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Venmo for nonprofits: The complete guide to Venmo fundraising

Everything nonprofits need to know about fundraising with Venmo, including the latest information on Venmo's new charity profiles.

Kylie Davis
December 27, 2023
August 27, 2020
Nerd Mr Butter

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With the rise of online donations and mobile payments, it's no surprise that nonprofit organizations are looking for ways to expand their payment options. Venmo, a peer-to-peer payment service app, is one popular option that's growing this trend.

Venmo is a convenient, simple way to send and receive money right from your smartphone. With the right fundraising platform, supporters can now use Venmo to donate to the causes they care most about.

We'll go over everything you need to know about Venmo for nonprofits—including what it is, how it works, and what every nonprofit should consider before creating an account.

What is Venmo and how does it work?

Venmo is a peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile payment service that allows account holders to transfer money to other account holders. By linking their bank account, credit card, or debit card to the app, Venmo users can request, send, and receive payments without exchanging cash or checks, making it a convenient way to pay someone back.

Users can automatically withdraw payments with just a few taps, choosing either to cash out immediately to their bank account (for a small processing fee) or within 1–2 days (for free). Or, they can leave funds in their Venmo account, so it’s quick and easy to split the tab at a restaurant, send birthday money, or even divide up rent and utilities.

Venmo has broadened its scope in recent years, becoming more appealing for businesses—and now, even nonprofits—to receive payments through the platform.

What nonprofits need to know before creating a Venmo account

For a long time, it was difficult for nonprofits to accept donations via Venmo. Venmo wasn’t originally built with fundraising or sales transactions in mind, so there were multiple restrictions and risks to creating an account and soliciting donations. Plus, Venmo didn’t provide support for user-created donation campaigns because it was difficult to verify organizations and clamp down on fake profiles across their massive network.

In one case, MarketWatch discovered that users had set up unauthorized Venmo accounts for the Red Cross and Planned Parenthood. If donors sent funds to the wrong person, there weren’t any built-in payment protections for them (or the organization).

Givebutter was one of the first major fundraising platforms to offer full Venmo integration, making it easy for supporters to make a Venmo contribution through a simple donate button, custom-branded fundraising page, or fundraising event. Nonprofits on Givebutter don’t even need to have a Venmo account to receive Venmo donations.

Plus, every donation on Givebutter is safe and secure thanks to our PCI-compliant payments partner, Stripe, so donors never have to worry about where their funds are going. For another layer of credibility, Givebutter adds a verification badge to a nonprofit's profile if its 501(c)(3) is verified by the IRS. Creating a comfortable, confident giving experience is key to attracting repeat donors.

Is Venmo really that popular among donors? 💸

While Venmo launched publicly in 2011, it has grown exponentially in recent years. The innovative service revealed it had over 40 million unique users in 2019, and that number has only increased: In 2021, more than 70 million people had Venmo accounts. Venmo processed $159 billion in total payment volume in 2020, $230 billion in 2021, and nearly doubled its annual revenue during that time from $450 million to $850 million.

Some users have even turned the app’s name into a verb, as in, “I’ll Venmo you for those fries right now.”

Venmo Charity Profiles: A new option to consider 👀

Over the years, more and more fundraising platforms have been granted access to the Venmo Developer API and have started offering Venmo as a payment method for donors.

In October 2022, PayPal (which owns Venmo) announced the launch of ‘charity profiles’ on Venmo. Any 501(c)(3) or charitable organization with a confirmed PayPal charity account can now set up a verified charity profile on Venmo, which offers the potential for greater visibility on the app and other benefits like lower Venmo charity fees on transactions.

While this is an exciting development for nonprofits interested in using Venmo, there are some important pros and cons organizations should consider before creating a charity profile or trying to fundraise directly through Venmo.

Pros and cons of Venmo

Advantages of Venmo fundraising 👍

It’s an easier ask.

Venmo users often leave money in their accounts and sometimes even forget it’s there. Unlike a new transaction, donors may be less hesitant to give money that has already been taken out of their bank account and is waiting to be sent or spent. Feels less like a new expense and more like moving money for a good cause.

Plus, PayPal reports that most people use Venmo for small transactions of around $60. That’s attractive for donors who want to support your organization but may not have a lot of extra cash lying around.

Venmo is blowing up with young donors.

Digital payments have become the norm for millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) and Gen Zers (born between 1997 and 2012). In fact, a whopping 50% of Venmo users are millennials aged 25 to 34. With such a large number of young users opting into Venmo for mobile payments, it’s clear that this platform is a perfect way to connect with a new generation of donors.

Venmo is ready-made for social sharing.

Take advantage of built-in social proof with Venmo’s social media-style feed that displays transactions and comments (for those who have public sharing turned on). That means users can see when their friends donate to your cause—along with lots of emojis—and be inspired to do the same.

Venmo caters to the growing number of mobile givers.

Most donors expect giving to be convenient and accessible from their smartphones. As a free mobile app for iOS and Android devices, Venmo is as mobile-first as it gets. Your supporters will appreciate being able to give on the go.

Disadvantages of Venmo for nonprofit fundraising 👎

Venmo limits user transactions and charity profile bank transfers.

There are different weekly limits for peer-to-peer payments, purchases with the Venmo Debit Card, purchases from businesses, and so on.

Venmo charity profiles don't have a recurring giving option.

Recurring givers are some of the most sought-after groups because they stick around. The retention rate for monthly nonprofit donors is 90%, while the retention rate for the average donor is just 43%. That means that organizations lose about half of their one-time donors each year but keep nearly all their monthly recurring donors.

Venmo charity profiles can't send tax receipts.

Most tax-exempt organizations must send donors a tax receipt for each donation. Unfortunately, there's no way to automatically email your supporters a tax receipt. Venmo states that charities are responsible for manually acknowledging donations and sending official tax receipts.

Venmo charity profiles don't integrate with your CRM.

Most donation platforms integrate with contact relationship management (CRM) software so that donor information (name, email, phone number, donation amount) is transferred to the database after the donation is made.

With Venmo charity profiles, you'll have to set aside time to collect information and manually enter data into your CRM. You can get access to the names and email addresses of donors who gave to your Venmo charity profile, but no other donor data is available at the time of this writing.

The bottom line

Rather than set up a Venmo account and charity profile for your nonprofit on the Venmo app, most clubs, teams, and other organizations will be better off using a different fundraising platform and enabling Venmo as one of several payment options donors can choose from.

Select Venmo as payment method graph

How to set up Venmo for your nonprofit—the right way

We’ve provided a streamlined process for donors to give via Venmo in a few seconds on any Givebutter campaign—and you don’t even need a Venmo charity account. Here’s how it works:

Step 1. Create a free account and we’ll do the rest 🤩

All Givebutter campaigns have a Venmo payment option automatically built-in, so there’s no complicated setup. Simply create your free account, enable Venmo, and get going.

Your organization doesn't need to have a nonprofit Venmo account to receive donations. Venmo donations will be treated like any other donation on Givebutter—all major credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, cash, checks, and ACH—and can be withdrawn directly from your dashboard along with the other funds you raise.

Step 2. Launch your fundraiser and start accepting Venmo donations 🎁

You can use Venmo to collect donations, run fundraising campaigns, sell tickets to events, and track, grow, and manage everything through your Givebutter dashboard. You can even add a custom Venmo donate button on your website. Plus, with 96% of Americans owning a mobile phone, we’ve made it easy to combine text-to-donate with Venmo for rapid SMS and text-enabled giving.

You aren’t limited to one-off donations, either. Venmo may not support recurring giving, but with Givebutter, you can enable recurring donations through other payment methods (all major credit/debit cards and PayPal) on any of your campaigns, events, or donation pages. Donors can choose to give monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Step 3. Transfer your funds and let donors cover fees 🙌

You don’t need a Venmo nonprofit account to accept or transfer funds on Givebutter. All your Venmo donations are pooled together with other types of payments (credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and more) for fast campaign payouts.

Charity profiles face additional Venmo nonprofit fees for instant payout, whereas verified nonprofits can set up automated nightly payouts on Givebutter for free.

We’re committed to providing a no-fee fundraising experience for nonprofits. Our platform lets your donors cover the 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee so you keep 100% of every donation (which 95% of Givebutter donors choose to do!). Venmo doesn’t give donors the option to cover transaction fees for charity profiles and will instead deduct 1.9% + $0.10 automatically from every donation.

Step 4: Thank donors and track your fundraising progress 💛

Givebutter sends automatic tax receipts to Venmo donors, and with the ability to customize your thank-you message to donors, you'll eliminate a time-consuming manual process and grow a relationship with your supporters at the same time.

All of your donation data and donor contact information is automatically saved in Givebutter’s built-in nonprofit CRM. You can also connect your account with a variety of top-notch CRMs using Givebutter integrations. Either way, you can say goodbye to hours of data entry.

Venmo limits you should be aware of

Personal payment limits

As of December 2023, verified Venmo users have a weekly spending limit of $7,000 for payments to authorized businesses and charities (this limit is reduced to $299.99 a week for unverified accounts).

Even if your donors aren’t making gifts this large, they could run into this limit as their weekly spending adds up.

🧈 How Givebutter helps: A common fundraising best practice is to give your donors multiple methods so they don’t run into roadblocks like the one mentioned above.

Fortunately, you can accept everything with a Givebutter account—all major credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, cash, and checks—so if a donor does find themselves face-to-face with Venmo’s limits, there are lots of other options for them to choose from.

Bank transfer limits

Venmo also has a weekly rolling limit on bank transfers for charity profiles. Currently the weekly rolling limit is $100,000 on standard transfers and $50,000 on instant transfers. No organization wants to lose out on funding because their donors send too much money.

🧈 How Givebutter helps: We know how important it is for you to access funds quickly and securely. That’s why we don't set any limits on when or how often you can withdraw—unlike Venmo’s charity profiles.

Get the best of both worlds with Givebutter and Venmo

Venmo has revolutionized the way we send and receive money, and it could open up new fundraising opportunities for your organization. As a payment method, it’s easy to use, popular with young adults, and generates positive word-of-mouth through it's social media-style feed.

As an online donation tool, however, Venmo shines most when your fundraising platform (like Givebutter) supports it. With Venmo added as a payment option, you can provide donors with multiple ways to give from one central hub while still retaining must-have features like recurring gifts, tax receipts, and other integrations.

Make the most of Venmo fundraising with Givebutter

If you’re ready to think beyond credit cards, expand your donor base, and raise more funds, create your free Givebutter account and start accepting Venmo donations today.

Get started
Set up your peer-to-peer fundraiser for free in just a few minutes →

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