Affinity Connection Frequently Asked Questions
Membership and Database Services FAQ
1. How does Affinity Connection store and maintain my organization’s records?
We use Donor Perfect Software, flexible and comprehensive constituent relationship management software, which allows us to offer you an enterprise-level solution. For your organization to use this software directly it would cost, at a minimum, $300 per month. How could this be? We serve over 200 customers and thus gain great economies of scale. That price direct from software company does not include the mail processing, reporting, or customer service that is included in your monthly charge with Affinity Connection!
2. Who owns my database?
You do! If you would like to view your database, you can request it from your account manager at any time with no additional cost. Affinity Connection WILL NOT sell, rent or trade your database to anyone nor ever use your list in any way for our own purposes.
3. How do I submit contact information or donation updates?
We will provide you with a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to update that allows us to quickly and cost-effectively add new information to your database. You can also submit updates via mail or over the phone, but there is a charge for updates submitted in formats other than the provided Excel spreadsheet. Affinity Connection will also update contact information that is submitted via appeals, website updates and other mailings.
4. How can my member’s update their contact information?
Your members can submit updates with your mailings, on the web, or over the phone during regular business hours.
5. How do you process our contributions within 72 hours?
Working with an industry leader in mail processing, and by using individually coded scanlines through a processing center, we can quickly and efficiently sort, open, record, earmark, and deposit funds within 72 hours. That means that your donors have their contributions processed quickly (and can be thanked and recognized quickly) and your organization receives the funds within one week of the donation.
6. How do scanlines work?
Scanlines allow us to quickly track each piece of mail by the organization ID, member ID, and even by a specific fund that the donation is earmarked for - with 100% accuracy. This is the same system used by major credit card processors to track applicants.
7. Why do I need a merchant account and why would I need more than one?
Members are accustomed to making donations using credit cards and enjoy the points/convenience they provide. Offering to accept credit cards will increase your contributions. Our service allows you to set up a merchant account at a fraction of the costs if you do it yourself because we pass along our economies of scale. If you accept funds from two different sources, such as via mail and online, you need separate merchant accounts for each.
8. What fees are associated with my merchant account?
A one-time setup fee of $99 per merchant account, $0.15 per transaction fee, and standard interchange rates. These are all straight pass-through charges from US Bank, and you get Affinity’s expertise and experience in navigating through the application process at no additional charge.
9. What are interchange rates?
These are rates that the credit card companies charge you to use their service. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover rates are between 1.5%-3.0% per transaction. American Express is 3.5%. Unlike other providers, Affinity Connection does not mark up the interchange rate or add any other per transaction charges.
10. Is there an additional charge for the 800 number donations hotline?
No, that is included in your monthly service.
11. What if our members don’t donate directly through the Affinity Connection channels?
If you collect donations from members at events or through you own mailings, Affinity Connection will enter and track that information as long as it is submitted in proper format at no additional costs. (See question #3.)
12. How does my organization’s name appear on member’s bank statements?
The merchant account is YOUR ORGANIZATION’S merchant account that Affinity Connection helped to facilitate. Since you are the merchant your name shows up on members’ statements.
13. How long does it take to get a donation or contact information report?
The average turn around time is 5 business days.
14. Who do I contact if I have questions about my service?
You will be given an experienced Account Manager that is a very accessible “one-stop-shop” person for anything you need, which is included in your monthly fee.
- 24/7 Access Account into Donor Perfect $40/per month, per account
- Unique database field creation $25/per field added
- Custom Report(s) setup $50/per report filter created
- Training sessions $100/per 30-45 minute session
1. What is the difference between hiring Affinity Connection and maintaining my own website?
Affinity Connection will take on the responsibility of content management, technical support, database updates and email marketing, thus freeing up your volunteers/staff to focus on achieving the mission of your organization. Additionally, monthly eLetters with content collection, editing, packaging, design and sending is included in your monthly fee.
2. Why can’t we rely on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networking sites?
In this day and age, it’s important for your organization to have its own web presence. Social networking sites are great for catching up with friends, but do not serve the main purposes of a specified website for your organization- which are to clearly inform members of important updates, provide online giving and event registration, and function as an official center for your organization. Additionally, these features sync with your database to provide continuous updates.
3. What is iModules and what makes its technology superior?
Affinity Connection partners with iModules to provide the leading web technology available for online communities. Because we can offer economies of scale, your set-up and maintenance fees are reduced significantly. Some notable features of iModules include:
- Continuous upgrades and enhancements based on market changes
- Exceptional security for e-commerce and personal information
- Synchronized website and database
- Shared content with Facebook
4. What is included in the $150/month website content fee?
- Team of content professionals posting monthly updates to events and news sections.
- Editorial and design enhancements to content provided by client.
- Marketing and brand management consulting.
- Ongoing packaging and posting of member-generated content as it is gathered by our experienced content team.
- Monthly eLetter generated from website content sent to your membership.
- PLUS all of the benefits listed below in the $100/month package.
5. What is included in the $100/month do-it-yourself fee?
- Seamlessly send and track unlimited email marketing campaigns to members.
- Initial one-hour training session included in set-up cost. (Step-by-step manual included.)
- Administrator access to upload and monitor content and member information.
- Generate usage reports to refine and hone your marketing.
- Recognize hosting savings because we don’t increase the fee based on storage used like most other web providers.
- Regular upgrades and enhancements made by web provider, iModules, are included.
- Donation processing and recording for online contributions
6. Are there reporting capabilities for the site?
Yes, each site has analytics that are based on actions taken by members who are logged into the site. Email marketing reporting is available for each email that is sent through the website and tracks open rates, click through rates and more. Additionally, you can add Google Analytics to get more extensive website reporting.
7. Can members make credit card contributions online?
Yes. Online giving is available for every website and the money is transferred directly into your organization’s bank account. A merchant application must be completed through US Bank that allows your organization to accept credit cards. We do not retain credit card numbers, and this information is not transferred via email, so there is no chance of your member’s credit card numbers being stolen. Members will receive a confirmation email after making an online gift.
8. Why do I have to login to the website?
We take member’s security very seriously, which is why an authenticated login is required for sensitive pages on the website. Each member will be required to use an individual member ID when registering on the website for the first time, which ensures that he/she is a member of your organization. Non-members are not permitted to register without your permission. The member directory requires a login so it cannot be accessed by spammers or anyone who isn’t logged into the site.
9. Can we customize and add pages?
We are able to make adjustments to the regular site template and add additional custom pages to the left sidebar, per your needs. Some requests may incur additional charges, but don’t hesitate to ask about expanding the capabilities.
10. Can members update their personal information on the site and add content?
Our websites are linked directly to the database, and updates to either are synced, so the information is shared between the two. Members can update their contact information directly on the website and it will automatically update in your database. There are also options for members to add personal updates, photos and message board topics.