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Learn about payment disputes and how to manage them

This is a resource to help nonprofits understand how disputes work and how to manage them effectively to minimize their impact.

Before you get started

Video Overview

Walkthrough

Before you get started

Video Overview

Walkthrough

Before you get started

Video Overview

Walkthrough

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Before You Get Started

Make sure you have (or are working with someone who has) access to the Stripe account connected to Give Lively and/or your PayPal Business Account.

Video Overview

Walkthrough

This is a resource to help nonprofits understand how disputes work and how to manage them effectively to minimize their impact.

For nonprofits receiving payments through fundraising pages and platforms powered by Give Lively, there are two scenarios:

  • Scenario 1: Give Lively member nonprofits have created fundraising pages and receive payments using Give Lively products
  • Scenario 2: Nonprofits have received donations through Charity Navigator’s Giving Basket, powered by Give Lively

Both scenarios are covered in the answers provided below.

What is a dispute and why does it occur?

A dispute takes place when a donor contests the validity of all or part of a payment, whether it is directly to a nonprofit or to an organization disbursing payment to a nonprofit. The dispute is usually lodged with the donor's bank or credit card and can arise for many reasons, including accidental payments, duplicate payments, real or perceived fraudulent payments, processing errors and more.

Who is responsible for handling disputes?

Scenario 1: Give Lively member nonprofits

Nonprofits are responsible for all disputes related to any payments made through fundraising pages powered by Give Lively.

Scenario 2: Giving Basket donation recipients

Give Lively is responsible for managing disputes for organizations that receive donations through Charity Navigator’s Giving Basket. No action is needed on the nonprofit’s behalf.

Where are disputes logged?

Scenario 1: Give Lively member nonprofits

Disputes related to payments made via Give Lively fundraising pages can be found through the nonprofit's Stripe and/or PayPal accounts.

  • Stripe notifies its users of a dispute directly via the Stripe dashboard and email. To see disputes in Stripe, log in to Stripe, go to the “Payments” tab and click the “Disputes” sub-navigation item.
  • PayPal disputes can also take the form of a “claim" or a “chargeback." When any of these occur, PayPal notifies users via email. To see these, log in to the PayPal Business Account and, from your dashboard, click on “Activity” in the top navigation bar and then select "Open Cases" in the "Resolution Center".

Scenario 2: Giving Basket donation recipients

Although Give Lively is responsible for managing disputes in this scenario, the dispute date, amount and status are all tracked in the downloadable “Line Items (Giving Basket)” CSV report available through the Reports Portal. 

The three relevant data columns are: 

  • Dispute Date - records the time a dispute was initiated
  • Dispute Amount - tracks the amount in dispute, which could be up to the full amount of the donor’s payment
  • Dispute Status - indicates the current status of the dispute, which updates as it progresses through the resolution lifecycle

There are many possible dispute statuses, depending on whether the dispute is pending resolution or resolved and in Stripe or PayPal. Learn about the statuses associated with donor payment disputes.

How does a nonprofit manage a dispute?

Scenario 1: Give Lively member nonprofits

If a dispute arises, it is important for a nonprofit to manage it promptly and effectively to minimize its impact. 

Both of our payment processors (Stripe and PayPal) offer resources for managing disputes. We recommend following these guides to learn about the dispute lifecycle and associated fees.

Scenario 2: Giving Basket donation recipients

Give Lively is responsible for managing disputes for organizations that receive donations through Charity Navigator’s Giving Basket. No action is needed on the nonprofit’s behalf.

Helpful suggestions

While the Stripe and PayPal guides above provide in-depth information about how to manage a dispute, here are some important suggestions to keep in mind:

  • Understand the reason for the dispute: Contact the donor and discuss what happened. This will help determine the best course of action and may help prevent similar disputes in the future.
  • Provide evidence: If a dispute is believed to be unfounded, support this position with documented facts. This may include receipts, shipping information or other details.
  • Respond promptly: Don’t delay when Stripe or PayPal requests additional information or action. Failure to respond within established timeframes may result in an adverse default judgment.
  • Be polite and professional: The donor may be upset or frustrated so keep all communications courteous and respectful.
  • Reimburse card testing payments: Disputes could arise as a result of card testing. Give Lively takes strong measures against card testing and advises that you do too. In a rare instance of successful card testing, act swiftly and proactively to reimburse everyone and avoid the fees associated with disputes.

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