Payment processing fees. You don’t like them. We don’t like them. But the only way to fully avoid them is to go back to a world where every donor has to bring cash or a checkbook to church, which they probably wouldn’t like.

One Big Feature, One Tiny Checkbox

Planning Center Giving now gives you a way to subtly communicate two things to your donors: First, there’s a processing fee associated with this payment. Second, the payment method they select impacts how much the church pays in processing fees. Our design goal here was to communicate both of these messages as succinctly as possible by giving donors the option to cover the processing fee with a tiny checkbox.

The option will appear right above the final "Give" button:

Donation processing fee

It’s Your Option

Not all churches feel it’s important to put this administrative cost in front of their donors, so we made this an optional feature in Giving. If you’d like to surface the checkbox, head to the settings page under the "Manage" tab:

How to turn the feature on Note: this feature is only available to U.S. customers. We’re sorry Canadians.

The Algebra

One of the tricky parts with this feature is actually the math behind the calculation. The question I initially asked was “Wait, if we increase the amount by 2.3% (+$.30) then wouldn’t Stripe’s fees be calculated for the new/larger total?” The answer is: yes… but we can calculate for that. If you work up from the amount you want the church to net, it’s easier to understand the math.

Now, that sounds great. But if you’re a bookkeeper, you might want to know the actual math. In the formula below, the net is what actually ends up in the church’s bank account. The gross is the transaction amount that’s actually put through Stripe by the donor. With Stripe rates we have for U.S. customers, the formula is:

gross = (net + .3) / (1 - .023)

So, if a donor wants the church to net $200 we can now solve for grossby taking into account that the higher the gross amount is, the higher the fee will be:

gross = ($200 + .3) / .977 gross = $205.02

So, when giving using a credit card, it takes a $205.02 donation for the church to receive $200 in their bank account.

As always, ACH donations have no % fee. Each transfer is charged a flat $0.25. Even to the algebra-challenged people like me, that’s easy to calculate.

Let us know what you think!
~ Team Giving (Mo, Josh, Wassim, Dma, Jeremy)