Is Givebutter Really Free? An in-Depth Look at Givebutter Hidden Fees and Charges

Is Givebutter Really Free? An in-Depth Look at Givebutter Hidden Fees and Charges

Givebutter separates itself from the rest of the platforms in the online fundraising industry through one simple claim - it's the only platform that lets you do it all for free. This is an extremely bold declaration and prompts a detailed investigation of the platform's actual fees and charges, with the aim to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of Givebutter's hidden costs.

While Givebutter proudly advertises its lack of monthly fees and per-transaction platform charges, it's crucial to dive into the details of their fee structure. The main cost incurred by donors is the 3.3% fee for processing credit card transactions. This fee is in place to guarantee hassle-free payment processing but remains a vital cost for fundraisers to account for.

Furthermore, Givebutter implements a default 15% tipping option that is integrated into their checkout system. During this process, donors are presented with 4 options: 10%, 12%, 15%, and other. This allows the user to determine the desired tip amount that will be added to their donation. By default, a combined rate of 18.3% (15% tip plus 3.3% credit card processing fee) is passed on to donors at checkout, contributing to the costs involved with using Givebutter for a fundraising campaign.

While Givebutter's fee structure can be difficult to understand, there is enough information at hand to determine that users will likely find the combined fees to be relatively high. When accounting for tipping options and credit card fees, it becomes clear that alternative platforms like Paybee offer much lower costs, with their fees (4.7% total) amounting to roughly a quarter of Givebutter's.

In this article we'll assess Givebutter's commitment to being a cost-effective fundraising platform and explore the various fees associated with its use. As we make our way through the nuances of Givebutter's pricing model, we'll unveil any hidden fees and shed light on the true value that it offers to fundraisers and donors.

No Hidden Fees? Givebutter Pricing Structure and Fees

Understanding Givebutter's pricing structure is vital for organizations seeking to emphasize the impact of their fundraising campaign while keeping costs low. Unlike many fundraising platforms, some users believe that Givebutter isn't as transparent as it can be, resulting in an ambiguous approach to its pricing. Givebutter is centered around an absence of monthly fees and per-transaction platform charges. This commitment aligns with their claim that they are a free-to-use platform, which undoubtedly makes Givebutter an attractive option to organizations that are in need of an online fundraising solution.

However, some things are too good to be true. A notable component of Givebutter's pricing model is the implementation of optional tips at checkout. As mentioned earlier, when choosing a payment option, donors are presented with 4 choices: 10%, 12%, 15%, and other (with 15% being the default amount). This tipping model is designed to pass the cost of using the fundraising platform onto the user, meaning that a tip does not contribute to the fundraiser but instead contributes to Givebutter's operating expenses. On top of this, there is a 2.9% plus $0.30 processing fee applied to all transactions on the platform. This doesn't apply to credit card transactions, which, as stated above, incur a 3.3% fee.

There is an alternative to Givebutter's tipping model. If organizations using the platform wish to turn it off, they will instead be presented with a list of otherwise hidden fees: 1% donation form fee, 3% fundraising page fee, and 5% event or auction fee. Additionally, as with the tipping model, there is a 2.9% plus $0.30 processing fee applied to all (non credit card) transactions. Therefore, if a nonprofit does not wish to pass fees onto its donors, the platform no longer lets you do it all for free.

Understanding Fundraising Platform Processing Fees

Regarding online fundraising, processing fees have a huge influence on organizations and their supporters. Platforms like Paybee, which are known for transparency, offer a comprehensive overview of processing fees to provide users with the knowledge required to understand the costs involved in online transactions.

Credit Card and Digital Wallet Fees

The cornerstone of Givebutter's processing fees is the 3.3% credit card processing fee. This fee is in place to cover the associated expenses of securely processing a credit card transaction, providing a seamless and trustworthy credit card payment experience for donors. This type of (varying) fee is standard in the online fundraising industry and having access to this information allows organizations to make educated decisions about their fundraising strategy.

Digital wallets, increasing in popularity due to their convenience, will incur a 2.9% plus $0.30 fee if used to make a transaction through Givebutter. It's important to reiterate that availability of this information is paramount for organizations when attempting to anticipate the true cost of accepting various forms of online payment. For example, Paybee is very forthcoming with this information and makes it clear that there will be a 2.7% plus $0.30 fee for digital wallet transactions, which is comparably lower than Givebutter.

ACH, Credit Card, and Digital Wallet Fees Compared

Unlike Paybee, Givebutter doesn't assess a lower fee for ACH (Automated Clearing House) transactions. When using ACH to make a donation through Givebutter, the fee will be 2.9% plus $0.30. This is relatively high considering that a lot of platforms will offer a smaller fee to donors for using ACH. This type of transaction is well known for its lower processing cost, which means that it's usually a cost-effective option for organizations that receive a large number of contributions. Paybee prides itself on offering donors a reduced 1.3% processing fee for ACH/bank account transactions, making it a more attractive option than credit card or digital wallet transactions on their platform.

Is Givebutter Free? Givebutter Cost Transparency

We have covered the fact that Givebutter advertises itself as a fundraising platform that offers its tools for free. However, some argue that the transparency of Givebutter's pricing plans are not as crystal clear as they seem. The focal point of this argument centers on the integration of optional tips during the donation process and how they can lead to a higher per-transaction charge.

The inclusion of optional tips at checkout has certainly raised the eyebrows of Givebutter users. While there is no doubt that these tips are voluntary, the default option of 15% has the ability to inadvertently mislead contributors, resulting in a greater per-transaction cost than expected. Let's consider a tangible example, the default optional tip (15%) on a donation of $100.00 would be $15.00 on Givebutter's platform. If we assume that the donor will use a credit card for the transaction, they will also be subject to a 3.3% processing fee of $3.30. Combining these fees gives us a total of $18.30, which means that a $100.00 donation would leave the user on the hook for a sum of $118.30.

Default tips on the Givebutter platform, while optional, result in an element of unpredictability regarding donations. The final cost of a donor's transaction will often be much higher than anticipated. Some users argue that the default setting, on optional tips, of 15% might not align with the platform's dedication to transparency. This is because it can lead to a lesser understanding of the true cost of a transaction processed through Givebutter.

It's important to offer a balanced perspective when analyzing the fee structure of a fundraising platform. Givebutter's optional tips is a legitimate method for a nonprofit to pass on the fees associated with online fundraising to their supporters. If a nonprofit decides against this plan, it will be imposed with a list of platform fees that it will be responsible for: 1% donation form fee, 3% fundraising page fee, and 5% event or auction fee. This might raise the question of why there is such a disparity between the amount of the default optional tip and the platform fees. Givebutter would likely state that this is to account for the optional nature of the tips.

Asking for Support with Processing Fees

To address the concern of processing fees, a nonprofit may decide to explicitly ask their donors to cover them. By communicating clearly and being open about the financial aspect of the donation process, organizations can ensure that supporters are armed with the necessary information to make an informed decision about whether or not to cover their processing fees. This helps to sustain a high level of transparency during the fundraising experience.

For a nonprofit that is aiming to maximize its fundraising impact, it's vital to appreciate the importance of donor-covered fees regarding campaign net proceeds. Being forthcoming with a request for donors to cover their transaction fees contributes greatly to fundraising transparency. However, it's vital to balance this approach and consider the potential for it to deteriorate the willingness of donors to contribute. If a balance can be struck, then the net proceeds of a campaign will benefit greatly from this extended donor generosity.

Givebutter's Approach to Hidden Fees

Givebutter firmly emphasizes its commitment to a fee-free experience, holding a strong stance against hidden fees. Upon further examination, a breakdown of their fees may reveal that, in practice, they don't completely align with this proclamation. This positions Givebutter as a platform with some of the highest fees in the online fundraising industry.

Givebutter's claim of no hidden fees relates to the absence of subscription fees and the potential for organizations to avoid platform fees using optional tips. While this lines up with their dedication to a fee-free experience for organizations using the platform to raise funds, the checkout experience introduces a nuanced aspect to the platform's cost structure regarding donors. The combination of the 3.3% processing fee for credit card transactions, the 2.9% plus $0.30 processing fee for other transactions, and 15% default tipping option, exposes the hidden costs of Givebutter that are imposed on supporters.

When comparing Givebutter to other industry leaders, it becomes clear that their fee structure may not be as competitive as advertised. A significant contender in this domain is Paybee, which offers a more cost-effective alternative. As highlighted previously, Paybee's fees combine to approximately 4.7% plus $0.30 for a credit card transaction and 3.3% for an ACH/bank account transaction. This is roughly a quarter of Givebutter's processing fees if we assume that the donor will use a credit card and choose the default tip option during checkout (18.3%).

Organizations must look past the visible components of a platform's fee structure to gain a full understanding of it. While Givebutter technically offers users a fee-free experience, its optional tipping mechanism can negatively influence a donor's perception of the overall cost. It's paramount that fundraisers are aware of these fee structure intricacies in order to make informed decisions about the platforms that they choose for their online fundraising initiatives.


Q: What are the processing fees for using Givebutter?

A: Processing fees on Givebutter vary based on the method of payment used during the transaction. If the donor uses a credit card, the processing fee will be 3.3% of the entire transaction plus $0.30. If the donor uses another form of payment, the processing fee for the transaction will be 2.9% of the entire transaction plus $0.30.

Q: What are the processing fees for using Paybee?

A: Paybee's processing fees are comparatively lower than Givebutter's. Through Paybee, donors will be subject to a 2.7% plus $0.30 processing fee for credit card transactions and a 1.3% processing fee for ACH/bank account transactions.

Q: Does Givebutter have any hidden fees or charges?

A: While Givebutter may not have hidden fees that affect the user of the platform, it has hidden charges that will affect donors. For each donation, the donor will be subject to a processing fee and an optional tip that, by default, is equivalent to 15% of the entire donation. These hidden fees have the potential to amount to around 18.3% when combined.

Q: How can nonprofits minimize fees when using Givebutter?

A: The best way for a nonprofit to minimize fees when using Givebutter is to use their optional tipping plan. Essentially, this means that the organization will be passing on fees to their contributors. While this helps to minimize fees for the nonprofit, it can substantially increase the cost of a donation for a donor.

Q: Can donors cover the processing fees on Givebutter?

A: As with the majority of platforms in the online fundraising industry, users are able to cover their processing fees on Givebutter. Givebutter claims that processing fees are covered by 95% of donors on their platform.

The world of fundraising platforms is intricate and can be difficult to navigate. This heightens the importance of a nuanced understanding of fees and charges for making educated decisions. Givebutter provides a fundraising platform with the option of avoiding subscription fees and per-transaction platform charges through the use of optional tips. Although, as we have come to understand, the subtleties of these optional tips, as well as other processing fees involved in the checkout process, warrant careful consideration.

To summarize our exploration of Givebutter's fees, it's extremely important for nonprofits to weigh the advantages of the platform against its overall costs - including those imposed on the donor. Despite Givebutter's ability to provide a robust fundraising experience that includes plenty of useful tools, it's fees can be relatively high when compared to some of the alternatives in the industry.

If you are looking to identify an all-in-one fundraising solution with comparatively lower fees and extremely powerful features, Paybee emerges as a perfect option. Paybee is able to provide a cost-efficient platform that is equipped with a distinct range of tools designed to enhance the fundraising event experience.

Fundamentally, the decision between Givebutter and its alternatives revolves around the unique requirements and preferences of your organization. Using an approach that accounts for fees, features, and overall value will allow you to optimize your fundraising initiatives and leave a lasting impact on your community.

Start Fundraising

I am a...

Looking for...

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Charity Fundraising
Nonprofit Fundraising
Benjamin Mcquaid

Hello! I am Benjamin, a freelance writer from the United Kingdom. I have had a passion for writing since my highschool days and love to research and produce content on any topic. For enquiries, contact me via email: benjaminmcquaid5@gmail.com.