Questions for Charities

Are you a charity organization? Find FAQs for donors

Charity Registration

How does DonateSmarter review the charities on its site?

We do our level best to make sure you are fully compliant with registration and disclosure requirements of your home state. Once your information has been verified you'll be "live" - This usually takes 24 hrs.

How do I register my charity?

1. From the home page DonateSmarter.com click on "SIGN UP" in the upper right. That will take you through the Charity Login process.

A charity registering for the first time will click on "Register Now".

2. Enter all the basic charity and contact information and your charity and charity user account will be created...

You should see the following message:
"Registration Successful"
"Hi, Welcome to DonateSmarter."

Please make sure to keep your password in a safe place. If you want to add additional users and grant them access to your site, you can do so from your dashboard. After you log in for the first time, you can go to your charity dashboard and complete your registration and add a profile picture, projects etc...

After I register, how do I access my account?

Charities and Donors access their secure "Dashboard" by logging in at the home page with their User ID and Password AND selecting DONOR or CHARITY from the drop down.

You can't be logged in on DonateSmarter as a Donor and a Charity at the same time.

Can I add additional users to my charity account?

Yes. You can add additional users from your dashboard page after you register.

Scope of work

What is the scope of work?

The scope of work details the charity's projects. The same questions are answered by every charity each time they create a project.
This allows donors and sponsors to compare "apples to apples" across different projects. Complete the scope of work carefully to give donors a clear insight in to the plans of the charity and compare projects and evaluate your performance.
The granular detail disclosed in the scope of work gives credibility to the project and the charity workers who carry it through to completion. Completed projects become a dynamic "portfolio of charity performance" used in grant applications and sponsorship consideration.

Transaction Fees

What are the transaction fees for each donation?

We are glad you asked!!
There are two fees charged for each donation.
- DonateSmarter charges .15 per transaction which goes toward our Always Give Back crowd funding effort and is paid out at least annually to charities in our community at the discretion of our admin.
- Transaction processor charges:
Pay Pal charges: .05+5% up to $9.00 (micro donations) & .30+2.2% above $9.00 (Macro donations).
OR
Dwolla charges: free (yep, free... Because you are a charity and that's a beautiful thing! )
(DonateSmarter charities give their donors a choice in order to save them money. Each donor selects either PayPal or Dwolla to process their transaction just prior to checkout. These fees are available only to non profits and are subject to change without notice).

Who pays these transaction fees?

Typically in the industry the charity pays the transaction fee out of the donation amount. However, to maximize the donation to the charity, DonateSmarter charities give their donors the option of:
1. Selecting the least expensive processor (PayPal or Dwolla).
2. Increasing their donation by the approximate amount of the calculated fee for their particular donation.

What is DonateSmarter?

How does a DonateSmarter.COM fundraiser work?

DonateSmarter.com is a showcase connecting charities with donors via the internet.

With DoanteSmarter, charities show off their projects to the world and donors can anonymously review, interact and donate in complete security.

Donations are geographically anonymous so charities are not required to be registered in that particular state. This saves the charity the time and hidden costs necessary to manage multi-state registrations.

We are already using other fundraising programs. Can we add DonateSmarter?

Yes. Since DonateSmarter is project specific, it compliments many companies' existing fundraising efforts. It also provides an attractive sponsorship opportunity for larger sponsors and foundations because of its high quality content and powerful connection to the general public.

DonateSmarter coordinates your PayPal and Dwolla accounts to insure that your processing fees are the lowest available and State and Federal compliance is not compromised.

Charities use the DonateSmarter payment button code generator to make a custom payment button HTML code and post it on their other sites to make sure they are processing all their donations as efficiently as possible and avoiding the multi-state registration and disclosure compliance issues.

Is there a fee for posting a project on DonateSmarter?

No there is no fee to register your charity and post a project on IM2TO.

However, by registering the charity agrees to pay .15 (15 cents) for every donation made to projects into our crowd funding effort Always Give Back

(That's less than the cost to mail a postcard!)

These funds are paid out to charities in our community at least annually.

My project needs materials (computers, school supplies, etc.) can you help

No, DonateSmarter handle direct donation of material to projects. However, you can raise funds to purchase specific items as part of a project for your charity.

What is a "Good Works Project"?

Can DonateSmarter remove my project once it has been posted?

Yes, projects can be removed if they do not comply with our reporting requirements or our violate our terms of use.

We suggest that projects update regularly or at predetermined milestones depending on the type of project. .
See the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Is there a limit to how much money I can request for any project?

No, there are no restrictions on funds raised. The system is based on micro donations (less than $9.00) and geared toward "Pocket Change Donations" from many, many individuals across the country and maybe around the world.

Projects with budgets larger than $100,000 may want to consider a stepwise approach to their overall goal. Four $25,000.00 fundraising events held in succession would allow for four times as much success and more success means more donor excitement!

Either way, all projects are asked to provide extremely detailed budgetary information in their scope of work

DonateSmarter recommends that you structure your projects with incremental goals to allow your charity to build success and momentum among the donor pool.

We foster the behavior of individuals who always give back by inviting them to make a difference... "The change in your pocket can change a life".

Build trust with your Donors by allowing them to participate in the incremental success of your organization.

What are project updates and are they important?

Regular compelling updates are the life blood of the project!!!



Donors feel that same sense of accomplishment vicariously through your words and pictures. Updates are evidence that you are putting the donors' money to work and accomplishing what you pledged to accomplish in your scope of work and application.

Getting Started

How do I post a project on DonateSmarter?

Log on to DonateSmarter.com and register your charity. Then start uploading your organization information:
- IRS designation letter,
- State registrations,
- 990 form, if you like.

and Good Works Project information
- Scope of work,
- Project photos,
- Video clips (YouTube location).

We'll put your Charity page and Project(s) page on line as soon as we review your credentials and verify your PayPal and Dwolla accounts.

Email us and we can set a time to assist you over the phone david@DonateSmarter.com

My Charity doesn't have a PayPal or Dwolla account. Can you help me get set up?

Yes, it's easy to do and DonateSmarter will be happy to assist you in person over the phone or by video tutorial available on the site.

As you register we will compile your basic information (name, address, charity name. contact number, causes etc.) in an email which we will forward to PayPal.

You'll receive all the individual attention you need when setting up your PayPal accounts. Just start registering and click "we can help". Real live people will send your information to PayPal merchant services department to expedite the process for you. A representative from PayPal will contact you by email to help you from there!

You will need two PayPal accounts "One Nonprofit Charity Merchant Account with Micro and one with Macro transaction capability" (you may already have the standard macro account but we will coordinate everything to make sure you are paying the lowest PayPal transaction fees possible (.30+2.2%/transaction over $9.00 and .05+ 5%/ transaction under).

You may need to fax or email a copy of a voided check from the charity fundraising bank account directly to Compliance@PayPal.com at PayPal after they contact you to establish your PayPal accounts.
This is the account PayPal will forward donations to.

Dwolla.com is fully automated so registration is a breeze. You can watch the step by step video by clicking on the tutorials button on your dashboard

What information do I need to set up my Pay Pal accounts for DonateSmarter?

If your charity already has a PayPal account you will just need to set up the micro account. Just enter a different email address than the one associated with your charity's macro Pay Pal account in the "financial information" section of the DonateSmarter registration process.

If your Charity doesn't have a Pay Pal account, you will be setting up a "Non-Profit Charity Merchant Account" to receive Micro transactions (less that $9.00) and Macro transactions (more that $9.00) through Pay Pal.
Before you email David (david@DonateSmarter.com) you will want to have the following items printed up and ready to fax or saved as PDF files and ready to upload directly to PayPal.
- a voided check from the charity's bank account.
- your charity's TIN (Tax Identification Number) or EIN (Employer Identification Number)


You'll complete the set up process through the financial information section of your DonateSmarter charity dashboard by using the emails you used to establish your Pay Pal accounts.

How does DonateSmarter work?

Can I post more than one project at a time? How?

Yes, you can post multiple projects at a time. We call them "Good Works Projects" or GWP's. And each GWP can run a single fundraiser event at a time.

Once I have posted a project how do I receive the donations? When?

Once your charity has been approved by DonateSmarter, the donations flow immediately!

(donations are processed by PayPal and Dwolla so donated funds flow directly from the donor to your Charity's PayPal or Dwolla account. DonateSmarter never touches donated funds)

What happens if a project receives more funding than it requests?

We have never heard of a charity that can't use the money it receives. The goal of each project and amount it has raised are clearly listed on each project page. So, a project will be "completed" as soon as it reaches its goal amount.

A particular Good Works Project may run successive events to reach its ongoing financial goals as disclosed in its scope of work for that project.

If the demand for a charity's events is high, the charity can register a successive event to open in order to capture the demand.

How is DonateSmarter Funded?

DonateSmarter is free for charities and individual donors to use.

We sell licenses to organizations that choose to support multiple charities on their own corporate website using our system and update fees for multiple and single project sponsors.

Charities can qualify for decreasing percentage to their charities when they offer customized a sponsorship. We also offer coaching to charities to teach them to maximize their use of DonateSmarter.

Charities pay .15 per transaction (less than the cost of a stamp) into Always Give Back, our community fund for using the DonateSmarter system. The Always Give Back fund is paid out to charities within our community at the discretion of DonateSmarter admin at least annually.

Transaction receipts

With DonateSmarter what does the charity provide to the donor ?

DonateSmarter donors receive an IRS compliant acknowledgement of their donation direct from the processor and a state compliant donation disclosure and acknowledgement from DonateSmarter at the time of the transaction.

Donors can also print a report showing their donation activity for the year right from their donor dashboard.

Information Disclosure

Can DonateSmarter help my charity's Transparancy and Accountability?

That's exactly what we do!!!
Just follow the registration prompts and we'll help you figure out if you're properly registered and we'll coordinate all your disclosures too.

Transparency is an obligation or willingness by a charity to publish and make available critical data about the organization.
Accountability is an obligation or willingness by a charity to explain its actions.
DonateSmarter maximizes the charity's ability to do both WHILE SAVING THOUSANDS of DOLLARS and HUNDREDS of MAN-HOURS.
Charities that are accountable and transparent are more likely to act with integrity because they want donors to know that they're trustworthy.

Posting Video

How do I post my project's event video?

It's easy to post a video for your fundraising event! Videos show the latest information about your project so it makes sense that we focus on them to advertise your project. Follow these steps to upload a video:

1. Upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo and copy the Share link
2. Login to your charity dashboard
3. at My Projects select your fundraising event
4. Insert the video share link in the box marked video
6. Select Upload Video

Hit "Save" at the bottom of the project page.

Why use DonateSmarter?

Why not just do what we've been doing?

By all means accept donations directly, just be aware of what that means!

Soliciting donations directly via your charity's website or by any means that reveals your donor's location, makes your charity (and board members) "reasonably responsible" for properly registering in that state where any donation was solicited. Some states require registration PRIOR to solicitation.

Charity registration in any state costs time and money (even if you are exempt from state fees) that your charity would otherwise be able to put toward its cause.

The solicitation laws differ from State to State but one thing is clear, if the charity knows what state a donation originated from, they "must be registered to solicit in that state".

A better question might be "Why not accept donations through DonateSmarter?"
1). DonateSmarter coordinates your charity's transaction processing accounts.
(DonateSmarter software automatically sends each donation to be processed by the most cost effective account your charity has, based on the donation size... PayPal expects you to do that on your own and makes extra money when you don't!)
2). DonateSmarter allows donors to choose who processes their donation and therefore how much it costs.
3). DonateSmarter donors know all fees up front and can select "pick up the fee" prior to checkout.
4). DonateSmarter allows charities & donors to communicate directly with video and text while preserving their anonymity.


All this may sound like semantics but it translates into empowering donors and saving charities a lot of money so they can put the donation to work more efficiently!

What do I get for my .15?

Great question... We're glad you asked!

Our goal is to help charities build relationships with the people who truly care about the success of the project, and update them every step of the way - while still costing less than the price of a stamp :)

DonateSmarter charges just .15 per donation for crowd funding effort Always Give Back, on top of the standard processing fees charged by its third party transaction processors: PayPal & Dwolla.

For just .15, DonateSmarter allows donors and charities to directly connect with each other in a way that PayPal, Dwolla and your charity website cannot...

Features like, disclosing the transaction fees to donors up front, empowering donors by allowing them to choose how they process their transaction via Dwolla or PayPal and allowing your donor to pick up the charge for the transaction fee are all great cost saving measures for the charity. Those savings really add up.

DonateSmarter empowers charities to reach out and say "Thank You. Your donation truly has made a difference - and here's how..." with video, text and photo updates sent directly to each donor for the life of the project, while saving your charity the cost of stamps and mailings in the process.(average saving of .29 per mailing - that adds up too!)

We don't compete with your current fundraising efforts... We compliment them. We help you add transparency and security so your donor knows where their donation went and exactly how it was used throughout the project. And we keep you clear of multi state registration and disclosure requirements and the costs that go along with them.

Please feel free to call. We'd love to help your project and we'll be happy to answer any further questions you may have.

Adding Charity or Project Page

How do I add a profile picture for other administrators or project managers?

The user must set their profile picture, then any charity admin type can change the actual manager.

So for example, you have David (charity admin) and Mary (manager).

Mary must set her picture in her profile. Then David can assign Mary as project manager and Poof! Mary's picture will show up on that project and she'll be able to enter details and video for that project's updates. When you set a project manager, it pulls all the data from the charity team member's account.

PCI Compliance

I'm concerned about PCI compliance

You should be! PCI Compliance exposure is a serious matter. That's why we let the Big Boys of the industry handle it...and you should too! PAYPAL and DWOLLA handle all your donors' sensitive information so you don't have to worry about (or pay extra) protecting it and neither do they.

What is PCI Compliance?

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a proprietary information security standard for organizations that handle cardholder information for the major debit, credit, prepaid, e-purse, ATM, and POS cards. If you touch the records you are responsible for making sure they don't fall into the wrong hands... That's expensive, but not doing it is even worse!

What is the "Always Give Back fund"?

What is Always Give Back

Always Give Back is a community fund created by the .15 per donation all charities are asked to pay for using DonateSmarter.com. At least annually (and more frequently as the volume grows on the site) DonateSmarter will always give back these funds by putting them to use in the DonateSmarter community.

"Donate Now" buttons ?

Why syncronize all my Donation buttons with DonateSmarter?

Why synchronize all my “Donate Now” buttons with DonateSmarter?

- Begins your donor development system in a no cost, high touch, highly personalized manner.
- Allows donor to direct donations of any size to single project. Charity receives funds instantly.
- Empowers donors with transfer options. PayPal (fee) or Dwolla (free).
- Illustrates and educates donor of the hidden costs of donation so they can DonateSmarter (get it?).
- Engages donor with Donor Impact Tracking system to reward promoting your project.
- Engages donor with Pledge of Support system to reward promoting your project as they "walk and talk".
- Eliminates risk of enforcement for foreign entity noncompliance...(This is a very big issue!)
- Eliminates multi state registration and reporting requirements and associated costs.
- Eliminate PCI compliance risks – We use PayPal and Dwolla – Let them handle it!
- Coordinates the lowest PayPal fee – We direct donations to the most cost effective account – PayPal doesn’t do that...
- Allows donors to “pick up the fee” if they choose – 80% do.
- Customizes compliance of all future donor contact (IRS receipts, State disclosure &updates).

Maybe a better question to ask is... Why wouldn’t you?

How do I sysncronize my Donations through DonateSmarter?

It's easy!
You can add a donation button for your "general fund" from the Charity details tab or for a specific project by selecting a specific project. Once you've logged in.
1. In the Charity details tab or "project statistics" section, select "Add a Donate Now Button"
A pop up labeled: GENERATE A CUSTOM "DONATE NOW" BUTTON FOR YOUR WEBSITE will open.
2. Customize the color of your button to compliment your website and select it from the drop down menu. (You can view it in the image preview to see if you like it)
3. Copy the code from the "Website Code" display and paste it in an email to your Website Manager (or if you happen to be the website manager...) insert it in the proper location of your website's code!

Voila!
Now all your supporters can DonateSmarter!

Why do I need to have multiple projects that I update regularly on DonateSmarter vs. one general fund project?

Charities are encouraged to create and maintain multiple projects that illustrate their needs. Vital projects, described in vibrant detail and updated regularly, give Donors more opportunity to identify and connect with projects that are their "best fit". Donors who "connect" with your efforts will trust you and will create a ever increasing impact on your cause.

Yes, it calls for greater attention to detail and more creativity than required by average fundraising and promotion systems. But you can't afford to be average and you're sure not looking for average donors!

Donors are looking to you as their means to make an impact and change the world. Give them multiple, a above average opportunities to invest in you and your projects and they will rise to the occasion.

Why assign "General Fund status" to a live project?

Be honest, with all the other demands on our time, we take the path of least resistance.... Post a "general fund" project on a few sites... get busy with the demands of daily life and forget to update any of them (not you of course) and yet occasionally, there are donors who can't choose and want to support "the whole charity" rather than picking a project. Bless them! So, that's why we let you have assign "general fund" status where ever you want it but make you maintain "live" detailed projects.

If you continue to do what you've always done, you'll never be more than you are today.

The key is "LIVE". Think about it...

General Fund

Why must I have multiple projects/ Why not 1 general fund?

The “General fund” creates interesting behavioral and legal problems ….

If we allow just a “General Fund”, charities are less likely to post and maintain specific projects (even less likely to post and maintain multiple projects).

This “General Fund behavior” results in less detailed granular information being shard, which we believe means less opportunity for people (and corporate sponsors) to identify personally with a project. And corporate sponsors support the entire charity and can choose to brand each specific project if they like.

That said, our solution to the problem is unique.

We assign a General Fund Status to the first project; the status can be reassigned by the charity while running multiple projects by clicking on the general fund link on their charity dashboard and will default to last existing project.

If a charity has no live projects, their charity and projects are no longer visible. Yet the connection to their deposit accounts at Dwolla and PayPal remain open on the system to allow additional funds to collect in their non-visible general fund account (the assigned account or last live account) so DonateSmarter doesn’t have to deal with “orphaned funds”.

Charities are encouraged to create and maintain multiple projects. They can maximize the incentives with 3 simultaneous projects. (see the fee scale displayed on the Charity Tab of your charity dashboard)

How does my General Fund work?

The “General fund” creates interesting behavioral and legal problems ….

If we allow just a “General Fund”, charities are less likely to post and maintain specific projects (even less likely to post and maintain multiple projects).

This “General Fund behavior” results in less detailed granular information being shard, which we believe means less opportunity for people (and corporate sponsors) to identify personally with a project. And corporate sponsors support the entire charity and can choose to brand each specific project if they like.

That said, our solution to the problem is unique.

We assign a General Fund Status to the first project; the status can be reassigned by the charity while running multiple projects by clicking on the general fund link on their charity dashboard and will default to last existing project.

If a charity has no live projects, their charity and projects are no longer visible. Yet the connection to their deposit accounts at Dwolla and PayPal remain open on the system to allow additional funds to collect in their non-visible general fund account (the assigned account or last live account) so DonateSmarter doesn’t have to deal with “orphaned funds”.

Charities are encouraged to create and maintain multiple projects. They can maximize the incentives with 3 simultaneous projects. (see the fee scale displayed on the Charity Tab of your charity dashboard)

How do I Get Started?

How to donate?

Please use the Donate Now button, with will open a popup.

How to register?

Please use the Sign Up button, and fill up all required fields. Thank you

What does Verified mean?

What does verified mean?

Verified means a charity has been vetted by DonateSmarter and proven they meet or exceed federal and state compliance and transparency requirements. It also means they pledge to put your donation directly to work on the project you've supported and to keep you updated through the life of the project.

How do I get my charity Verfied by DonateSmarter?

You must Log in to DonateSmarter and complete the registration. and at least one project to have your charity reviewed. You can reach out to us for help at any time but you will be contacted by DonateSmarter within 24 hours to set up a skype or conference call to find out more about your charity and help you with any questions you may have.

Why do I need to be Verified on DonateSmarter

If your charity doesn't file a 990, DonateSmarter will get you there quicker and more efficiently. So called "small charities" with less than $100,000 annual income have the odds stacked against them. DonateSmarter is designed to help all charities present their business and projects clearly and effectively so donors and corporate sponsors can "shop" for and invest in the causes and organizations they like the best with less work and less worry.

they can trust you because we've reviewed all your credentials (990, financials, insurance, business registration , State charity registration etc.) By the time your charity is Verified. we've spoken with you and your team several times. We've reviewed your past accomplishments and discussed your future goals and we've made sure you document it clearly with photographs and videos.

Nobody else does that for free. So no other review is honestly tied to and invested your success.

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