Square for Advancement

While connecting with a few of our client schools for inspiration prior to our recent webinar Finish Strong: Last Minute Strategies for the Annual Fund, we came across plenty of great ideas and insights for fundraising. One initiative that resonated with our audience after the webinar was Pomfret’s use of mobile payment system, Square.

First used in an alumni auction at The Pomfret School, we decided to ask Joe Kremer, the school’s Director of Advancement, just how they got started.

Tell us a little about yourself:

I have been the Director of Advancement at Pomfret School since March of 2010. Prior to that I was Director of Development at the University of Central Missouri, and a

Major Gift Officer at The Hotchkiss School and St. Lawrence University. Before getting into the advancement field, I spent ten years as a college basketball coach.

What inspired you to use Square at an Alumni Event?
We saw it advertised about a year ago, and thought it was a neat idea. Our concern was that it might come across a little to0 “salesy,” but in January we decided to give it a shot. It’s free to set up, so we ordered 8 devices which all linked to the same account. It fits right in the fundraiser’s pocket or purse, and accepts AMEX…realized it couldn’t hurt to try it.

How did you prepare your staff?
Square is really intuitive. It would take 30 minutes max to walk through. The main things are are to show which way the card slides, and what buttons to press on the app.

How did you use Square? What were donor’s reactions like?
We used Square at the checkouts for the auction, but since have used it to equip our fundraisers on the road. For donors the experience was easy and convenient…the receipt is emailed or texted right to them. For the fundraisers, it has been a great conversation piece.

What type of success have volunteers seen with it on the road?
We’ve been happily surprised with the success, particularly with young donors. Our gifts have averaged around, $400 and a few weeks back I even received a $1,000 donation after a nice dinner with a young alum. In this fiscal year, we have seen over $40,000 in Square transactions. This includes payments at the auction and annual fund gifts.

How does a school get started?
Go to squareup.com and sign up for your device. Link up your preferred account, and you will receive the device within 4-5 days.

A special thanks to Joe for his insights, and best wishes to all those who decide to square up with alumni in their future fundraising efforts. Please let our team know how it goes!

What new technologies have you found helpful for your office? Share your story on our blog.

Looking to take a fresh look at your social strategy this summer? Watch our recent webinar, “The Loomis Chaffee Social Media Playbook.”

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