What are lockbox/caging services, and how can they benefit nonprofits?

During this time of greater need, nonprofits need to be positioned to take full advantage of the most modern and available technologies that will help streamline their operations to ensure that their precious time can be best devoted to serving their causes.

Whether you are a $1 million or $100 million organization, you can benefit greatly from using lockbox/caging services to optimize your mail and donations database processing operations.

For those who aren’t familiar with lockbox deposits, this service is provided to help organizations streamline donation processing. To do this, a post office box is set up and assigned to your organization in order to receive all incoming donations. The bank retrieves the payments, keys in the information for the nonprofit’s records, and deposits the funds into their account. In the nonprofit world, lockbox services are often referred to as “caging.” Typically, your organization can choose to receive the check and remittances document images online or in a data transmission for posting purposes.

One of the primary benefits of lockbox/caging services is that it is one of the fastest methods to get the money to your organization’s account if you are constantly receiving donations in the form of cash and checks. Naturally, for many nonprofits that engage in fundraising, a constant flow of cash receipts from membership dues payments, meeting and event registrations, and direct mail campaign contributions are typical. Instead of dedicating your own time and staff to sorting through and opening the mail, endorsing each check, and physically depositing them to your local bank each day, lockbox services can be utilized to streamline processing and deposit times.

Moreover, lockbox services are specifically designed to reduce the amount of time it takes for checks in the mail to ultimately be deposited into your organization's account. Donation processing partners such as Aegis specialize in minimizing delays throughout the process by collecting and promptly depositing the checks for you. This is especially beneficial if your organization is on the national level and has donors located in a large region or across the country. Aegis is strategically located near the center of the country in Topeka, Kansas so that the delivery time for incoming mail isn’t skewed towards either coast.

With the advantage of faster mail processing also comes faster database processing. For instance, take direct mail acquisition campaigns. For these campaigns, nonprofits will typically procure a mailing list through external means and then send direct mail appeals to the names on the mailing list. These names don’t already reside in your organization’s donor database, so for each donation response, you would have to find the corresponding record on the acquisition campaign mailing list and transcribe that information into your existing donor database. A donor ID would then need to be assigned to categorize subsequent donations down the road.

As you can imagine, this donor onboarding process can get relatively labor-intensive for nonprofits if they are using their own staff for this task. Fortunately, lockbox providers like Aegis can help automate this process for nonprofits. Ahead of the maildrop, your organization or direct mail vendor will attribute an ID to each record on the mailing list and upload that list to the lockbox company. The mailed solicitations also have this finder ID printed on the return statement in lieu of a donor ID, and when donation responses start coming in, the lockbox company can match the finder ID on the return statement with its corresponding record on the mailing list, and produce a file with their name, address, and other contact info along with the donation date and amount to send to the nonprofit. This way, your organization can simply import the file that contains all the donor data rather than manually transcribing newly acquired donors into your system.

The Aegis Advantage

Since 1988, Aegis Processing Solutions has been one of the nonprofit industry’s most-trusted providers of caging and lockbox services. Setting us apart from other vendors is our “partnership” philosophy, which guides every aspect of our operations. Our experience and attention to detail take the time-consuming task of donation processing off your plate, allowing your organization to focus on fulfilling its mission. It’s this philosophy that keeps our clients committed to Aegis for the long-term. Our average client relationship is 12-15 years, and we’re proud to say we have numerous clients who have been with Aegis for more than 25 years.

Our experienced staff understands the needs of our clients and takes immense pride in customer satisfaction. Our management team has a combined 85 years of experience in the caging industry. And, it’s not just our clients who make long-term commitments to Aegis, it’s our employees as well. The average tenure of Aegis Processing Solutions' employees is more than 10 years. That means you can count on Aegis to provide consistent, top-notch customer service through the duration of your agreement. For every client, Aegis establishes a dedicated account team to process all work (excluding mail openers or machine operators). This team is responsible for client and customer relationship management, as well as donation processing.

Aegis is committed to ensuring that your organization can access your funds when you need them. That’s why we strive to deposit your funds and issue acknowledgments within 48 hours of receiving your mail. To ensure that you can gain the most powerful insights into your direct mail data, Aegis also offers Aegis Care, our cloud-based application featuring an interactive dashboard. With Aegis Care, your organization will have access to on-demand response images, deposit breakdowns, appeal breakouts, and program insights.

And, we are excited to announce that we recently brought Washington Intelligence Bureau into the Aegis family. This caging facility in Virginia has been a premier caging provider for more than 60 years. Not only does this enhance our knowledge, experience, and capacity, but it also gives us geographic diversity with sites in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Virginia. COVID-19 reminded us that any single plant or state can be vulnerable. This diversification means that even if an entire plant is shut down, we can still process your donations.

If you are interested in learning more about how Aegis can optimize your caging and donations processing experience, please contact Ken Romine at kromine@aegispremier.com or fill out the form below.

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