How do voluntary donor contributions to Give Lively “pay free forward”?

At Give Lively, we believe that nonprofits, no matter their size, should not sacrifice their means to satisfy their missions. We build and support powerful and practical fundraising solutions that are free for nonprofits and intuitive for donors.

Now, donors can make a voluntary contribution (not tax-deductible) to Give Lively and join forces with our founder-funders in supporting the nonprofit community. We call this donor-powered generosity “pay free forward” because donor contributions to Give Lively extend the reach and capability of our free products and services, thus helping the nonprofit community direct millions of dollars to their critical work, not digital fundraising software. Because we’re in it for nonprofits, not for profit.

Importantly, each voluntary contribution to Give Lively has no effect on the final donation amount the nonprofit receives. The contribution is not tax-deductible and is in addition to the donation.

Why allow for voluntary contributions to Give Lively?

When Give Lively was launched in 2015, our founder-funders made a generous long-term commitment to nonprofit philanthropy. In keeping with their goodwill vision of democratized digital fundraising, they cover Give Lively's operating expenses so that we don’t have to charge nonprofits for use of our platform. Since 2017, we’ve saved nonprofits many millions of dollars in fundraising tech expenses, validating our mission and our founder-funders’ investment. Learn more about why we’re free for nonprofits.

As we evolve, though, we are well positioned to pursue more opportunities on behalf of nonprofits. Using our original benefactors' sustaining annual generosity as a springboard, we are exploring additional sources of operating revenue to accomplish this.

Now donors can claim a place alongside our founder-funders and voluntarily contribute capital to Give Lively, helping us build and support fundraising solutions that remain free for nonprofits.

Why now?

From our earliest days as a small, values-driven start-up with a handful of nonprofit collaborators, we have matured into a transformative organization with a national presence, empowering thousands of nonprofits to take advantage of the digital fundraising movement, some for the very first time. 

Additionally, our reach extends to hundreds of thousands of nonprofits through our ever-increasing membership base and game-changing partnerships like the Giving Basket, which we power for Charity Navigator, the world’s largest and most trusted nonprofit evaluator.

With our growth has come nonprofits’ rising desire for more than the responsive, efficient and reliable service we have always prioritized and to which our founder-funders have decisively pledged unwavering support. Now is the time to accept contributions from a broader pool of philanthropists to aid our next steps.

How does “pay free forward” help? 

When one person responds to another’s kindness by being kind to a third person, it's called “paying it forward.” Similarly, when donors make voluntary capital contributions directly to Give Lively, they are extending the reach and capability of Give Lively’s free products and services. This impacts ever more nonprofits’ ability to devote more resources to their work rather than for-profit fundraising software. Just like our founder-funders, people who contribute capital to Give Lively’s work are generously choosing to “pay free forward.”

Again, each voluntary contribution is not tax-deductible and is in addition to the donation being made to a nonprofit, with no effect on the final donation amount the nonprofit receives.

What will Give Lively do with the funds?

Funds generated through voluntary contributions will be used on platform improvements and expanded services. Many of these are requests directly from nonprofits, while others are part of a long-term product roadmap. The volume of contributions will be decisive in determining the speed and order in which projects are tackled.

What do voluntary contributions look like?

The “pay free forward” feature appears on a Give Lively donation form's "Payment Details" page, after the donation amount and frequency have been entered but before payment confirmation.

The default amount is always $0. This is just an example with $5 showing.

Here is a video of the voluntary contribution box in context.

How is the rollout happening?

Starting in the fall of 2022, we'll slowly make this feature available to more and more nonprofits. We'll begin small — with only a handful of fundraising pages of a limited number of nonprofits. This is in keeping with our approach to any new functionality: We establish best outcomes in collaboration with a few nonprofits before expanding the circle of users to more, and eventually all, of our members. 

Can nonprofits opt out?

There is no ability for nonprofits to opt out. Once fully implemented, which will take time, the option for voluntary contributions will appear on all member nonprofits’ Give Lively donation forms. That said, the slow rollout is to allow for careful study so that we can be sure our donation forms remain intuitive to donors and donation completion rates continue to be high.

Can donors not make a voluntary contribution or contribute without donating?

Contributions to Give Lively are entirely voluntary. Donors can bypass the voluntary contribution to complete their donation.

For donors who do choose to contribute, it must be in addition to the donation. It is not possible to make a contribution without first making a donation. The voluntary contribution has no effect on the final donation amount the nonprofit receives.

Are voluntary contributions tax-deductible and do they appear on the donor’s receipt?

Voluntary contributions are not tax-deductible and are clearly itemized as such in the donation receipt.

Are voluntary contributions included with every recurring payment on monthly donations?

No, the voluntary contribution is only added to the first payment on recurring monthly donations.

Will nonprofits see voluntary contributions listed in donation data reports?

Voluntary contributions are not included in Give Lively downloadable CSV reports of donation data. They are however present in Stripe data as a “fee” or an “application fee.” This is only the name of the feature we use in Stripe through which voluntary contributions to Give Lively are collected, but it is not a platform fee or any other kind of fee. Give Lively does not charge nonprofits for use of our fundraising platform — no setup fees, no platform fees, no membership or subscription fees, no annual or monthly fees, no hidden Give Lively fees.

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