The Case for Give

I'm writing this piece as a plea to all the friends, organizations, churches, and individuals I know who are only able to pay their bills by the goodwill of others primarily through online donations. If you are on WordPress and doing donations, stop everything and use Give.

You might know me from church, or from academia. You might only know me from within the world of WordPress. What you might not know is how both of those worlds have collided in such a wonderful way in my current vocation. I’m now a partner, co-author, and Head of Support and Community Outreach at GiveWP.com. Give is a WordPress plugin designed for one thing: to empower you to get more donations on your WordPress website.

Over the past few years, I’ve been on a very personal journey from changing my aspirations of being a University Professor, to … something else. I didn’t really have a plan or a vision for what that “something else” was. I just knew that Professorship wasn’t for me for a wide variety of reasons that took a long time to become real for me.

I didn’t plan to become a partner at our company. It kinda just happened. But as I look back I realize that it’s a better fit than I could have imagined, primarily because it allows me to synthesize a couple important things for me:

  1. Personal coaching/teaching/training as a supervisor and a support technician
  2. Empowering GOOD in the world through our platform
  3. Having insight into what works and what doesn’t in the world of funding nonprofit organizations.

These things have become skills that I have that I find increasingly valuable and beneficial, and I’m writing this letter today to share just the tip of the iceberg with you.

Many readers of my site come from faith-based organizations or NGO’s. This post today is for you.

I want to make you aware of the resource you have in me regarding online fundraising. You run a WordPress site for your nonprofit organizations. I run a business that specializes in Online Giving with WordPress. It’s kinda perfect because I love what you are doing and want the best for you and I happen to have a lot to offer in the realm of online donations.

My company built the Give Donation Plugin for WordPress. We recently pushed out version 1.7 which means we’ve had 30+ releases for this platform. Currently, Give is powering over 20,000 websites worldwide and helping nonprofits raise millions of dollars a month. It is not a young and fragile platform. It is robust, stable, reliable, and valuable.

The reason why this matters for you is because we built it with YOUR best interests in mind. We are one of the only platforms in which you can take donations and pay ONLY the credit cards fees. Every other platform is going to charge you the credit card fees PLUS their own fee on top. Let’s take a few examples:

  • Crowdrise — The per transaction platform fee is 5.9% + credit card fees of 2.9%+$0.30.
    That means that you’ll pay an additional 5.9% for EVERY donation with Crowdrise instead of with Give. If you raised $10,000 with Give, you’d get $590 more than you would with Crowdrise.
  • GoFundMe — Charity Campaigns = 5% GoFundMe Platform + 2.9% + $0.30 Payment Processing = 7.9% + $0.30.
    That means you’ll pay 5% per donation more with GoFundMe than with Give. If you raised $10,000 with an average of 200 donors, you’d make $506 more with Give than with GoFundMe.
  • Classy — They don’t even tell you upfront what they’ll charge you. You can expect that for smaller nonprofits it will be at least the same as Crowdrise or GoFundMe or MORE. They reduce their fees for larger nonprofits, but they can never reduce their fees to ZERO and have you pay only the credit card fees.

We go into a bit more detail about this whole point in this article here on Demystifying Donation Platform Fees.

How Does Give Get Away with ZERO Fees?

Give is not a hosted solution like these other platforms. They are servicing your donations over their server, which has its own costs. They can’t provide their service to you for free, that’s why they take the credit card fees, then add their own fee on top. If we built such a service, we’d have to add fees on top as well, it’s just the nature of that type of service.

This means they are like a middle-man. They stand in between you and the payment processor — the company that does the actual online donation (think PayPal, or Authorize.net, or Stripe).

Give — on the other hand — does not host your donations like these services do. Instead, you host your donations yourself with WordPress. This empowers you to be your own donation platform. We cut out the middle-man completely. Now you have a direct relationship with your payment processor, and the only fee you pay is with them.

Does Give Have Other Benefits?

Yes! When you work with an online donation system like the ones listed above, you are effectively sharing all of your donation data with them. They store all the information about your donors. They are co-owners of that information.

Let’s take an example. Take a careful read at GoFundMe’s “Terms of Use” statement (underline’s mine):

User Content Transmitted Through the Services: With respect to the content, photos, videos, images, trademarks, logos, brands or other materials you upload or post through the Services or share with other users or recipients (collectively, “User Content”), you represent and warrant that you own all right, title and interest in and to, or otherwise have all necessary rights and consents to (and to allow others to) fully exploit, such User Content, including, without limitation, as it concerns all copyrights, trademark rights and rights of publicity or privacy related thereto. By uploading any User Content you hereby grant and will grant GoFundMe and its affiliated companies a nonexclusive, worldwide, royalty free, fully paid up, transferable, sublicensable, perpetual, irrevocable license to copy, display, upload, perform, distribute, store, modify and otherwise use your User Content in connection with the operation of the Services or the promotion, advertising or marketing thereof, in any form, medium or technology now known or later developed. Without limiting the foregoing, if any User Content contains your name, image or likeness, you hereby release and hold harmless GoFundMe and its contractors and employees, from (i) all claims for invasion of privacy, publicity or libel, (ii) any liability or other claims by virtue of any blurring, distortion, alteration, optical illusion, or other use or exploitation of your name, image or likeness, and (iii) any liability for claims made by you (or any successor to any claim you might bring) in connection with your User Content, name, image or likeness. You waive any right to inspect or approve any intermediary version(s) or finished version(s) of the results of the use of your User Content (including your name, image or likeness).

Now, this is what many would call a “standard agreement“. There’s nothing out of the ordinary here in terms of usage. Many people would take this for granted and simply say: “Of course. They are providing this service, so they have the rights to do what they want with the material provided by their service.” And they’re right about that. But that is the choice you make when you choose a third-party platform. By choosing a third-party platform, you choose to allow your donors’ information to be shared with, and used by strangers.

By choosing a third-party platform, you choose to allow your donors’ information to be shared with and used by strangers.

That is not the case with Give. Give is an Open Source WordPress plugin. Just saying that alone means a lot of things. For example:

  1. Because Give is Open Source, as soon as you install it on your website you own the code. Not us.
  2. Because Give is a WordPress plugin, publicly shared on wordpress.org, Give has to abide by some guidelines. The most important of which is that we are never allowed to “call home”, meaning send data from your website to our website without your prior consent. See #7 here.

You see, the tagline or motto of Give is “Democratizing Generosity.” That’s a really important principle to us. We believe that nonprofit organizations should be empowered and enabled to have a direct one-to-one relationship with their donors without a middle-man. That is democratization. When you own the code you use, and no one else can peek into your data without your consent, you and your donors are safe and empowered.

That’s what Give does for you. That’s what Give does that no third-party platform can ever provide — freedom. Democratization.

There’s tons of other benefits that Give offers besides the obvious ones that distinguish it from third-party platforms. Reports, donor management, being developer-friendly, coded with WordPress best practices. But I wrote this with the intention to make it really, REALLY clear that when I see you choosing third-party platforms, it makes my heart hurt. Literally. Honestly, there are other WordPress plugins that will help you get the job done as well, and I’d MUCH prefer you use them instead of these services as well. I’m so sad and bummed when I see good, well-meaning small nonprofits who are running on WordPress and using PayPal choose a third-party solution. It’s just a waste.

I’m Biased, and That’s Ok

Look. I’m a partner in the company, and a co-author of the plugin. I’m Head of Support, and my family is fed and clothed by the revenue. I’m as biased a source as it gets. But that’s ok; because I know everything there is to know about this platform. I know exactly why we built it, I know the alternatives, I know the really good and well-built competitors. I know you have options and Give is just one of them.

But I also know that I want the best for you. When I started my career with WordImpress, I had nonprofits like yours in mind. I wanted to be part of something that held your best interests as a high priority. The amazing part is, two years into it, I believe we did it. I really believe in this platform because of how it empowers YOU and what you do.

Take my perspective; compare with our 145 5-star reviews; compare it with the Privacy Policies and Terms of Conditions of the other platforms; and let me know your thoughts in the comments. I promise to respond with integrity and truthfulness. Give isn’t perfect, but it’s probably the best thing you could do for your nonprofit’s WordPress website today.


Get as many single Give Add-ons as you like (Bundles excluded) for 15% off with this coupon code:

FriendofMatts

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0The Case for Give by Matt Cromwell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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