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Learn how Stripe processes and displays voluntary contributions

Before you get started


Before you get started


Before you get started


Learn how Stripe processes and displays voluntary contributions made through Give Lively donation forms.

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Before You Get Started

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In the fall of 2022, Give Lively introduced the ability for donors to 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.

When voluntary contributions to Give Lively are paid by card (credit or debit), Stripe processes the transaction. The article below explains how Stripes determines and displays this information.

Does Stripe charge a processing fee for a voluntary contribution?

Stripe charges fees to process any transaction. These are the same Stripe fees applied to donations handled through the Give Lively platform. Just as donation payment processing fees are passed along to a nonprofit, so too are voluntary contribution processing fees passed on to Give Lively, which assumes full responsibility for them.

What are the Stripe processing fees for voluntary contributions and how are they handled?

There are up to two components of the fee Stripe charges on every transaction: 

  • a variable one (2.2% to 3.5%, depending on the card)
  • a fixed one (zero to $0.30, depending on the card).

The variable component of the transaction fee is applied to the amounts in question and handled by the responsible parties. For example, if a payment is made by Mastercard and includes a $100 donation to a nonprofit and a $15 voluntary contribution to Give Lively, the variable fee for the donation is $2.20 ($100 x 2.2%) and is passed along to the beneficiary nonprofit. The remaining $0.33 variable fee for the voluntary contribution ($15 x 2.2%) is Give Lively’s responsibility.

However, the fixed component, if it is included, is split evenly between the two beneficiaries. This is the case no matter how large or small the donation and contribution are. In the example outlined above, the nonprofit pays $0.15 (50% of $0.30) as part of its transaction fee, as does Give Lively.

Note that when a donor chooses to make a voluntary contribution to Give Lively, the split responsibility for the fixed component may reduce the amount of the transaction fee assigned to the nonprofit. This is because the part of the fixed component automatically assigned to Give Lively is subtracted from the transaction fee amount charged to nonprofits. In the example above, the transaction fee will appear to be $0.15 less than would be the case if no voluntary contribution were being made.

Although the total payment amount is processed as one transaction, a fee division is shown within the transaction payment details on the Stripe dashboard. Learn more about that below.

Will donors choosing to cover Stripe fees on donations to nonprofits also cover fees for voluntary contributions?

Donors are not asked to cover Stripe transaction fees on voluntary continuations to Give Lively. The ability to cover transaction fees is reserved for donations to nonprofits so that nonprofits can make the most of donor generosity.

Of note: Because the fixed component of Stripe transaction fees is split between the nonprofit and Give Lively when a voluntary contribution is made, the fees on the nonprofit donation will be slightly lower (see the answer to the previous question), as will the fees passed to donors who choose to cover them.

Learn about how transaction fees are calculated and how donors can elect to cover them.

Where is the voluntary contribution shown in Stripe data? 

In Stripe data, the voluntary contribution to Give Lively is categorized as a “fee,” specifically an “application fee,” and appears as part of the transaction details for any donation. 

The “application fee” label is only the name of the feature that Give Lively uses in Stripe through which voluntary contributions to Give Lively are collected. However, the voluntary contribution is not a Give Lively platform fee or any other kind of fee, just the words Stripe chose for the tool; Give Lively is not able to change the label in Stripe. 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.

To see the voluntary contribution and its associated Stripe fees, click on any transaction on the Stripe dashboard to view its “Payment Details."

Screenshot of Stripe data showing payment details, including where data on voluntary contributions can be found.

In the screenshot above:

  • the “Amount” is the donor’s full payment – the donation plus the voluntary contribution
  • the “Fee” is the combined amount of the Stripe transaction fees for both the donation and the voluntary contribution, plus the voluntary contribution itself – by hovering over the “i” the cost division is made clear, with:
    + the “Stripe transaction fees” equal the fees charged for handling the “Amount” (see above) and 
    + the “Application fees” equal the voluntary contribution minus its Stripe transaction fees (what Give Lively actually receives as the voluntary contribution)
  • the “Net” is the total amount received by the nonprofit – the “Amount” minus the “Application fees” (meaning the voluntary contribution) minus all Stripe transaction fees. Any refunded or disputed amounts are also accounted for in this net amount.

A critical note about the Stripe Payments CSV: In the Stripe Payments CSV, the “Amount” column includes both the donation to the nonprofit and, in cases where a voluntary contribution is made, the voluntary contribution to Give Lively. For nonprofits that rely on the data from this CSV, the “Fees” total must be subtracted from the “Amount” to get the true net donation amount.

How should nonprofits handle refunds when donations are accompanied by a voluntary contribution to Give Lively?

There are three scenarios to consider:

  1. The donor has requested a full or partial refund only of the donation.
  2. The donor has requested a full or partial refund only of the voluntary contribution.
  3. The donor has requested a full refund of their entire payment (donation plus voluntary contribution).

In all three scenarios, contact support at Give Lively and be sure to include the following:

  • how much the donor wants refunded
  • whether the refund is from the donation, voluntary contribution or both
  • the donor’s order id *OR* the donor’s email and date of purchase.

I accidentally refunded the donor’s full payment via the Stripe dashboard. What should I do?

Please contact support at Give Lively.


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