Case Study

How St. Labre Indian School increased fundraising revenue by covering payment processing fees


At our Engaging Networks Community Conference in Boulder, Colorado, Amy Burek, Online Fundraising Coordinator for St. Labre Indian School, shared how they increased their revenue by including a “Fee Cover” option on their redesigned donation forms – powered by the Engaging Networks digital engagement platform.

What is a "Fee Cover" option?

It’s a growing trend on nonprofit donation forms to give the donor the option to increase their donation to cover the credit card transaction fees. Adding the “Fee Cover” option to your donation pages increases the donation amount and your overall revenue. As a nonprofit using Engaging Networks, you get to choose what % you ask for. Most organizations choose 3%, but some ask for as much as 5%. Like many features within the platform we give you customization options, it can be a percentage, a fixed dollar amount or both. The choice is yours. When your donors choose the “Fee Cover” option they cover the costs, meaning there’s more money for your organization.

For example, on a $20 donation St. Labre would usually receive $19.40 after paying the 3% fee ($20 x .03 = $0.60) to PayPal who serves as their payment gateway. When a donor chooses the “Fee Cover” option, they donate $20.60 so the school receives the full amount of $20 that the donor intended. While just $0.60 feels negligible to the donor, money adds up and the incremental dollars are meaningful for the organization.

How does the "Fee Cover" option help fundraising efforts?

St. Labre’s mission is to provide an exceptional private Catholic education, primarily for the Northern Cheyenne and Crow Children in Southeastern Montana, free of cost. By increasing their revenue through the “Fee Cover” Option on their redesigned donation forms using Engaging Networks software, the school will be able to direct more financial resources to fulfill their mission to give more Native American children the opportunity of an exceptional and free education.

Refreshing and updating your donation forms is worth the effort!

St. Labre wanted to add a “Fee Cover” option to their online donation forms for several years, but faced challenges. Their donation forms were completely customized and built on a different platform with a significant amount of heavy coding, and the forms were starting to fail. They understood that the risk of adding a “Fee Cover” option with even more coding was too much for the forms to handle and there was a very real risk that the forms would completely break down and fail to process contributions at all.

St. Labre wanted their donation forms to be innovative, flexible, easily customizable and visually pleasing. This was all possible using Engaging Networks’ fundraising module, and the team was able to easily rebuild their donation forms in Engaging Networks which increased stability, reduced the amount of custom code, and enabled them to easily add the “Fee Cover” Option.

St. Labre was able to include the “Fee Cover” option on all new campaign forms with ease using the Engaging Networks software and with the assistance of the responsive Client Support Team. As of March 14, 2022, the organization finished updating the last of their evergreen forms so all of their donation forms now have the “Fee Cover” option.

st. labre indian school fundraising encc boulder

The fundraising results

In the initial seven months since launching the “Fee Cover” option for donors, St. Labre has seen very promising results:

  • 64% of one-time donors choose the option to cover fees
  • 65% of monthly sustained donors choose the option to cover fees

With 64% of donors choosing the “Fee Cover” option, and by setting the amount covered at 3%, St. Labre has immediately increased their revenue by 1.9% (64 x .03 = 1.92), simply by making the option available to donors.

Using a straightforward example of an organization with a $1,000,000 annual online donation revenue, you can see in the image below how much of an impact integrating the “Fee Cover” option can have on your organization.

Another exciting area of growth is the monthly compounding value of sustainer gifts when donors choose the “Fee Cover” option. As St. Labre acquires more monthly donors, the level of additional revenue they earn grows for each one that chooses the “Fee Cover” option. After seven months of launching the “Fee Cover” option at the rate of 65% of new monthly sustainers choosing the option, they have grown to earning $211.73 of additional recurring revenue each month. It’s basically a way to upsell your current monthly donors. The additional revenue will continue to compound for as long as they use the “Fee Cover” option.

Key learnings

  1. Providing donors a “Fee Cover” option is a turn-key way to immediately increase your organization’s revenue.
  2. People want to do more to help organizations they care about. “Fee Cover” is easy and most supporters don’t mind adding a small incremental fee to their contribution. Look for other easy ways for your committed donors and supporters to go the extra mile.
  3. Overhauling existing donation forms and website code can be daunting and scary. But with the support of a great partner like Engaging Networks it is well worth the effort to clean up your code to increase stability, functionality and overall aesthetics.

Sound Exciting?

Request a demo today and one of our team will be in touch with additional information about how Engaging Networks can help you raise more money and win more campaigns.

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