100 thousand euros in losses have been reported since June. According to the organization, humanitarian activities in northwestern Syria could have determined Stripe’s move.
U.S.-based platform Stripe, used for collecting donations by credit cards, has terminated its fund transfer service to Still I Rise, without providing adequate explanation or practical support to resolve the situation.
Since June, this has resulted in the blocking of recurring donations from thousands of donors who chose the credit card payment method, causing a total loss to date of at least 100 thousand euros, increasing by the day.
“Despite our repeated requests for assistance in the past few months to resolve the situation, Stripe has provided conflicting and clearly uncoordinated communications between various areas within the company. They gave us generic explanations which have not helped us understand the concrete origin of their decision. This has prevented us from working on possible solutions,” said Massimo Pesci, Fundraising Director of Still I Rise.
“On top of this comes the damage caused by not making all of our recurring donors’ data available to us. This has meant we have been unable to facilitate the transition to another provider of the same service and ensure the continuity of the support given by our donors. This is very serious and does not take into account how much a humanitarian organization relies upon the valuable support of regular donors.”
The search has been on for the possible reasons behind Stripe’s decision, as there no rationale has been explicitly stated by the platform, Still I Rise identified humanitarian operations in Northwest Syria, an area deemed “high risk”. Even though the organization provided evidence and documentation on its activities in this area, Stripe communicated its intention – based on an internal and unknown assessment – to discontinue the service.
“We repeatedly requested further clarification and sent additional detail on Still I Rise’s activities in Syria, but to no avail: Stripe proceeded to unilaterally and arbitrarily terminate the contract. There are obvious problems in terms of the lawfulness of the contract termination, compounded then by the failure to assist in the migration of our donors’ data. This is why we are considering taking legal action”, explains Giovanni Volpe, General Counsel of the organization.
The decision to close the organization’s account effectively deprives Still I Rise of the ability to carry out legitimate humanitarian work in defense of human rights in difficult, politically fragile contexts. Worryingly, the same could happen to other nonprofit organizations.
Currently, Still I Rise is seeking an e-commerce provider who can replace the blocked service, and who can distinguish itself from Stripe by also being a bearer of ethical values and real customer care. In the meantime, the organization is inviting recurring donors to reactivate their donation by bank transfer to Banca Etica, following the instructions at https://donate.stillirisengo.org.