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Transaction Fees, ughposted Jul 01 2021

We’ve been using Paypal for advance ticket sales and online donations. They’re changing their discounted nonprofit transaction rate to 1.99% + 49 cents from 2.2% + 30 cents. (For non-transaction philanthropy, it’s now 2.89% + 49 cents.)

So for a $10 ticket, that’s 69 cents vs 52 cents before. (And for a $10 donation, it’s 78 cents vs 52 cents before.)

Yeah, it’s pennies. 17 cents more per ticket in this example, big whoop. But it adds up. For instance, if we manage to sell out all 40 seats for a show with advance $10 tickets, Paypal takes $27.60 that would otherwise go to the performers.

$27.60 gets a performer about 230 miles down the road. It could be the difference between a motel room (with a shower!) or a sleeping in a rest stop. It’s, like, 20 bean burritos at Taco Bell.

We want the performers to get a fair wage, and we also want shows to be as accessible as possible for our local community (Bellows Falls has a lot going for it, but it also has a poverty rate exceeding 25%). To accomplish these things, we’re not paying ourselves. We hope that will change somehow, but for the time being it’s the only way this thing can happen.

We’ve always folded the small transaction fee into the advance ticket cost, and will continue doing it. We’re not sure what else there is to do about it without making extra hassle for everyone, and more work for us.

Interesting to note: According to Statista, “In the first quarter of 2021, PayPal’s net income amounted to 1.1 billion U.S. dollars.” In the first quarter. And according to Wallmine, PayPal’s CEO takes home well in excess of $25 million annually. Did we mention our community’s 25%+ poverty rate? George Monbiot famously wrote, “If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.” Most of the people in Bellows Falls would financially be doing a whole lot better than they are, too.

It’s a tough nut and a fine line… trying to help lift up those who struggle, but having to contribute to this country’s vast inequalities of wealth and leisure in order to do it. Do the means justify the ends? Gosh, hope so.

(Before suggesting Venmo as an alternative to PayPal, per Venmo: “Venmo’s peer-to-peer experience cannot be used to solicit or collect charitable contributions.” Also, Venmo is owned by PayPal.)

$ 5      .59
$10      .69
$12.50   .74
$15      .79
$20      .89
$25      .99
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