Frequently asked Questions for:
A general overview of GiveNow
What is GiveNow?
GiveNow is Australia’s only free online donations solution for community organisations. It is offered free to any registered community group in Australia, regardless of size, purpose or tax status – as long as they meet state fundraising requirements.
Community groups register with GiveNow and donors can donate directly to the community group of their choice. GiveNow charges no commissions or fees. We pass on 100% of the donation to the nominated group with the only fee being the credit card merchant fees.
GiveNow is an initiative of the Our Community Foundation, a not-for-profit program established through the generous financial support of Our Community
. Our Community is a privately held enterprise that provides a number of business and community services, some of them free, some of them paid, many of them discounted for community organisations.
This commission-free online donations service is part of Our Community’s mission to democratise giving in Australia – ensuring that even the smallest community groups have the same access to safe, secure online donations technology as the largest groups. It is our belief that these small, grassroots community groups are every bit as important to community life as the larger ones. Australian community organisations are the back-bone of our society and deserve to be supported with professional and accessible services.
How much does it cost to use GiveNow?
Nothing! We are proud to offer a service completely free of charge for both donors and community organisations. Our commission-free model ensures that all of the money donated goes directly to the cause. This model is what sets GiveNow apart from other donations services, which charge 5-10% in addition to credit card merchant fees.
The only fees involved are those charged by the credit card merchants. We have negotiated a reduced charge for the major credit card companies – this fee sits at .99% for Visa and Mastercard and 1.43% for Amex. If you make a donation via direct debit, absolutely no fee is involved whatsoever.
Who’s behind GiveNow?
As we noted above, GiveNow is an initiative of the Our Community Foundation, a not-for-profit program established through the financial support of Our Community
Some of the profits from the operation of the Our Community enterprise have been used to establish the Our Community Foundation, a principal activity of which is the operation of the GiveNow website.
GiveNow is an initiative of the Our Community Foundation, a not-for-profit program established through the generous financial support of Our Community
. Find out more about Our Community here:http://www.ourcommunity.com.au/aboutus
How long has GiveNow been operating?
GiveNow was launched in March 2000 as the Australian Giving Centre, housed on the Our Community website at www.ourcommunity.com.au
At this point in history, just before the tech boom, only a tiny number of Australian community organisations had even contemplated setting up an online donations facility.
Since its very beginnings, GiveNow has offered access to a commission-free online donations service to any community group in Australia, regardless of size or purpose or tax status.
We have since raised more than $56million for community organisations across Australia (see the homepage for an up to date total), with over one hundred thousand people using this service to make a donation.
The service was renamed GiveNow in 2009.
What services are provided at GiveNow?
We’re adding things to the site daily so the best way to find out what’s available at GiveNow is to explore the site.
But as a quick rundown:
- Online Donations: Invaluable for donors and community organisations alike – our core activity is to allow Australians to donate to their favourite community group. Donors can find a cause that speaks to them by searching by name, location or interest area. There are over 4,000 listed causes on our site, spanning every possible interest area and located in every corner of Australia. We process one-off donations or regular donations, by credit card or by direct debit. It’s important to note that GiveNow is entirely commission-free.
- Personalised giving: Donors can create a ‘My Giving’ account at GiveNow to keep a record of donations throughout the year and from year to year. GiveNow is the only place in Australia where donors can track donations to any number of causes in this way.
- Making tax time easier: We keep track of your donations and send donors a tax record at the end of every financial year, making tax time a breeze.
- Real time donor information: For community organisations, we have created “SmartyFile”, an online portal which allows organisations to view their donor data, update cause details and view all donations in real-time!
- Other ways to give: We know that not everyone is in a position to give money and that often community organisations need other things than money. We believe everyone can give something. GiveNow provides the tools you need to get started, including listings of where you can give clothes, furniture, mobile phones and food, information sheets on how to give blood or become an organ donor, and tips on how to give land, shares, bequests and time.
Trusted and reliable, GiveNow has already collected tens of millions of dollars for community groups right across Australia. All our services have been rigorously tested by our users to be effective, safe and secure.
Who qualifies to receive donations through GiveNow?
All not-for-profit and community organisations which are incorporated can apply to receive online donations at GiveNow. To receive donations via the GiveNow facility, we require documentation to confirm the authenticity of the organisation so that donors can have confidence in the GiveNow service. Organisations interested in receiving online donations can find out more at registration.givenow.com.au
GiveNow is governed by the Privacy and Ethics policies of our parent organisation, Our Community. Click here
to find out more.
Briefly though, be assured that GiveNow will never sell, loan or give away information collected from any of our activities.
The information donors provide to us will only be passed on to the specific organisation.
No data collected from the site will be disclosed to any additional parties except where it is legally required, such as in the investigation of a criminal offence, and in compliance with a search warrant or subpoena.
What donors need to know about GiveNow
How do I make a donation to a community group through the GiveNow website?
All you need is a credit card or bank account and a good heart.
To make a donation, just search for your desired cause on the GiveNow home page. Once you have found the cause you want to donate to, click “Give Now” and you will be taken to a page that offers you more information on the cause. From this page you can begin the transaction process by choosing to make either a one-off or a regular (monthly) donation.
You will be asked to provide your name, email address, bank details as well as the amount of your donation. This section of the website is totally secure. For security purposes, as directed by the bank, we cannot accept anonymous donations. Once you have completed your donation, we will send you an email confirming your donation.
Is giving to a community organisation the same as giving to a charity?
We use the term ‘community organisation’ or ‘community group’ to describe any not-for-profit organisation operating in Australia. This includes traditional charities such as the Red Cross and Oxfam but also other not-for-profit organisations that are also doing good work for no material gain; groups like schools, kindergartens, sporting and arts groups. We believe all of these organisations are equally deserving of financial support.
Is my donation tax deductible?
Not-for-profit status does not automatically qualify an organisation for tax deductibility status. Donations to a not-for-profit or community organisation are only tax deductible when:
- An organisation is endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) by the Australian Taxation Office. The status of an organisation can be checked on the Australian Business Register at www.abr.business.gov.au and is also indicated for each organisation listed on the GiveNow website;
- The donation is greater than $2; and
- An authorised receipt has been received. All receipts for donations made online to Deductible Gift Recipients using the GiveNow service will meet the requirements.
Only around 28,000 of the more than 700,000 community organisations operating in Australia have been endorsed as DGRs. We believe they are all potentially worthy of your donation, though only a fraction can offer you a tax donation.
How does the donation process work?
We operate on a simple three step process:
- Step 1: After you submit your donation, including your credit card details, our bank will verify your credit card or bank account information real time.
- Step 2: Your donation amount transfers into a secure GiveNow bank account.
- Step 3: At the end of the month, we pass all donations to the nominated organisations on the first few days of the following month.
In line with legislative requirements and our own strict code of practice, Our Community and our banking partners will make every effort to make sure your donation is processed quickly and efficiently.
How much of my donation will reach the group I donate to?
Unlike almost every other giving service anywhere in the world, GiveNow is totally commission-free – we don’t charge the community organisation for your donation.
Only merchant fees are deducted by the credit card merchants (100% of this goes to the merchants, not GiveNow) and even these are smaller than you’ll usually be charged when using your credit card. We have negotiated 0.99% for Visa and Mastercard and 1.43% for Amex transactions. There is no fee involved in direct debit donations. So dependent on what payment method you use, somewhere between 98.57 – 100% of your donation goes to the organisation!
How can I be sure that the group I’m giving to is legit?
We know you need to have confidence when you donate online. Donors depend on a third party to have done the checks to ensure the organisation is legitimate and that the online channel is authorised by the organisation. This is what GiveNow does and why we are such a trusted platform for so many Australians for so long.
Our checks are the most rigorous of the Australian online fundraising platforms and include:
- We check every single organisation listed with us for donations to ensure they are a properly constituted not-for-profit organisation.
- We also check to ensure that the donations we receive from you are going to a bank account that reconciles to the name of this organisation (not to someone’s private bank account).
- And lastly, we check that all organisations obtain an authority to fundraise through state bodies (as required) at the time of registration.
We meticulously undertake all these steps to be sure that GiveNow can be trusted. We do this as we want funds to flow to the fabulous work of the community sector. Everything Our Community is involved in has the best interest of the community sector at heart and GiveNow is no exception.
Is it safe to give my credit card details?
Yes. When you provide your credit card or bank account, you are providing it directly to Westpac on a secure website. The GiveNow website and the staff at the Our Community Foundation never have access to your credit card or bank account numbers.
When you enter your credit card or bank account details, you can verify that you are providing it to Westpac by checking the URL of your browser. It will say 'Westpac Banking Corporation' in green; this is called an EV Certificate which is an independent verification that the website is operated by Westpac — and is not by someone pretending to be Westpac and is fully PCI-DSS compliant.
Our Community has managed a secure online donations system for more than a decade. We have never had a security breach of details entered into our site. But in the unlikely event of a security breach occurring, we do not have any credit card or bank accounts recorded and your payment details would not be compromised.
Will I receive a receipt?
Yes, GiveNow will automatically email you a receipt for your donation, unless the organisation has elected to send you a receipt themselves. If the organisation you have donated to has Deductible Gift Recipient status the receipt will state this and you can use it for tax deduction purposes.
What is ‘My Giving’?
‘My Giving’ allows you view all your regular and one-off donations, set-up new regular donations, change your regular donations, update your credit card and personal details and access your donation summaries and receipts for your annual tax return. It allows you to have your giving history in one place, under your control. Once you have logged in, it looks something like this:
If you are making a one-off donation and you are based in Australia, then you can do this without signing up to ‘My Giving’, but if you plan to make more than one donation, or want to make a regular donation, then you need to create a ‘My Giving’ account.
To create a ‘My Giving’ account, it is very simple. Either click on "Join My Giving" when completing a donation online, or complete manually yourself at anytime by:
- Clicking on "My Giving" tab at the top of the website
- Select "Join GiveNow".
- Provide a password in the fields provided.
- Verify your request for a ‘My Giving’ account by responding to the automatic email sent to you. This verification step is important to ensure that only you are able to access your donation information.
Once set-up, your unique email address will remain your identifying feature for donation management, protected by your password.
How do I know my password is secure?
GiveNow protects your password by using a cryptographic hash function to convert it into a form that cannot be converted back into your password. It allows GiveNow to check that your password is correct without actually storing the password itself. Even if the GiveNow database was compromised, an attacker would not be able to determine your password because your password is not recorded and cannot be derived from the secure hash.
How do I update my credit card details?
In order to update your credit card details you will need to log in to your "My Giving" account by clicking the tab at the top of the website. If you have not set up an account before, the system will ask you to complete the simple process (as above). Once you are logged in you will be able to view the screen to alter your credit card details directly with the bank.
Enter in your new credit card details and you have updated your card.
Due to security reasons, the GiveNow team cannot assist you to view, update or delete your credit card details as we cannot view this information - it is stored with the bank.
What if I want to stop my donations?
Regular donations do not automatically stop unless you specify a stop date. If you wish to stop or change your regular donations you need to log on to your ‘My Giving’ account and make the changes.
Due to security reasons we are unable to update your card details, or amend or cancel your regular donations. You can do this by logging in to your ‘My Giving’ account at https://www.givenow.com.au/login
I can't remember my ‘My Giving’ password
To retrieve your password, visit https://www.givenow.com.au/forgottenpassword
and your password will be emailed to you. If you have a problem with this, it may mean that you have not yet verified your account. If this is the case, you will need to find this email in your inbox history and follow the link in this text and your account will be verified. If you have deleted this email, please contact us at email@example.com and we will re-issue your password.
How can I change my donations from direct debit to credit card (or vice versa)?
Regular donations can't be changed from direct debit to credit card, or vice-versa. But it's easy to set up a new donation: log in to ‘My Giving’, click the Stop Now button on the regular donation, then start a new one with your new payment details.
I am living overseas – why do I need to have a MyGiving Account to make a one-off donation?
Unfortunately incidents of fraud initiating from overseas donors are becoming more frequent. To protect GiveNow, our donors and all community organisations registered on GiveNow, we require all donors who live outside Australia to create a MyGiving account even for a one-off donation.
Depending on which country you are donating from, a verification process will be triggered internally to assess if you are donating from a trusted country, and we will manage your donation accordingly.
I don’t live overseas but GiveNow is telling me my email address indicates that I do and I need to create a MyGiving account – what is going on?
Due to online fraud from some overseas users, we recently implemented a country of origin check for email addresses. The system that we use to determine the country of the visitor is only 99.5% accurate, and unfortunately your email address may be one of the 0.5% that the system gets wrong.
Our country lookup works by matching the IP address of the visitor in a database. We check the records for the IP address and the database can sometimes incorrectly identify it as being outside Australia. We can run an independent check to verify that it is actually in Australia, and if you are in fact located in Australia we notify the database maintainers and they update their database.
If this is the case with your email address we will happily verify it.
FAQs for community organisations about GiveNow
Why register for online donations with GiveNow?
GiveNow has seen exponential growth in both the amount of money donated, the number of donors giving online and the number of organisations with online appeals. GiveNow makes fundraising so much easier for organisations. We take on the responsibility of secure transactions and storing your donations data. Our service is easy to use and it frees up time and effort so that your staff and volunteers can focus on achieving your goals.
Online transactions are now commonplace – in fact, many people now demand it. Over 3,500 community groups use the GiveNow donations service. If you don’t provide this option for your supporters, you risk missing out. Click here for a more comprehensive fact sheet on giving in Australia. (see text of previous document)
It doesn’t matter what size community organisation are: we service the smaller groups such as TheatreWorks and Edgar’s Mission through to much larger organisations such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Listed groups come from every corner of the community sector – schools, CFA branches, charities, sports clubs, self-help groups – they’re all there on our website.
If you would like to speak to a referee from an organisation with an existing listing with GiveNow, please let us know.
What sort of community organisations can use GiveNow?
We have a wide range of organisations using GiveNow. Any registered community organisation, regardless of size, mission or location in Australia can use GiveNow.
If you are a community organisation or not for profit organisation which is incorporated you can apply to receive donations on the GiveNow website. We rely on the state authorities, national registers or Australian Tax Office to validate that your organisation exists. The critical pieces of information you need to provide to us include: Your registered organisation name, ABN, authority to fundraise and bank account details.
Frequent questions we receive about who can apply:
- Does the community organisation require Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status? No – you don’t need to have DGR status to list on GiveNow. Only around 28,000 of the 700,000 community organisations operating in Australia have been endorsed as DGRs. We believe all 700,000 deserve free online donations. If you don’t know if your group has DGR status, visit http://www.ato.gov.au/nonprofit/ and follow the links.
- Can organisations fundraising for political parties list on GiveNow? No, we do not allow political organisations to list on GiveNow.
- Can I register to raise funds for an individual? No. GiveNow only accepts donations on behalf of community groups.
How do I sign up?
It is really simple. Follow the link and you’re on your way to registering your cause on GiveNow: www.givenow.com.au/registration
Who ‘owns’ the donors’ details?
Your community organisation does. We collect the donor details so that we can process the donation, but we are never allowed to use this data without your consent. All donor details are available to your organisation on SmartyFile, along with a list of donors outlined in your monthly remittance.
Who issues the receipts?
When you register your cause, GiveNow will issue automated receipts on your behalf. We do this in email form immediately after the donation has been accepted and again at the end of each financial year. You can opt out of GiveNow’s automated receipting, however we usually advise against this as donors appreciate receiving receipts immediately.
When and how will we receive our donations?
We will transfer to your nominated bank account the total of your donations that are collected for the month within the first five working days of the following month, less the credit card merchant fees.
You will receive an email notifying you of this as soon as the transfer has been made. This will include an Excel spreadsheet attachment containing the full details of your donors. A sample remittance report is below.
If you haven’t received a remittance report it usually means that no donations have been received for that month, but if you think you have received donations, please login to your SmartyFile account (see below) and you can double-check.
Can we offer donors a tax deduction for their donation?
If your organisation is an ATO-approved Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR), the receipt will entitle them to a tax deduction.
If you don’t know if your group has DGR status, visit http://www.ato.gov.au/nonprofit/ and follow the links.
How can I promote my new online donations facility?
There are many ways to promote your cause with GiveNow! Create a link to your cause page on your website, in your email signature, on your letterhead, in your newsletters and direct mail campaigns. Furthermore, use social media to promote your cause! Share a link to your cause page on Facebook and Twitter.
Remember the only way to raise funds is to ask for it. Be creative in how you promote your cause and make sure you always direct your network to your GiveNow cause page!
More information about online fundraising is in Our Community’s online Community Funding Centre at http://www.fundingcentre.com.au
What level of donations can my group expect to receive through GiveNow?
The largest single donation received through the GiveNow service was $100,000, with the smallest being $5. Most donations fall somewhere in between.
Many groups suggest how much people should give, depending on need and the anticipated capacity of their donors.
Donors using GiveNow also have the option of making a regular donation that is automatically deducted from their credit card or bank account once a month. This is a very popular option with our community organisations, so do not hesitate to promote this option!
How can we update our organisation details?
GiveNow understands how not for profit organisations work: things often change to the needs of your community. Conscientious staff or volunteers move-on and you don’t know how to login to fix your cause details.
In short, if you want to change your details, you will need to either login to your SmartyFile account or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Organisation name or status: you need to email email@example.com
- Your contact details: login to SmartyFile and update this information yourself. If you don’t know who your contact person is, you need to emai us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will undertake a verification process with you.
- Your cause details: to refresh your text, logo or images, you need to email email@example.com
- You bank account details: As you can appreciate, this is a vital component to the integrity of our system. We ask that you simply email your new bank details to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a copy of an official statement to verify your bank account. Acceptable verification documents include a deposit slip for the account with the bank details encrypted on it, an official bank statement complete with account details and financial institution ABN, or an official letter from your financial institution (letterhead must include financial institution's ABN) confirming your bank account details.
What is SmartyFile?
GiveNow SmartyFile was launched in August 2015 and allows registered users to access real time information about donations, donors and causes. This will allow community organisations to find out about donations as soon as they are made and to download vital information such as donor lists and past remittance reports at anytime. Previously this information was only available through the monthly remittance report which was good – but we think SmartyFile is great!
Using the sidebar menu in SmartyFile, you can access:
Access to SmartyFile
- Your organisation details.
- All donation data, up to the minute, including all donor details since 1 July 2011.
- Downloadable remittance and donor detail excel spreadsheet reports.
- A history of all your causes, including closed causes.
- Information about specific donations and the ability to re-issue receipts to donors who may have misplaced their original receipt.
: At this stage all email addresses registered to receive your monthly remittance reports will receive full access to your SmartyFile.
It is important to note that all users with access to SmartyFile can access confidential information for all
causes listed under your organisation. This includes those causes which are auspiced by your organisation. As such, we recommend only enabling authorised staff at your organisation with access to SmartyFile. You can add or delete users by emailing email@example.com with “SmartyFile New User” in the subject line.
How do I sign on to SmartyFile?
It is important to note that it is a unique User Code that is required to log in to your SmartyFile account - not an email address. The User Code format is a unique number in the format of "OA[8digits]".
The nominated contact(s) for your organisation will have received a welcome email between the 19 - 20 August 2015, or at the time of registration after that date, with instructions to access SmartyFile. This email provided a User Code and asked for confirmation of the account by clicking a link (once only) and creating a password.
With the User Code and password, registered users can then access the SmartyFile by clicking on “Log In” at anytime and entering these details in the nominated fields.
To note about this Log In process:
Unable to Log In?
- User Code: We understand that our User Code may be less user-friendly than an email address when logging in. However, given the confidential nature of the donor data maintained on your SmartyFile we have set ourselves the same standards that a bank would engage for log in details.
- Password: It is extremely important that your password is complex enough to discourage a security breach. Your SmartyFile users access to all donor data for all causes under the name of your organisation. We recommend a password with a minimum length of 10 characters, consisting of at least one uppercase character, three lowercase characters and numeric characters.
If your organisation hasn’t received a notification email or you are experiencing difficulties with the log in process, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A couple of important things to note when using SmartyFile:
- It is important that you exercise caution with this real-time donation information. All confirmed donations that appear on the GiveNow website have been processed and accepted by authorised credit card merchants. However, there are rare instances where the owner of the credit card may query these transactions, for various reasons. In the event that this may occur we advise organisations to wait for the monthly remittance payment before being confident of the final donation amount.
- We understand that you may like to allow others in your organisation to view the details on the organisation portal. However, we strongly recommend that you tightly control this access in the same manner that you currently control your donor information. Do not share your login details with anyone. If you want to add a new user with unique login details, email email@example.com to request a new user to be added. Keep an updated register of users at all times.
GiveNow is for donors to use to donate, it is not for community organisations to use as a credit card facility.
GiveNow was developed to allow individual donors to set up an online giving account and manage their donations to the community groups and charities of their choice. It allows individuals to log-on and change their donation amounts and when and how they donate, update credit card details, and access a full donations report at tax time. For this, donors need their own email account and log-on details.
If community groups act as an intermediary and log-on it creates a number of problems which undermines the integrity of this system.
How can I find out more?