Five Online Supplementary Funding Resources for Nonprofits – CardPartner

(Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps)

This morning I began a five-part informational series about free online resources for nonprofits that are looking for some emergency funding during the Madoff Recession. That’s right, I am going to go ahead and name this recession after Bernie Madoff, the $50 billion Ponzi scheme ripoff artist who single-handedly tanked so many of the nonprofits, even though he is hardly the one to blame for the economy as a whole. It’s just that Bernie Madoff exemplifies everything that is just so darn beautiful about the deregulated market.

Now more than ever, we need solvent nonprofit organizations. If you are in nonprofit management, then tune in to this series, as I will be reviewing five prominent funding sources you can use right now–not just to save your organization from annihilation–but to shoot for the moon. (Why do anything halfway? I ask you.)

Last post, we covered GoodSearch, the Yahoo search engine that donates a penny to your organization each time one of your supporters performs a search. We now move on to CardPartner.

2. CardPartner

That image you see up top is an affinity credit card designed by the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps through, a free micro-affinity credit card program designed to help smaller non-profits raise supplementary funds. CardPartner is unique in that it is geared towards smaller nonprofits. Up until 2008, only the largest of nonprofits and charities could take part in an affinity program. Why? Short answer: high start-up costs.

CardPartner’s approach is to instead allow organizations to upload their own credit card designs to the CardPartner website, and then use their online marketing toolkit to get the word out to existing supporters. Every aspect of the service is totally free because CardPartner gets paid by the bank.

(Reach Out and Read)

So what are the benefits? Simple. Each time one of your supporters applies and is approved for your organization’s (beautiful, quirky, what-have-you) co-branded Visa Platinum credit card, your organization gets $50 from UMB upon first use of the card. After that your organization gets a percentage (30 basis points) on all retail purchases. One early adopter has already raised about $10,000 on card activations alone since mid-2008.

So what about the card itself? Is it the kind of thing you would want to foist off on your valuable supporters? Answer: It’s a Visa Platinum. Need I say more? There are some extra perqs involved as well–my favorite is free lost luggage replacement–benefits which are exclusive to the CardPartner program.

A participating client organization recently said on the CardPartner Facebook Group:

“As the economy tightens, non-profits should cheer new sources of revenue like this. At the same time, it’s a neat way for cardholders to leverage every purchase they make in support of a cause they love. A complete no-brainer all the way around.”

(The Hope of Survivors)

The only problem I can see with the CardPartner program is that the image uploading process can be a little confusing if you don’t know much about image formatting. That should not be a major problem, however, as the staff of this promising young start-up are very hands-on and willing to help over the phone. To date they have helped well over a hundred small nonprofit organizations. Yours could be next.

Questions? Good! Most of them are answered on the CardPartner website. Meantime, you can begin your application without committing to anything.

Next up in my five-part series about free online fundraising resources for nonprofits:

3. cMarket, the online charity auction site to end all online charity auction sites! Stay tuned.

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