Lesson 8: CiviContribute

Mar 22, 2015 |

Contributions tab


  • Understand what CiviContribute does
  • Be able to set up payment processors and contribution pages
  • Be able to record contributions manually through batch data entry

What is CiviContribute

CiviContribute is the CiviCRM component that facilitates, manages and keeps track of your organization’s monetary flow. According to the CiviCRM Users Book, “throughout CiviCRM, the term contribution refers to any financial transaction or payment taking place in the system”. Besides donations and other monetary supports from your supporters, CiviContribute also integrates with CiviEvent and CiviMembership and helps organizations keeping track of payments such as event fee, registration fee, or membership fees.

CiviContribute connects to the front end of your website in a similar way as CiviEvent. You may set up a “Donate now!” page to generate donations on a daily basis, or you may set up a campaign page to generate funding for events or occasions. For example, the Everett Program students could create campaign pages for their projects for crowdfunding. However, communication with your organization or the org’s accountant is highly recommended before start using CiviContribute. According to the Users Book, in order to efficiently tack contributions, you might want to “write down all the information you want to track about your contributions, including reports (described later in this chapter), then compare your data needs to CiviCRM’s predefined fields. An easy way to do this is is to look at the screen for adding a new contribution. A lot of useful functionality is built in to the core contribution fields so there’s no point in duplicating them with custom fields, but your organisation may have specific needs that require custom fields. ” If your organization uses an accounting system and you want to integrate it with CiviCRM, ” you can assign an Accounting Code to each Financial Type [which will be mentioned later in the lesson]” according to the Users Book.

Financial Type & Financial Account

Setting Up Your CiviContribute

Payment Processor

A payment processor is the third party bridge that allows money to flow from the donor’s wallet to your organization’s bank account, or as the Users Book put it, payment processors “connect your website to the credit card and banking infrastructure that actually processes the payment.” Some common payment processors are PayPal, Google Checkout, Authorize.net, and more. These payment processors make online monetary transaction easier, faster and more secure. When your potential donors look at your campaign and decide to make a contribution, they don’t have to get up, write a check, buy some postal stamps, and go to the post office to mail it to you; with payment processors, they can just log-in to their account, authorize the payment, and voila, the transaction is done before they notice they accidentally put $100 instead of $10 for donation amount. (I was kidding.)  CiviContribute supports 15 different payment processors. Please look at the wiki page for a comparison chart and configuration of different payment processors. If your organization is not sure which processor to configure for your CiviContribute, the Users Book lists a few things that you might want to consider before you make the decision.

To set up a payment processor, please navigate to Administer> CiviContribute> Payment Processor. A detailed tutorial is included in the screencast at the end of the lesson, under the title “Creating Contribution Page.

Batch Entry

Batch Entry allows you to record more than one contribution at once. Of course, you may also import multiple contributions with a CSV file, but, if you just had a fundraising event, and have a deck of contribution forms, cash and checks, it is faster to directly enter those information on CiviCRM than creating a spread sheet, enter information and import it onto CiviCRM.

To create Batch Entry for contributions, navigate to “Contributions> Batch Data Entry”


Enter basic information about the batch. If you are entering contributions from your fundraiser, you might want to state that in the Batch Name or Description. For “Number of Items” put an estimation of the number of donations you received. I’d recommend you to overestimate and have extra rolls because you can’t add more once you are entering the data. For “Total Amount”, you can put your goal amount, or an estimation of the amount generated. You will be able to override the mismatch between the amount you enter now and the actual amount that is added up later.


Once you are done with the basic information about the Batch, click save and proceed to the next step. You will see columns of different information that you can record. it may not all fit in your browser window. According to the Users Book, These are the columns and what information they are designed to contain:

  • Amount: amount of the payment
  • Status: status of the payment
  • Received – Date and Time: date and time payment was received
  • Source : enter text that describes the source of the payment [It’s better to state whether its from the campaign page, event, or other occasions, so when you go to individual contacts, you see when and where they make the contribution]
  • Paid by: enter the type of payment vehicle, e.g. cash, check, EFT, etc.
  • Check Number: if paid by check
  • Send Receipt: check the box if you want to send a receipt via email
  • Invoice ID


When you’re entering contributions, you will be able to match donors to the existing contacts. If your donor is not one of your contacts, you may add them on the spot.


While you are entering contributions, you will see that on the top left hand corner, it shows the amount of money you entered. Also, in the column head, there is a tiny icon for autocopy. For instance, if you are entering contributions from the same event, enter the event name in the first roll under source, and click on the icon.


When you’re done entering contributions, if you have extra rolls, enter 0 in the amount, and leave the name blank, and proceed to the next step


If the total sum of the contributions doesn’t match the estimation you entered earlier, it will show warning of mismatch. You may click on the button to override mismatch. However, always double check the amount you entered before you finalize everything. Once you click override or your batch is processed, the batch will be “closed”, which means you can no longer edit the batch.


If you want to see the list of contributions in the batch after it’s closed, go to “Contributions> Accounting Batches> Closed Batches”. You can also check one of the contacts in the batch and make sure the contribution is recorded and connected like so:


Manually Record Contributions

If you are only entering one or two contributions, you might not want to use Batch Entry because it’s not more efficient than doing it one by one, which can be done through an individual’s profile. As shown at the end of the last section, there is a button to record contribution. The process if pretty straightforward and clear. You may find additional information about manually record contribution on the CiviCRM Users Book.


Price Set

What Are Price Sets

There are many situations in which your org might want to present consituents with an array of different price options. For instance, many orgs employ “Contributor Levels” which rank donors by the amount that they give. Think “Bronze Level, Gold Level, Platinum Level, etc.”. It’s a simple way of allowing people to feel more special for giving more. Often times, these levels carry with them certain perks, like, donors who give $20 will get a Holiday card signed by the org’s founder, or donors who give $1000 will be invited to a special dinner (where they’ll be pumped for more donations, but hey, that’s philanthropy). Price tiering with increasingly “good” rewards is a very common tactic in crowdfunding.

Take this example from Mou, my favorite markdown app, crowdfund page. In case you’re wondering, Markdown is a simple syntax for formatting.

Creating Price Sets allows you to create this tiered pricing and then insert it to any place you make a donation appeal. The obvious place is your main donation page, but you can also stick it onto event pages and probably some other places.

Creating Price Sets

Let’s go through a somewhat generic example of a nonprofit’s standard donation structure. To create a new price set, just go to Contributions > New Price Set. Give it a “Set Name” and pre/post form help if you want.

Used Form

You’ll need to indicate what it’s used for:

  • Event: If an event your doing requires a ticket price
  • Contribution: A donation
  • Membership: a fee to join your organization

As you can see, there are different circumstances in which you’ll want to create a set of varrying prices. For this example, we’ll be going with Contribution.

Default Financial Type

Corresponds with the Used For selection. The type of contribution we’re going with is “Donation”.

Add Fields

Now that the price set is created, you can start adding prices. The label is the name you decide to give it and the price is…the price. Add how ever many you want by filling in Field Label and Price and hitting Save and New. Once you’ve added as many donation levels as you want, you can just hit “Save” and your price set is complete!

Using Your Donation Price Set

Now that you’ve created the set, you can summon it up on contribution pages in the “Amounts” tab.

Creating Contribution Page

I know you’re tired of reading by now, so here is a screencast made by Thomas. The first part will be about setting up a dummy processor, which is part of your homework, and the second part will be setting up a contribution page, which, again, will be part of your homework as well, so please make sure you watch the video!

Extra resources

  • Soft Credit
  • Dashboard
  • Reports


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