Answers to common questions are listed here. Have more questions? Just ask!

Several happy people

Perhaps you were wondering:


What’s with the chihuahua?

Tuppence the Chihuahua is our mascot, and she enables us to educate folks about our product in a fun way. We once said “GivingTools is so easy, even a reasonably smart chihuahua can do it.” …and the whole chihuahua thing kind of evolved from there. You will see Tuppence in our product’s Dashboard, on our Facebook page, in our user guides, and in the Ask Tuppence advice feature of this site.

Why isn’t GivingTools more expensive? Is there a catch?

GivingTools deliberately charges less money than we could for our online fundraising services. Indeed, we only make the monthly fee from our customers…not a penny from their processing. We do this because we feel it is the right thing to do—because it helps nonprofits make the world a better place. We don’t want to stand in the way of that any more than we need to!

Can I see some examples of GivingTools in action?

Hundreds of nonprofits use GivingTools (in lots of different ways). Here are some examples of how customers generally tend to use our system:

Form Embed

You can embed a giving form right in your site, styled to blend right in: https://www.defendersmedia.com/donate

Or, maybe your site has a clean white background and you want a simpler look: https://www.achanceinlife.org/donate-now.html

Giving Page Embed

You can embed your entire giving page right in your site: https://akibaschechter.org/give/overview/

Link Out

You can link out from your site to the URL of your giving page: https://operationidream.gvtls.com

Or you can link out to a giving form that displays one or more of your appeals: https://shawneepresok.gvtls.com/925

There are many ways to share your online fundraiser with GivingTools. Snag a free demo account to explore the full flexibility of the system!

Do we have to be a registered 501(c)(3)?

If you bring your own processor, we do not have any requirements, but the processor you bring might.

If you sign up for CardConnect, your organization must be a US-based, Federally recognized nonprofit. When you apply, CardConnect will review your entity to set up your account. If they need more information to verify your status, they will let you know.

I have a demo account and I’d like to test transactions. How do I do that?

You can run dummy transactions (credit, debit, or e-check) through your demo account by selecting “DummyPay” as your credit card and ACH processor in Settings. The account will appear to accept a card charge, but no funds are actually processed.

I have a demo account. How do I sign up for real?

Once you are satisfied that GivingTools is a good fit for you, just sign up using the signup link at the top of your demo account, or visit GivingTools.com. If you have a demo account, we will activate it as-is, so any changes you may have made are preserved. If you do not have a demo account, a new, empty account will be launched for you.

Is it hard to cancel?

We know that GivingTools is not for everybody, and that’s fine. We try to make canceling your account as easy as setting it up. Just email us and we’ll process the cancellation. There is no cancellation fee.


Is GivingTools secure?

GivingTools is extremely secure, likely more secure than services charging several times what we do. This link provides details of what we do to keep your data safe. It is pretty impressive.

Does GivingTools generate receipts for donors?

Yes, GivingTools generates an email receipt for each donation, emailed to the donor, which can be used for tax purposes. The email comes from GivingTools but can include a message customized by you, too. Your logo or nonprofit name is atop each receipt. Donors can also log in at any time to see their giving history.

In addition, if you enter traditional (cash/check) gifts into the system via our manual gift entry feature, these donors receive a receipt, too.

Does GivingTools support gift designations?

You bet. We actually have three ways to accomplish this:

  1. Appeals
    Consider an appeal like an item you can put in your shopping cart. You can select as many as you want (though only one of each). Then you display these on your giving page or a giving form, depending on your preference. Each appeal would be a different place funds can go.
  2. Designations
    The second option is a designation. This method uses only one appeal and donors can select from a dropdown a bunch of pre-defined choices.
  3. Custom Fields
    The third option is custom fields. You can create a text custom field and donors can type in whatever designation they want there.

Do donors have to be registered to give through GivingTools?

No registration is necessary. After their first gift, donors receive a link with their receipt that enables them to register to access their donor history, but they do not have to. They can give multiple times without a password and it all gets receipted and tracked under their email address.

Do donors need a password to give?

Nope! GivingTools features secure “passwordless” giving. So donors can give once or many times without a password. Their giving history is collected nonetheless, and they can access it by logging in at some point, should they choose.

How do donors see or cancel a gift?

Registered users are able to log in (givingtools.com/login) to cancel a recurring gift or view past gifts. If the user is not registered, you are able to cancel a recurring gift on their behalf by logging into your dashboard.

Can I export my data?

Yes, with a single click, you can export all your data an an Excel-compatible file. From there, you can run further reports, export data to other services...the sky’s the limit.

Do recurring donations have time limits or do they last until the user cancels the donation?

Our recurring giving appeals can be either set to have a period or to be endless. So, for a capital campaign pledge payable over, say, three years, you can do that. Or you can have a sustaining circle of supporters who give on an ongoing basis until they choose to stop.

How do I embed a GivingTools appeal in my web site?

All modern site authoring platforms support iframes. Simply take the responsive iframe code snippet generated by GivingTools for your giving page or giving form and drop it into your site. Here is some platform-specific information:
SquareSpace: https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/206543167
Weebly: http://hc.weebly.com/hc/en-us/articles/201740213
Wix: http://www.wix.com/app-market/html-iframe-embed/features
Wordpress: https://wordpress.org/plugins/code-snippets/
Muse: https://helpx.adobe.com/muse/using/embedding-videos-html-content.html#id_11124 embedding-videos-html-content.html#id_11124

What is PCI and what does it involve?

PCI stands for “Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard” and is a set of guidelines to ensure safe data practices. If you are bringing your own cards processing account to GivingTools, PCI is handled through that account. If you choose to opt for CardConnect cards processing, PCI is handled via CardConnect (through their vendor, Trustwave).

Once you are approved by CardConnect for cards processing, you are given a link to a “self-assessment questionnaire.” Answer that you are using GivingTools as an online shopping cart that is not hosted by you, and the process is simple...10 minutes.

If you want to use your CardConnect account (and low rates) beyond the GivingTools system, you can do that, too. Process credit cards using the CardConnect virtual terminal or even enjoy your low rates using an available physical terminal. Use your CardConnect account as you wish, but understand that broader use will make the self-assessment questionnaire take a little longer.

Does the system work overseas?

Yes, you can receive credit card donations from foreign donors. ACH transactions can only be made with funds drawn from a U.S. bank account, though.


How am I notified of a gift?

You (and any others you wish) receive a cc: of the donor receipt email. At that time, the donation will be logged in GivingTools and is accessible via the Reports section of your Dashboard.

When are our funds available to us?

It depends on you cards processor. For CardConnect customers, funds donated via debit and credit cards are settled to your banking account within two business days. Funds deposited via e-check/ACH are available in five business days.

What is ACH?

ACH stands for “Automated Clearing House.” It is a method of moving funds between banks that was created back in the 1970s. Overseen by the Federal Reserve Bank, ACH moves $43 trillion dollars every year.

While it is inexpensive to move funds via ACH, some unscrupulous online giving services charge up to 1% or more to move funds via this method. We think that is not very nice, and we’ve partnered with CardConnect to offer ACH for a flat 25¢ per payment.

ACH funds take five business days to move funds from the sender to the recipient, but if you are willing to wait, you enjoy big savings for the trouble.

What if an ACH payment bounces?

If a donor originates an ACH payment that is larger than the funds in their bank account, it is just like a bounced check. A fee of $8 is assessed by CardConnect, and the transaction fails.

How do I reconcile bank transactions to GivingTools activity?

GivingTools provides a comment on each transaction. From your processor, you can reference this comment to find the gift at GivingTools.

How are we billed? Monthly?

BYOP (Bring Your Own Processor) accounts are billed monthly on the date the account was initiated.

CardConnect accounts are billed on the second of the month for the prior month's activity. Your bank account will be debited for the monthly fee and processing fees at this time.

Are there any special fees I should be aware of?

Our service costs either $10 or $15 per month. Your cards processor can provide you with a fee schedule (that’s between you and them). Should you wish to have cards processing through CardConnect, the fees you can expect are:

Batch Fee
This would be the fee to batch your transactions each day. There is no batch fee with CardConnect.

Monthly Minimum
This is when a minimum volume of activity is not met. There is no monthly minimum with CardConnect.

ACH High Ticket Surcharge
This is a fee for e-Check/ACH transactions over $5,000. There is no high ticket surcharge with CardConnect.

On File Fee
This is a monthly fee to keep your account open. The $15 monthly fee you pay keeps your account open and also provides you with access to the GivingTools system. There is no ongoing fee in addition to this.

Return Charge Fee
CardConnect debits its fees on the second of each month. If CardConnect attempts to get its fees but there is not enough money in your account, the fee is $35.

Charge Back Fee
debited if a customer declares a debit was not authorized: $35.

PCI Non Compliance Fee
This one is entirely avoidable (See “How long does the PCI process take?”). By filling out your online questionnaire, you will be PCI compliant. If you fail to do that, after 90 days there is a PCI Non Compliance Fee of $39.95/month. Frankly, even with that fee, you’d still be paying less than the cost of most online giving services, but why pay it if you don’t have to?

Can my nonprofit use a savings account or must we use a checking account?

If you sign up for CardConnect, checking is no problem. A savings account is fine as long as CardConnect can debit its fees. Some savings accounts do not allow that, so you will need to confirm that ability with your bank if you wish to use a savings account.


Is support terrible?

While we do not make much on each customer, we provide support as if we did! You can expect rapid answers to any question, and we are happy to help set up your giving page or an appeal for you (free White Glove Service). We try to provide support via email first and escalate from there to conserve resources and offer low rates to as many worthy causes as possible. Even so, our reviews have often stressed how great our support is. We really try hard to help you use and enjoy GivingTools online giving.

How do I get tech support for a transaction question?

For cards processing questions, you would want to contact the processor. For CardConnect call: 877-828-0720 (8:30AM-9:00PM EST). Or, you can open a ticket directly in the CardPointe Merchant Portal under the Support tab.

More Help?

The Help section of your Dashboard includes useful information as well as links to downloadable manager and user guides as well as video tutorials. Lots of great information in that area.


Just email us at sales@givingtools.com and we’ll give you a concrete answer to any further questions you may have.

GivingTools makes online giving easy. But don't take our word for it...grab a demo account! Your demo account is prepopulated with all kinds of appeals. Change anything you wish. Add additional managers. View your giving page like a donor. You'll love it!

For a free, no-pressure demo account in seconds, click below!