CiviCRM: CiviContributeWhatis

What is CiviContribute?

CiviContribute supports fundraising and related money management. It has two main uses:

  • to facilitate fundraising campaigns and collection of donations, and
  • to support activities by other CiviCRM components that have financial elements, such as collecting and recording payments in the Events and Member components.

CiviContribute offers a number of tools for raising money through your web site. For example, you can create contribution pages with fundraising targets. Campaigns support a thermometer-style widget that can be embedded on other web sites and blogs. Personal campaign pages and the "tell-a-friend" functionality engage your supporters in raising money for your organization and give them credit for any money that they raise from other people on your behalf. 

Several other CiviCRM components require CiviContribute to be enabled. To use CiviContribute you will need to configure a payment processor. 

Scenario: Contributing to Leadership

A community arts group, Arts in Action, conducts leadership workshops for youth under 25 throughout the year. They use CiviCRM extensively in the planning and execution of these workshops, combining modules CiviEvent and CiviContribute to make the administration of the workshops as efficient as possible.

The workshops are funded in three ways: participant fees, local arts funding, and donations. Most of the donations are from previous workshop participants who have continued as Arts in Action constituents. Twice a year a call for donations towards the workshops is sent out using CiviMail, providing a link to a donations page on the site. Some donors make regular donations through CiviPledge, while others make one-off donations. A thank-you email and receipt is automatically sent to every donor when a payment is successfully processed. All donations are tagged for the workshops, so that Arts in Action staff can run reports showing total workshop donations and look at individual contact records to see who has donated.

Participants register and pay for the workshops via an online form. There is a flat fee for registration, with additional fees for optional workshops and food and lodging preferences. The participants make these choices in the form and pay with a credit card. If they are not already a contact within the database, a new record is created at the time of registration, and the payment is recorded in that contact's contribution record which is also linked to the workshop event.

Arts in Action allow participants to pay later, as many of the participants do not have a credit card and need to pay in cash at the workshop. CiviContribute distinguishes between an actual payment and a commitment to pay, and this information is included in the registrants report that is printed out and used on the day to check participant attendance and payment. A computer at the registration desk at the workshop is used to manually input cash and cheque payments to the participant's contribution record.

Because Arts in Action has assessed that the most effective publicity for the workshop is by word of mouth and participants bringing friends, they also enable participants to forward the registration link to friends via the "tell-a-friend" mechanism. After completing the registration form, participants can easily forward it via email or social networking platforms to their friends and colleagues who may also be interested in attending.

After every workshop, the Arts in Action accountant generates a report that shows the total income from each of the three sources for the workshop, using a report template. She also tracks trends in donations and ensures that the Board are aware of who the larger donors are.

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