Why does Give Lively use UTC for Giving Basket donation receipt times and dates?

This FAQ addresses Give Lively’s role in processing donations through Charity Navigator’s Giving Basket and may not apply to all Give Lively members.

Give Lively uses UTC to note the time and date of a completed donation. 

What is UTC?

UTC, which stands for Coordinated Universal Time, is used as the 24-hour time standard across the entire planet. UTC today is what people referred to as Greenwich Mean Time (or GMT) up until 1972, when GMT became the name of a time zone, not a time standard.

The local time anywhere on the planet can be calculated against UTC. For example, Eastern Standard Time (EST) in the U.S. is always UTC-5 (or UTC minus 5), meaning 16:00 UTC is 11:00am EST.

What does it mean that Give Lively uses UTC?

When a donor completes a donation, the time and date of the completed donation is recorded in UTC. A donor’s local timezone is not presently gathered or stored.

This means that donation dates and times are noted in UTC on a donor’s receipt and within donor data reports.

The use of UTC also affects how nonprofits view data in the Giving Basket Reports Portal. When a nonprofit filters donations by date, the results are determined by the donation time in the nonprofit's timezone, but only if one is specified in the Core Profile of a member nonprofit or if an address is specified in the GuideStar profile of nonprofits receiving donations through the Giving Basket. If there is no timezone specified in either location, results are set to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

Why is this important?

In some cases, donors may have been attempting to complete donations before a tax deadline — such as before midnight on December 31. The receipt may not immediately look like the deadline was met, but it is accurate in UTC and can be confirmed as valid with a tax expert or accountant when filing taxes.

For example, a donor based in San Francisco who completes a donation at 7pm PST on December 31 will see it as having been completed at 03:00 UTC on January 1. That is not a mistake. Since PST is UTC-8, the UTC time is 8 hours later, or 3am. But the receipt, although it shows it in UTC, accurately reflects a donation time of 7pm on December 31 for a person located in Pacific Standard Time.

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