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Paying Railway a Donation or Membership

Discussion in 'Heritage railways & Centres in the Uk' started by worldsteam, May 3, 2017.

  1. worldsteam

    worldsteam New Member

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    Being giving away my wealth recently - ha, ha! It isn't always that easy as more of us use Internet banking and many organisations assume you will complete the application form in flowing script with your quill pen, write out cheque and then head to post box, assuming you don't first need to buy a stamp.

    OK I exaggerate a bit, but handing over dosh can be a bit of a spur of the moment impulse and any barrier could mean the railway doesn't get the cash. I have this now after a great day on Monday, I decided to become a life member, but instead of the railway having the cash in the bank now, it is going to take time jumping the hurdles on how I can pay by Internet transfer.

    One other railway I concluded recently the solution is to hand over cash in person next time I'm there, which could be in few months rather than them having a three figure sum in the bank already.

    Or perhaps outdated payment systems are part of the heritage experience?

    You just need data on the website or application form to guide those of us with Internet banking - it's immediate and no danger of the punter deciding, 'Can't be bothered'.
     
  2. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    On line donation payments and on line membership applications are a feature of the 34081 website. We're not the only group either.
     
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  3. Mogul

    Mogul New Member

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    I've had to look into this recently. I found PayPal to be a very helpful option. The donor does not need to have a PayPal account, only the reviving organisation. On clicking the donate button on a web page you are taken to a secure page on the PayPal site where you can chose to continue by using a card payment or use your personal PayPal account if you have one.

    Assuming it's a card payment you enter your card details and confirm and are returned to the website you came from.

    The organisation automatically receives the funds direct to their bank less a small commission. This commission is reduced for charity's. A button can be configured for set amounts or allow donor to decide. PayPal sends an email with details of the payment to a nominated address so if any action is required it can be initiated from this. It's very flexible and easy to use.

    I have also looked at text donation systems which are slightly more complex to set up but enable easy donation from your mobile by just texting a keyword to a special number.

    To round it off we even offered our bank details for direct transfer via internet banking.

    Expirence however has shown that even with a variety of methods on offer the vast majority of donations still come in by post in the form of a cheque. I guess that the majority of supporters are just more comfortable with this.
     
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  4. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Pretty much reflects the way we do it.
     
  5. michaelh

    michaelh Part of the furniture

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    Most organisations will also accept a Credit/Debit Card payment over the phone.
     
  6. Hirn

    Hirn New Member

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    I do think that a railway should make it readily possible to accept donations in any reasonable way that people
    choose to make them and where it is at all appropriate send back an acknowledgement, both to let a donor
    know that it has been received as they meant and as a thank you.

    However, Gift Aid usefully increases what is given and I believe for that they need a signature.
    The obvious way is to have an easily findable form to print off and send. Fill in the address on screen
    to print and sign would probably work very well. And by all means a digital equivalent for any sound
    online payment. It is important that it should be quite clear, trustworthy and readily done.

    Visiting I often encounter cash opportunities to donate and don't immediately because the cause would get less than
    it would with some other way of payment and Gift Aid. However, where there are live collectors seeing the money put or
    thrown in does encourage them. The ideal would be a contactless payment card that transferred the value and
    established gift aid status all in one touch - with the screen showing exactly how much was given today directly afterwards!
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
  7. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Active Member

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    Try living on the other side of the world and wanting to make a contribution to a preservation project. Online is my only option unless I want to jump through hoops - which I don't. I've put it into the "too hard" basket a few times. Some sites are very good, but others it is near impossible to find info on their projects - let alone make a contribution to them.

    I suppose however, the web sites suffer from the same lack of attention that their respective projects do when they are put on the backburner for whatever reason.
     
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  8. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    A signature is not required for Gift Aid, just ticking a box on an on line form will suffice.
     
  9. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Member

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    Some groups seem to "get" fund raising using the internet, some try but don't make a very good job of it, and some just don't understand how useful it can be.
    GWSR's Broadway station and extension shows the value of a well-written blog combined with appeals for support. Last I heard there were over 4000 people following progress, many from outside the UK, and nearly all will have donated something towards the project, and this on top of the share issue. The Great Central "Close the Gap" project, Bluebell's East Grinstead extension, and several new-builds, have also benefitted from a good on-line presence. At the other end of the scale we recently had an appeal on here for a relatively small sum to help restore the Irish loco "Nancy", result : several thousand pounds (euros?) raised in three months.

    There are a lot of people who are willing to support soundly-based projects but are too busy or too frail or live too far away to contribute physically. So, some advice for project managers / fund raisers : Give your project plenty of internet "airtime" and ensure that the details of what you are trying to achieve are clear. Keep the audience well informed of progress (support will increase as the project progresses). And, above all, make it easy for the punters to contribute, with as many options as possible to allow for the overseas contingent, in particular, to give you money without incurring unnecessary bank fees. :D

    Mike
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
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  10. dingletrain

    dingletrain New Member

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    Thanks Dainton Banker, we have just re-issued our paypal account. We are in the third stage of the project with £1,000 to go in by Thursday. All thanks to the dedication of our volunteers, link available here for those interested: https://sites.google.com/site/thecavanandleitrimrailway/-nancy

    Patrick Keef is due to commence the last outstanding pieces shortly (smokebox and ashpan).
     
  11. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member

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    I received a long-winded email yesterday from a group that reminded me that my membership had expired, it explained the work of the group, fundraising, steam days, cost of loco hire, extensions etc etc.

    What it did not have was a link that said renew here.

    I emailed back making the suggestion.

    This morning I was sent a renewal application form.

    I did not want to use snail mail/cheques so went online and searched out the relevant page and button and clicked on it.

    Done!
     
  12. Greenway

    Greenway Well-Known Member

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    Subs to societies and organizations to which I belong usually meant postage, cheque and of courtesy a covering letter.
    I did eventually succumb to Paypal which makes the smaller - less than say £100 much easier. However for larger amounts I feel a cheque more advisable. Overseas payments are best by Credit Card in my view.
    Most worthwhile - and above all safe - organization web sites usually have an simple payment method. Scams are better avoided that way. :eek:
     
  13. Johnb

    Johnb Part of the furniture

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    Surely all you need to do is request their account number and sort code and the job is done through BACS. Most will also have an online gift aid form. I can't see the point of going through the business of getting a Paypal account.
     
  14. goldfish

    goldfish Resident of Nat Pres

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    Bit of a pain doing reconciliation with BACS though, particularly if there are lots of smaller payments. It would be like receiving a cheque in the post without an application form (and vice versa).

    One of the reasons a service like PayPal becomes successful is because it removes most of that pain at both ends of the transaction - Easy for payer and payee.

    Simon
     
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  15. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Active Member

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    For me, PayPal is about as close as you can get to dropping money in a tin.
     
  16. Felix Holt

    Felix Holt Active Member

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    Interesting that when I posted a few years ago about the difficulties of online paying for many societies, especially for overseas folk, I was criticized along the lines of 'if you care enough you'll send forms and money by post'. Now, thankfully, a different ethos prevails, but there are still some societies I've been minded to join that expect a cheque and form in the mail. Case in point is Llangollen that has an out-of-date membership form on their website and ask for cheques (my bank here in Ireland doesn't even issue cheque books anymore!). This, despite the fact you can buy tickets online! C'mon Llangollen, time to wake up :)
     
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  17. myford

    myford New Member

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    There's an off shore railway that I'd rejoin in a flash if it was online payment. The final year that i was a member i renewed on site with a card and it was clear that i was considered a pain, lots of huffing and fussing.
    And no I'm not a dedicated enthusiast. But if society's are complacent enough not to move into the 21st century, then to be brutally honest i can't be a***d,
    Sorry.
    Terry
     
  18. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    A couple of line societies and a loco owning group I’m a member of take payment by BACS, but they are memberships in the order of hundreds rather than thousands, so I guess the admin is bearable in a way it wouldn’t be for organisations of ten or twenty times the membership. I guess if you can bear the admin, an advantage of BACS is that the entire fee goes to the organisation, whereas most online payments will end up with someone taking a commission somewhere.

    Of the two railways I’m a member of, for one I’m a life member so payment mechanism is a moot point - at least for me. For the other (an offshore railway - maybe the same as @myford referred to?) I searched in vain over Christmas for an online means to renew my membership. In the end I had find a chequebook, write a cheque, find an envelope and a stamp, post it - a right PITA. I’m aware (through my line of work) that online payment is not quite as simple to set up for an organisation as is sometimes claimed - a lot of regulatory hurdles that get more onerous as the organisation becomes financially larger - but I suspect widespread access to checquebooks will very soon become a thing of the past, and organisations that rely on them will have to change regardless.

    Tom
     
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  19. huochemi

    huochemi Well-Known Member Friend

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    There are card payment plug-ins available for websites, such as Stripe, which I use on my own site. Commission is less than paypal.
     
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  20. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member

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    The little sailing club that I belong to is almost cash fee.
    We book online for functions, boat hire, moorings, membership etc, Everything is on the clubs system and can be payed at the bar through your personal fob.
    It was a fairly painless transition from paper and cheques to fobs and cards or for those even braver, go cardless.
     

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