27.Feb.2010 Bob De Carolis Responds

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Bob De Carolis responds to my concern over a $40 minimum donation:

Angry, sorry for the tardy response. Was out of town and delegated this to staff but we dropped the ball, our bad.  Here is what I found out.

While the online process is very convenient for the donor it comes with a significant price per transaction to the athletic department because it is contracted out to a third party. So at some level below $40 we would actually lose money, therefore the minimum. To correct this in the short term we will be adding some type of info on the site for those that choose to donate below the minimum to either send a check directly to BASF or better yet call us toll free with credit card handy and we can process the donation internally over the phone. That piece should be up by next week some time. Long term we will be searching for a new less expensive third party. Hope this all helps. Thanks for bringing this to our attention and thanks for your support of the Beavers. If you have any additional questions let me know.

Bob De Carolis

Director of Athletics

Oregon State University

541-737-7373

Go Beavs!

Fair enough, Bob, but it makes me wonder why donations are being processed through a third party when there is so much cheap labor available on campus, and why the third party is so expensive (i.e. is there a bidding process, accountability, etc?), and why there isn’t information about small donations via check or credit card on the site.

Also, “thanks for your support of the Beavers” cracked me up, and it would crack you up as well, if you saw what I wrote in the body of my email. Though, I might actually send a few bucks now that I have received an explanation.

In the end, I am happy with Bob’s response, especially the fact that he is now aware of the problem and seems ready and willing to improve it. I’m just disappointed that the leadership didn’t see the flaws in this system on their own.

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  • BeavGirl says:
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    “So at some level below $40 we would actually lose money, therefore the minimum.”

    I wonder what “level” this is exactly. I mean, most people on average would probably donate 10-20 bucks on the site if they could. Its strange that they would lose money on donations of that amount. And what 3rd party is that expensive? Seems odd, but i confess i’m pretty ignorant about this.

    On the whole, this is great news. Well done angry! o/

  • JackBeav says:
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    You would be surprised at the ‘legitimate’ businesses out there who prey upon the non-profits and their donor bases. It’s really a sick, sick world.

    Money rules, and I can prove it for 75 cents on the dollar.

  • Sad Beaver says:
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    It seems like they should be able to establish Paypal account and receive the money that way(I am not plugging Paypal here, just happen to have worked with their Non Profit accounts in the past). The fees look reasonable and Paypal provides all the infrastructure.. but maybe there are problems with that and laws in Oregon?
    From Paypal:
    Nonprofit transaction fees are 1.9% + $.30 per transaction for organizations with over $100,000 monthly volume and 2.2% + $.30 per transaction for organizations with less than $100,000 monthly volume. To be eligible, you must have documented 501(c)(3) status or you will not receive the reduced nonprofit transaction fees.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      I don’t think there are any paypal laws in Oregon to stop an online transaction. I’ve used eBay/paypal for probably close to ten years so I would have heard about any issue like that.

      And you have a good point–why not use paypal? They do take a percentage, but I highly doubt it’s so high that you have to charge $40 to make a profit.

      You should write Bob D and suggest paypal, ask him why he doesn’t use it currently, etc. It’s scary that a blogger and readers have better ideas than the administrators.

      • DavemanDeluxe DavemanDeluxe says:
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        PayPal probably isn’t the best option for an outfit the size of the OSU AD. I know of some software developers who took payment via PayPal, only for their accounts to get frozen without recourse because PayPal was worried they were scamming people or something. This is in spite of the fact that they were established and well-known shareware software developers. Not only were they unable to get access to the money in their PayPal account, they were no longer even able to accept more payments. These guys were only dealing with amounts in the upper four-figures, too.

        Basically, PayPal’s policies aren’t really geared toward high-volume receipts. They’re more for people making a few extra dollars on eBay.

        • Sad Beaver says:
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          They treat individuals, corporations, and non-profits all very differently. We just had a large implementation here are work with them and they assigned us technical folks to help us for free. But it probably will never happen, but I would love to see smaller donations be accepted. Its just so much easier to coax alums out of 5 or 10 dollars then the larger sums. It also becomes possible to do multiple donations a year.

          • DavemanDeluxe DavemanDeluxe says:
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            That makes sense. Maybe it would be doable then.

            There’s one other problem I would have with PayPal: it can feel cheap. When I’m dealing with a large company that can’t handle payment processing on their own, it makes me wonder about the quality and care that the business puts into their work. Is there some service PayPal offers for payment processing that isn’t clearly branded as being PayPal?

      • angrybeaver says:
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        Dave, that is a good point.

        I’ve had that problem even on eBay selling items for a few hundred dollars. I think they call it buyer/seller protection, but really it’s just a pain in the butt. Maybe it would be possible for OSU to call them and explain the situation ahead of time so that kind of thing can be avoided.

  • Sad Beaver says:
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    Also noticed Paypal’s partner BlackBaud does all the hosting and setup as well for an additional 3% it looks like… still under 5% in fees.
    http://www.bbnow.com/resources/faqs/#faq02

  • flyingj says:
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    I charge a $40 minimum for my services at the Flying J. My third party charges me a $30 transaction fee for each daddy I service. Angry, yours is on the house.

  • angrybeaver says:
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    The new website says:

    *If you would like to make a donation of less than $40, please call 541-737-2370 or mail a check to:

    http://www.osubeavers.com/ot/basf-donate-online.html

    This makes me happy.

  • […] you, Bob D, for hearing our anger and […]

  • targeted says:
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    Great information. Lucky me I discovered your blog by accident (stumbleupon).
    I’ve saved as a favorite for later!

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