The religion and non-profit markets is one area that is seeing rapid expansion and adoption of payment processing services. This market affords the agent an opportunity to use his or her past work history to open relationships and generate sales in a field often overlooked by the average payment-processing agent. The categories are fairly clear and distinct – Religious Organization, Non-Profit Organization, and Religious affiliates.
- Religious organizations are typically churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. which promote the acceptance of credit card payments for services. Not only tithing, which has seen new payment technologies embraced with the result of a substantial increase in donations, but also for the support of other programs as well (such as a book store or gift shop at the facility).
- Non-Profit Organizations not affiliated with religious organizations are turning to credit cards more and more as a means to gather funds to support their various causes and charities. Public radio has been very vocal the past few years of the value of electronic payments for meeting the needs of their customers seeking to donate funds but lacking a checking account to do so.
- Religious affiliates are typically businesses that sell religious items such as Christian bookstores, etc. These are retail businesses and as such overlap other vertical markets such as retail – products sales, but the nature of the products sold and often their affiliations with religious organizations place them more at home in this vertical market.
There are thousands of opportunities within this vertical market, and a trend today for such organizations to explore every means possible to increase collections. Additionally, processing technologies that allow for the creation of web based donations and recurring billing have automated the process of tithing and has ushered in a new chapter in the value of payment processing.
One other alternative to create a vertical market is to employ a similar approach as described in the education vertical market header (with appropriate changes) that we will restate here:
- Referral – Donation sales is a new category and works like this. Churches and even some non-profits may introduce business relationships to processors that offer to ‘donate’ a portion of the processing fees to the charity or school of the business owners choosing. Thus, a church or non-profit seeking additional revenues may introduce businesses in a community to an agent in hopes they will switch processing and receive an ongoing donation fee. This is a relatively new avenue, but may open a significant market opportunity for an entrepreneurial agent.
Remember, joining associations supporting your vertical market and even advertising through some may bring you to the attention of potential business relationships and open a sales dialogue!