- What is my givvlist?
- How do I create an account?
- What does it cost to use Givv.org?
- Is Givv.org a 501(c)3?
1. What is Givv.org?
Givv.org is a site that makes monthly giving easier. It does this by letting you set up a single monthly budget for all your giving and divide it up across as many recipient organizations as you want. This keeps you in control, is more flexible, and lets you give to more different organizations than you ever could on your own. You can give anonymously and in small amounts. Tax records are easy. And you can see what others are giving to, which can help you decide what to give to.
Giving is one of the very few things (along with relationships and experiences) that can give real meaning to your life. If you are not giving, your life is incomplete. We exist to make giving more powerful and easy.
People use Givv.org to give to important nonprofits, charities, churches, open source software projects, their alma mater, favorite podcasts, and more. It's automatic, it's easy, and it's free.
Givv.org was created to solve the problem of too many worthy nonprofits, not enough time. You support lots of ideas and organizations, but it's not realistic to give them all access to your credit cards for monthly pledges. Nor are you likely to keep escalating our donation amount every time you learn about a new cause worth supporting (you probably can't afford to!). But if you can set a budget, then allocate it easily...problem solved.
The theory being testing here is that people will give more freely, to more recipients, if it's easier to do. And it's public. Sites like Facebook and Twitter have shown us that there's a lot of benefit in putting yourself out there online. We think putting online the list of who you give money to (but not how much you're giving) helps you define and communicate exactly who you are, to other people. It can be a real conversation-starter. [top]
1a. What is my givvlist?
The givvlist is what we call the list of recipients you're giving to. You can add and remove items from your givvlist any time. Each month, your donation is processed and sent to all the recipients on your givvlist. So if you're watching TV and you see an ad for Amnesty International, it's a quick click to add them to your givvlist, and next month they'll get part of your donation. And if you get tired of giving to somebody, you can remove them and redistribute your donation equally among the remainders.
By managing your givvlist, you control where your donations go. It's that simple. [top]
1b. How do I create an account?
To get started on Givv.org, just select an organization and click the "Add to Givv" button next to their logo. You'll be walked through the process of getting set up. We do it this way because we want every new account on Givv.org to be a giver. No need to sign up until you're ready to give!
1c. What does it cost to use Givv.org?
Except for PayPal fees, there is no cost to use Givv.org. We don't charge a percentage of your donation. We don't take anything from your donation for ourselves. Recipients get every penny that you donate, minus the credit card (PayPal) fees that we get charged. And we try very hard to minimize those by aggregating payments, so that the maximum amount goes to the recipient (we even absorb some of the fees ourselves). Recipients each get a single PayPal payment each month.
Givv.org is free to use. You can choose to donate to keep it running, if you want, with the checkbox at the bottom of your givvlist. [top]
1d. Is Givv.org a 501(c)3?
Givv.org is not a 501(c)3. It's a web site that takes hooks up to PayPal and sends instructions. Think of it as a big giving machine. It's not run for profit, but it's not exactly a charity either. If we were a 501(c)3, then we would be a donor-advised fund and could only process donations for other 501(c)3s. We're more like Twitter or Meetup, basically we just send a bunch of e-mails (PayPal notices) around every month and make donations happen.
When you look at your transaction records, you can see which of the nonprofits you donated to throughout the year were 501(c)3s, and which were not. That helps you break everything down at tax time. [top]
2. Why Givv.org?
The only way to solve this problem, we think, is through a web site designed exactly like Givv.org. It needs to be automatic so you don't have to remember to do it. It needs to be easy to add and remove recipients so you get some benefit over just doing it yourself with charities individually.
We use PayPal because everybody can accept and use it, and it's safe and secure.
One great thing about our model is that by aggregating everybody's credit card payments, we can dramatically reduce the credit card fees involved in all this. It works by reducing the number of transactions overall (banks charge a flat fee per credit card transaction; by grouping all your transactions to all recipients in one transaction, and aggregating those with other people, everyone's costs go down). Your favorite charity doesn't get one thousand $1 checks, they get a single, $1,000 check. That makes it easier and less costly for them to do fundraising.
We let you add anyone to your list - they don't have to be 501(c)3s or even companies. You can send $10 a month to your niece in college, for example -- you just need to know her email address. Sure, you can do that through PayPal, but you can't manage it as well. We want people to give freely to whomever. We try not to judge or censor who can give to whom. Let's just start givving!
2a. What are all those numbers next to the recipients' names?
Next to every recipient you can see how many people are giving to them through Givv.org, and also how much (in dollars) they're currently being given. This number includes you, if it shows "Currently giving" underneath it. [top]
3. Is this site safe?
In a word, yeah. We use PayPal and they keep all the credit card info on their side. All we do is send them instructions on who you should pay. You don't share any personal information with us that you don't want to, and all the sensitive stuff is stored at PayPal anyway. [top]
4. Do I have to let people know what I'm giving?
No, but public giving is part of what Givv is about. Everybody can see how many people are giving to any recipient, and how much that recipient is getting. You can control whether you show your real name, the dollar amount you're giving, and your givvlist. But the amount you're giving is added (anonymously) into the totals for the recipients on your givvlist.
Having said all that, we hope you decide to open your profile and share it with the world. [top]
5. Can I really add anyone to my givvlist?
Yes, anyone. We'll get in touch with you if we can't locate who you're trying to send money to. Otherwise, our moderators will get your recipients set up and they'll start receiving your donation automatically. [top]
6. Does 100% of my donation go to the recipients?
Not quite. PayPal takes a cut. But we don't (unless you check the box that says, "Support Givv.org with 1% of my donation"). Let's say you send $100 to Givv.org to send to 10 different recipients. After PayPal, we get about $97. That means each of your ten recipients gets $9.70.
But through aggregation of all givvers' donations, we can lower the costs for everyone. Transaction costs add up quickly when everyone gives on their own. But when you give through Givv.org, your donation is pooled (with everyone else's) into one transaction per recipient. This means lower transaction costs for the nonprofits. [top]
7. How does Givv.org make money?
Everyone Givvs, Inc. is a Texas non-profit corporation (not a 501(c)3). We don't charge any user fees - we're supported by voluntary donations. That little checkbox at the bottom of your givvlist is how you can chip in to keep this going.
All donations go towards running the servers, feeding the developers, and making Givv.org better! [top]
8. Do I get tax records?
Of course. Every year we send you a report, or any time you want you can download your complete history. We don't tell you what's tax-deductible or not though, because frankly that's complex and you should check with your tax advisor or the recipients themselves. [top]
9. What if I want to donate something else (time, a car, etc.) instead of money?
We only take credit card donations for now. You could sell the thing on eBay or Craigslist and donate the proceeds though! [top]
10. Can I give anonymously through Givv.org?
Yes. Right now we only give the recipient your Givv.org ID when they want to see who the donation came from. If you hide your personal details, your recipients won't be able to see them either. It's all-or-nothing though; you can't be anonymous to just one recipient but not others, unless you set up multiple Givv.org profiles. And of course your details, once public, are public to other Givv.org users also. Quid pro quo. [top]
11. What if a recipient requires that I identify myself, such as with U.S. political campaign contributions?
Those recipients will automatically be flagged once they notify us -- and you'll get an email from us taking you to a page to fill in more information, as requested by the recipient. If you don't provide the info, the money you sent that recipient will be refunded to your givvlist. [top]
12. When I tried to update my givv amount, I got this error on the givvlist page:
Sometimes errors occur during updates to your PayPal info. We are working hard to make this payment flow smoother, but in the meantime, here are some errors and what they might mean.
ERROR: The time of the update is too close to the billing date
You can only update your givv amount if there are 3 days left in the month or more. Otherwise your change will go through next month.
ERROR: The profile status is invalid.
13. When I agreed to the PayPal recurring payment agreement, the day/time that was specified did not match the day/time listed on Givv.org
That happens sometimes. It usually gets sorted out soon enough. We process donations on the last day of the month, and have all the payments sent by the 5th of the following month. [top]
14. How can I cancel my monthly givv amount?
Either click the Cancel button, or set your givv amount to zero and complete the transaction through PayPal. Or suspend your givvlist, if you'd rather keep it and restart your donations later. [top]
15. What if I don't have enough money in my PayPal account?
That is between you and PayPal. Usually, PayPal will deduct funds from your secondary account (like a bank account.) We only get notified if the payment goes through. Of course, all the important organizations you support won't get their monthly donation, if your PayPal account doesn't work. [top]
16. How much should I give?
That is the deepest question of all. Ancient religious thinkers, modern philosophers, and psychologists all point to giving as a path to human happiness. But how much to give is a personal question. Might we humbly suggest that every human being should strive to give away 10% of what he or she earns? Then, if you invest another 10%, it leaves you 80% to live your much happier life on. This is a tall order for many of us in the modern world. But it's a goal worth reaching for, wouldn't you agree?
Think of your giving as a way to shape your world. We can't always rely on government to fix social problems and think about our future. We need to take some of it on ourselves. By giving money to organizations that are trying to make the world better, we can each use our own productivity to play a part in making sure it gets that way. [top]