pertinent information that will allow us to track down and better prevent fraudulent behavior. However, we do not store credit card information aside from approval codes that can be used by the bank to track a transaction. This minimizes any risk that might otherwise be present by holding onto the credit card details. Your privacy and the privacy of your donors is a major priority and one that we take very seriously. You can also add an infinite number of custom fields to your database, so no matter what special need you have, Patriot can handle it.
How does our online donation collection work?
We securely collect the credit card data from the donor and deposit it into our holding account. At the same time, we will send you an email letting you know about the transaction and individual who made the contribution from your Website. Also, a receipt is sent to the donor on your behalf thanking them for their contribution. Back in the holding account the deposit can be examined and verified as valid. This is quite meaningful to political organizations that may have a limit on the size of the donation they can accept. Note that Patriot allows you to specify a donation limit so someone cannot over-contribute and violate election law. Watching donations in this manner prevents possible misuse and the unfortunate, time consuming paperwork that results. We also temporarily hold the donation to allow for reversals in case of
a donation error (i.e. donor accidentally doubles their contribution, adds
an extra zero, etc.). Once the donation is verified, our fee is removed. We then deposit the net amount directly into your bank account (usually 3 to 10 business days after the donation has been processed). All of the transactions (pending and historical) are available in our system so you can see exactly what is going on and how much you are making.
Allow support groups the ability to track their efforts!
Did you know that our system can create unique donation pages for use by other groups that might be supporting your organization? For example, one of our clients belongs to a rather large professional organization, and they wanted to directly support the fundraising effort. By using our flexible donation categorization system, they were able to place a fundraising page right on their site, customized just for them! Patriot then tracks the donors and dollars raised specifically by that Website. It is then a simple matter to generate reports to help keep them motivated and assist them in reaching your mutual goals. Volunteers can also customize their own fundraising page that tracks the money they raise for the campaign or organization. This could increase excitement by providing a friendly sense of competition.
Allow recurring donations in your campaign.
Patriot provides the option for donors to sign themselves up for recurring donations on a set schedule. You control the allowed schedules (i.e. monthly, quarterly, even weekly) and the maximum recurring amount. This payment plan can help take the stress off those larger, one-time contributions. Also, the option allows you to see future funds coming to your campaign or organization. You can also disable this option if it doesn't make sense for your fundraising strategy.
Enabling Presumptive Redesignation
When you are adding or editing an Income Category to begin receiving donations, you have the option to Enable Presumptive Redesignation during setup. We
ask that you check your laws and make sure this option is allowed.
Presumptive Redesignation is when a donor gives the maximum amount for
two categories at once. Let's say Claire Smith is running for Congress in the
primary election. Mr. Donorface is confident that Smith will move on to
the general election, so he wants to give the maximum amount for each
race combined. That is $2,400 for the primary and $2,400 for the
general, which amounts to a $4,800 donation. However, if Smith loses the
primary and does not advance to the general election, she has to refund
$2,400 to Mr. Donorface.
This is a great option for donors who are eager to give candidates the maximum donation possible in one transaction, rather than two separate payments.
Enabling Joint Contribution
When you are adding or editing an Income Category to begin receiving donations, you also have the option to Enable Joint Contribution during setup.
Checking this joint contribution check box will create an identical
second donation in the name of the person filled out in the provided
form fields. This will double the amount charged to your credit card.
The Joint Contribution feature is incredibly useful if you and your spouse both wish to donate,
but would prefer to use only one credit card and make one transaction. As a candidate, this only makes it easier for donors to give more money. To abide by campaign
finance laws, you must fill out the form fields provided for the