We save nonprofits tens of millions of dollars – here’s what it means

A look at what it means that nonprofits save (a lot of) money using Give Lively – how we calculate it and why it matters.
December 18, 2023
Ethan Gelber
Content Director

GivingTuesday 2023 is over and it was a record-breaker! Here are the top-level stats:

Today, let's focus on the middle number: how much money nonprofits save on fundraising tech by using Give Lively. It's a figure that means a lot to us and that we recalculated in the aftermath of GivingTuesday 2023. In round terms, we believe it to be: 

What it means

We are committed to helping nonprofits satisfy their missions without sacrificing their means. To do that, we don't 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.

We are proud not to be a for-profit service provider that purports to help nonprofits only to take money away from them. This means that, every year, our member nonprofits save millions of dollars that might otherwise have been spent on digital fundraising software and fees. 

These millions are, in essence, Give Lively's charitable gift to the nonprofit community, since the money saved can be redirected toward essential operations and services, not filling the coffers of service providers like Blackbaud, Bonterra, Classy, Eventbrite and more.

How we calculate it

$90 million is an estimate; however, it is anchored in the real costs associated with other fundraising platforms. Here are three of those platforms, based on our best understanding of what they charge:

* For major credit/debit cards (except American Express).

Using these numbers, we looked at the costs that would have been incurred by our member nonprofits if they had been using a different platform instead of taking advantage of our free platform and integrations. We then aggregated the fees we saved them over time. 

For example, here are the contrasting costs for each platform, using their fees (see above) and the Give Lively volume only on GivingTuesday 2023 of $7,857,954 raised through 50,095 donations.

Chart of cost to nonprofits using each platform’s fees and Give Lively volume on GivingTuesday 2023

** As noted above, this assumes all donations were made via a credit/debit card (except American Express). Give Lively transaction fees are charged by and paid directly to third-party payment processors.

Completing an exercise like this for overall savings since 2017 is how we arrived at our number of $90 million. We think this is a conservative view of how much money nonprofit tech platforms seize from nonprofits. Each platform has its own complex pricing methods, often levying additional charges such as service fees, monthly or annual fees, hidden fees, upcharges and more – all beyond the math you see here. (Of particular note, these often include considerable payments for Salesforce support, which we do not charge.) 

Why it matters

Our ability to save nonprofits money is our superpower, one we like to call the Give Lively Effect: a proven way of democratizing and leveling the digital fundraising playing field, helping nonprofits hit their fundraising goals, maximize their donors’ generosity and free them to devote more resources to their critical work.

“When I think about the $90 million we’ve given back to the nonprofit community, I’m continually shocked that this much money has been directed away from organizations committed to social good,” said David DeParolesa, CEO of Give Lively. “Imagine what it represents! That’s more than the annual GDP of nine U.S. states, such as Maine, both Dakotas or Alaska. That’s nearly twice what the Open Society Foundations just committed to increasing civic engagement among women and young people over the next three years. That’s hundreds of millions of meals for the hungry, or gifted toys for about 4.5 million children. It's definitely a game-changer for thousands of nonprofits operating on tight budgets and serving vulnerable communities. This is why we do what we do."

Leading with values

While delivering savings to nonprofits is mission critical to us, we also place a special emphasis on staying true to our progressive values. Our values are a powerful motivator for our team and a decisive part of our membership criteria. We support (and are inspired by) nonprofits that tackle tough challenges and complex issues such as gender and racial equality, reproductive health and LGBTQ+ rights, social and environmental justice, education, domestic violence, immigrant services and more. We personally review every membership application to ensure each nonprofit member aligns with our values.