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Creative solution to budget problems
Through DonorCharge, local merchants can help The Creative Coast
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TIMES ARE tough, and they're tough for The Creative Coast as well. The local nonprofit knowledge-based business incubator has seen its budget cut significantly in recent months.

But an effort called DonorCharge will help shore up its resources, and offers the additional plus of building a community of like-minded local entrepreneurs.

Creative Coast has teamed up with local firm Thompson Merchant Services for a point-of-sale donation program that directs a portion of a business's debit transaction fees to the nonprofit.

"With DonorCharge, merchants have the opportunity to pay a lower transaction fee while The Creative Coast will receive a small percentage of the transaction fee," explains Creative Coast Director Jake Hodesh.

"Participating merchants receive the same amount of revenue, or more, from each credit card transaction while The Creative Coast earns a small percentage from the transaction fee itself, not the merchant's pocket," he says.

Thompson Merchant Services owner and president Joe Thompson says the idea came about a few years ago when he was talking with some Creative Coast folks about raising money for local arts and culture.

"It's still a work in progress," he says. "But we're already having a lot of success approaching merchants. The flip side is that Creative Coast will also call attention to the businesses that support them, to really help build a community of people working together here."

While Thompson says that because of legal requirements the program has to be underwritten by a major bank - in this case Wells Fargo - his is a local company and all the donations stay in the market.