May 04, 2020

What Nonprofits Need to Know About Prepaid and Gift Cards ASAP

Many nonprofits are facing an unprecedented demand to distribute much-needed aid ASAP. But traditional methods like issuing, printing and mailing paper checks can be too slow and cumbersome for those that need help now. A faster, convenient and more versatile solution is loading funds onto prepaid and gift cards so they can be used quickly.

Nonprofit employees are also under pressure right now, and prepaid and gift cards are a perfect way to thank, encourage and support them—especially those on the front lines. Research[1] has found that most people would be encouraged to work harder after receiving gift card rewards and feel that gift card rewards show that their employer values them.

Here’s what nonprofits need to know about prepaid and gift cards:

  • Spending flexibility is ensured. Prepaid cards can be used where major processing networks are accepted and gift cards can be redeemed at retailers across the country. Both can also be spent online. This flexibility allows people to pay for what they want and need, such as groceries and household essentials.
  • Distribution form is fluid. Both types of cards can come in physical form to distribute in-person, or digitally to reach people who are separated geographically. This fluidity helps nonprofits deliver relief or employee rewards quickly no matter where people are.
  • There’s more than one way to redeem. Prepaid and gift cards can be spent in-store or online. This spending flexibility enables recipients to redeem their gift card via the channel that is most convenient, accessible and comfortable to them.
  • Anyone can spend prepaid and gift cards. A 2019 report by the Federal Reserve System[2] found that nearly one quarter of Americans are unbanked or underbanked. Many people most in need of aid right now may be part of this population, so traditional disbursements such as checks mean going to a bank, supermarket or check casher and paying a fee. Prepaid and gift cards put relief directly in their hands without check-cashing fees for easy use—maximizing the value they receive.
  • Relief is available quickly. Dispersing relief by issuing, printing and mailing paper checks typically takes a few weeks. But sites like enable nonprofits to order prepaid and gift cards for delivery typically in just days for physical cards, and digital cards can usually be delivered in just a few minutes.

During these challenging times, prepaid and gift cards provide nonprofits with versatile and flexible options to distribute aid in days or even minutes, while also engaging, rewarding and motivating their hard-working employees. Leaning on these cards can help nonprofits quickly and efficiently optimize the help they provide.

By Theresa McEndree, VP, Marketing, Blackhawk Network