Learn how to collect dues by bank check or electronic payment while our clubs meet virtually.
Toastmasters International has provided exceptional relief, extending the dues renewal deadline until April 30, 2020. Our clubs remain in good standing until then, even with less than 8 renewals paid. Our members continue to enjoy access to the Pathways basecamp to improve their self-confidence, communication and leadership skills until then as well.
As our Districts and clubs around the world transition to online meetings during this unprecedented time, below is a guide to safety and efficiently collect dues renewals and new membership payments. You’ll also discover that these new methods of dues collections will mean less time in the future chasing your members down for renewals.
How to Mail a Check during a Shelter-in-Place
Did you know that 40% of Seniors pay their bills by snail-mail compared to 15% of millennials? All your members should have a checking account and dropping a check in a local mailbox sent to your Treasurers’ home address is easy. But what if you can’t leave your home?
Consider using Online Bill Pay, offered by all major banks such as Bank of America, Capitol One, US Bank, Wells Fargo and more (see if your bank offers this here). Online Bill Pay will mail a check automatically to your Club Treasurer without leaving the comfort and safety of your home. After logging into your online banking account, look for an option called “Pay Bill”. From there, you should have to follow 3 easy steps:
- Add a Payee
This should be your Club Name and your Treasurer’s home address
- Schedule Payment
How much are your dues? This should be sent as soon as possible/before April 30th.
- Payment Sent
Most payments will arrive within 2 business days. Consider sending it as soon as possible it may take longer to arrive in the mail and it will take time for the Treasurer to deposit it.
You can find complete details how to do this by looking through your bank’s website or help sections.
How to Deposit Checks during a Shelter-in-Place
Banks, even in the San Francisco Bay Area where we have a shelter-in-place until May 3rd, are considered essential businesses and are open. But what if you aren’t comfortable leaving home to visit a local bank branch or ATM? How can a Treasurer deposit the check that’s been mailed to you?
- Mobile Check Deposit
Many banks offer mobile check deposit through their online mobile app. Check with your bank to see if a mobile app is available to you.
- Receive a check by mail from a member – mail this check to your bank
While not widely advertised, some banks will allow you to mail a check to them, with your account number, for deposit. For example, Wells Fargo has instructions to do this here. Contact your local bank to find instructions how to do this. Consider consolidating multiple checks in the same envelope to save time at the mailbox and postage.
Best Practice to Mail and Deposit Checks:
Treasurers, if you are able to do mobile check deposits, having your members automatically mail you checks automatically through Online Bill Pay is the easiest way to collect membership dues by check without anyone leaving their home during a shelter-in-place.
What methods of electronic payments are available?
The list of services that offers electronic payment and transfers is extensive. This guide will focus on 2 specific options that work well in the United States:
- PayPal: guests and members can go to your website or send money to an email address associated with the Toastmaster Club account
- Venmo: guests and member download the Venmo app to their mobile device and can then transfer money directly to the Toastmaster Club account
PayPal has been used by clubs for years to collect dues renewals and new membership payments. In the U.S., it is easy to set up a PayPal account, link it to the club’s bank account, and provide a simple form on the club website where each member can pay. District 57 Toastmaster George Marshall has have set up several different Toastmasters Paypal accounts, advised others and put together a guide for Toastmaster Clubs to set up PayPal here.
You can also see an example of how District 57 Club, Capitol Speakers, has achieved this on their website here.
- Accepts the widest forms of payment options.
- Can be integrated directly into a club website and Free Toast Host renewals process to create a sustainable repeatable process.
- If you have a laptop, tablet or mobile phone at your in-person club meeting, you will be able to accept new membership payments on the spot. You can also use a reader that plugs into a phone/tablet to process debit and credit cards in-person.
- PayPal does charge a fee per transaction, even with discounted non-profit rates.
- PayPal will take time to initially setup.
Best Practices with PayPal
In the long run, we would strongly encourage you to setup a PayPal account to process new membership payments and renewals. If you don’t have time or bandwidth to get this setup in April, Venmo may be a better option. Make sure to discuss and vote as a club if you will absorb the fee to accept payments as part of your club budget or pass that fee on to each member as they use PayPal.
Venmo is a mobile app that anyone can download to their mobile device and is incredibly easy to use. Here’s how it works to send person to person electronic payments:
- Your Club Treasurer downloads the app, sets up an account for your club (not a personal account), and links this account to the club’s bank account.
- A Club Member downloads the app, sets up an account which links to their personal bank account, debit card and/or credit card.
- The Club Member sends their renewals to the club’s Venmo account. This is free unless they send the renewal from a credit card.
- The Club Treasurer receives a notification on their phone, logs into the account and can then electronically transfer the funds from the Venmo account to the club bank account for free (takes 1-3 business days).
You can see how District 56 club, Spirited Speech Masters, offers Venmo and PayPal as part of their renewals and new member process here. You’ll note that Venmo is their preferred option given that there are no fees for the member or club to use this service.
- The app is user friendly and easy to setup
- There are no fees for the member or the club unless using credit card or instant transfer
- Only supports mobile devices. There’s no access from a desktop or laptop computer.
- You’ll need to break down how much specifically each new member, existing member or transfer should pay in a separate guide or chart.
Best Practices with Venmo
Venmo has more than 40 million users and can be used around the world. If your Treasurer and Members are comfortable with their mobile devices, Venmo is the fastest and easiest way to setup electronic payments and begin collecting dues right now. Make sure to remind your members which methods of sending money and which methods of depositing money back to your club bank accounts does not have a fee.
Don’t let a shelter-in-place stop you from adding new members and processing dues renewals.
Many methods are available that make it easy to collect renewals and new member dues. The easier you make these experiences, the more likely you will convert a guest to member and renew your existing members. Having a chart which clearly outlines the new membership dues and renewals by each month will ensure people pay the right amount the first time.
Adding a new method of paying dues requires both a plan to get it up and running and a communication plan:
- Ensure you have all the facts by getting in touch with your local bank and electronic payment providers before your club officers make a decision together how to move forwards.
- Communicating change is critical to ensure adoption. Create how-to guides to take advantage of every method of paying dues. Post it on your website like Capitol Speakers or Spirited Speech Masters did. Do a speech at your club to announce the change.
This too shall pass. The shelter-in-place won’t last forever. When we return to in-person meetings, please continue to accept both cash/checks and multiple electronic payment options like PayPal and Venmo. Giving your members options to pay electronically means less time chasing them for cash or checks and will ultimately improve your guest and member experience.
If you have more questions about collecting renewals during a shelter-in-place, you can contact me at email@example.com.
District 57 Toastmasters