Ranked in the Philanthropy 400 since 2001, the Omaha Community Foundation issues around 11,000 checks each year to causes in the Omaha area, sometimes as many as 200 per day. Like most nonprofits, staffing is minimal and time is valuable. Implementing ACH as a way to distribute payments was proving to be too labor intensive, and as CFO Melisa Sunde says, “We just don’t have any extra staff time to where I thought we could devote even an extra hour to a process each day. We just could not figure out how to do ACH and make it efficient.”
“We’d gotten some pushback from some of the nonprofits that we grant who didn’t want to give us their bank information,” says Sunde. That, in addition to the time and cost savings, made eChecks the perfect payment solution for this community foundation. “To me, if we could slash our expenses by 75% or so, it was a no-brainer,” says Sunde. “Plus, it’s going to be less staff time. We don’t have somebody stuffing envelopes to run through the mail machine. When you have such a small staff, you have to continually think of ways to decrease the amount of time they’re spending [on tasks]. I can’t really think of any downside to [eChecks].”
Omaha Community Foundation’s goal was to be issuing 100% of their payments via Deluxe Payment Exchange by fourth quarter of 2019. With the ability to issue batch runs in just minutes, Sunde estimates that the foundation will be able to save 75% on expenses each year, money that can be better used to enhance and serve the community.