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Boys Scouts drive fundraising efforts with mobile payments

The Boy Scouts is enlisting mobile to help drive its fundraising efforts and make it easier to donate using a credit card.

The Dan Beard Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which operates in the Cincinnati area and has approximately 33,000 members, is distributing attachments for mobile phones to troop leaders enabling them to process credit card transactions on the spot. Troop leaders are able to instantly sign up for merchant accounts and to assign multiple users to an account so that parents of individual scouts can also run card transactions on iOS and Android devices.

“It’s easier and more convenient for people who want to help the scouts if they can pay with cards, rather than rooting around for cash or a check,” said Pete Bartolik, a spokesman for VeriFone, San Jose, CA.

“It’s also much more efficient for the troops to not have to worry about the issues with cash – somebody has to count it, bank it, etc.,” he said.

A fundraising tool
The Sail card readers are being provided by VeriFone to troop leaders who sign up for the program.

The mobile payments strategy will be used to improve fundraising efforts during the Boy Scouts’ annual Popcorn Sale, which is the organization’s major fundraising event.

Attachments for mobile devices enabling users to process credit card payments are gaining acceptance among merchants and nonprofits as a way to make it easy for customers and donors to pay via their credit card.

For example, Earlier this year, 30 Girl Scout councils representing more than 40,000 troops partnered with Sage Mobile Payments to enable the scouts to accept credit or debit card payments via an attachment for mobile devices.

Girl Scouts using mobile credit card swipers sold up to four times as many cookies compared with year-ago sales when the devices were not in use (see story).

With so many consumers carrying credit cards in their pocket, it makes sense for organizations such as the Boy Scouts and the Girls Scouts to enable mobile payments and try to pick up additional sales.

The Boy Scouts is hoping for a lift to its fundraising efforts similar to what the Girl Scouts experienced by adding mobile payments as an option.

Credit card payments
VeriFone’s Sail platform enables users to access a custom URL on the SAIL portal to enroll, create their merchant accounts and assign multiple users who will be able to take card payments. Users will also be able to refund or void transactions, view all transactions and deposits, add social media links to receipts, and create and download reports.

Additionally, users can select pre-set prices and pictures for quick and easy sales as well as customize their items for individual merchant accounts.

Sail is one of a growing number of options available to merchants and nonprofits for processing credit card transactions via a mobile phone, with VeriFone’s competition in this area including Square, Intuit, PayPal and others.

“We expect this will enable them to get better results from their sales efforts,” Mr. Bartolik said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York