Hit the Donate Button

A suite of new ­digital payment systems helps charities engage a fresh demographic of ­community-minded, mobile-savvy donors

Photo: Zomaron president and CEO, Tarique Al-Ansari

ZOMARON, A FIRM supplying ­digital payment processing options for ­businesses and industries of all sizes, was established here 10 years ago and has matured into one of the fastestgrowing financial technology firms in Canada, handling more than $2.5 billion in electronic payments annually.

As society marches towards a ­cashless future, Tarique Al-Ansari, president and CEO at Zomaron, realized a couple of years ago that the move to paying for goods and services with plastic or a smartphone was having a big impact on charities that rely on donations.

“More and more people are not ­walking around with cash in their ­pockets. I know I don’t, and when I was asked to donate, I often could not do that on the spot,” says Al-Ansari.

Being in the business of providing electronic payment processing and e-commerce solutions, Al-Ansari figured there must be a way to leverage his firm’s expertise to help non-profits meet the challenge of rapidly changing consumer purchasing behaviours.

“Many charities, especially if they are run by volunteers, are not aware of compliance issues. Zomaron streamlines the donation process in accordance with CRA rules, including issuing electronic receipts” —Tarique Al-Ansari

To do so, Zomaron began to develop solutions and technologies to give people the ability to donate from computers, smart devices and standalone kiosks. In 2017, the business ran a pilot project involving just under 100 charitable organizations, “mainly mosques and churches and a couple of hospitals,” Al-Ansari recalls.

“It was so successful, we decided to build a more extensive platform,” continues Al-Ansari, adding that organizations reported a 50 to 100 per cent increase in donations—people who donated cash kept donating at the same levels, and many who were not in the habit of carrying cash started using electronic options.

Building on that initial success, Zomaron launched a full suite of ­fundraising solutions, including online donations and in-person self-serve donation kiosks, which accept all types of electronic payments, including debit, credit and Apple Pay. You’ll find ­permanent donation kiosks in places like the Grand Theatre, enabling people who attend performances to donate instantaneously. Kiosks can also be set up at one-time charity events to capture patrons in the moment.

Zomaron’s most recent innovation is a handheld device that can be used at events, which was launched last month at the Pillar Community Innovation Awards. “We’re thrilled to have helped Pillar Nonprofit Network raise over $7,000,” Al-Ansari says.

In addition to providing people with new and convenient avenues to donate to charities and not-for-profits, Al-Ansari says the beauty of the new fundraising technologies lies in its back-end systems, which charities can use to manage donors and fundraising campaigns.

“Many charities, especially if they are run by volunteers, are not aware of compliance issues. Zomaron streamlines the donation process in accordance with CRA rules, including issuing electronic receipts. The charity will receive 100 per cent of the donation the following day—we charge our fee for services ­separately,” explains Al-Ansari.

“As we see technology evolve, we are seeing how we can customize payment processing services to meet the need of different charities,” adds Al-Ansari. “One of our core values is to do social good. We do make money with Zomaron’s fundraising platform, but mainly we developed it to help charities.”  Kym Wolfe

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