UniversalGiving.org

Overview

This section is intended to help you answer any questions in the following areas:

About UniversalGiving
For Donors and Volunteers
Creating an Account: Donating: Volunteering:
For NGOs
General The Registration Process Managing my organization's UniversalGiving account
General Inquiries

About UniversalGiving

What does UniversalGiving do?
UniversalGiving is a social entrepreneurship non-profit whose vision is "to create a world where giving and volunteering is a natural part of everyday life." Our web-based service connects donors and volunteers with top-performing, quality organizations all over the world. Our service is also customized for corporations, managing their worldwide giving and volunteer programs, as well as for investment banks.

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How is UniversalGiving different from other giving services?

UniversalGiving's service is free, and we do not take a cut on donations; some giving facilitators will take a cut on donations in order to fund their own operations.

Quality and trust are paramount to the UniversalGiving mission and vision. To address this important area, UniversalGiving has built a unique Quality Model and Quality Affiliation Model to help you identify the top-performing NGOs in our global community. Aspects of our Quality Models include verification against terrorist lists imparted by the U.S. Treasury Guidelines and compliance with the Patriot Act, confirmation of EIN numbers, and verified financial information. We also review NGO track records and management teams, as well as the confirming evidence provided by the organizations' affiliations and funders. UniversalGiving works with a Worldwide Advisory Board of international experts who recommend NGO Partners.

In addition, we work closely with our partner non-profit organizations to engage them in our service.

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Where can I find a complete description of your mission, vision and services?
Please visit the About Us section. In this section you will find the mission, vision, description of services and team biographies.

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Who are your customers?
Individual donors and volunteers (Learn More)
Non-Governmental Organizations (Learn More)
Corporations (Learn More)
Giving Circles (Learn More)
Universities (Learn More)

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Who started UniversalGiving?
Pamela Hawley is the founder and CEO of UniversalGiving. In 1996, she co-founded VolunteerMatch, a web-based nonprofit which has matched more than 2 million volunteers with nonprofits all across the nation. Inspired by her international experiences and life-long involvement in the community, she started UniversalGiving in June of 2002 in order to raise awareness about and serve the most impoverished communities in the world.

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Who is the UniversalGiving team?

To find out more about our team, please visit the Team Biographies.

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How much does it cost to use UniversalGiving?
The UniversalGiving service is free. In order to serve our nonprofit mission, we strongly believe that a baseline of services should always be free to individuals and NGOs.

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How is UniversalGiving funded?
UniversalGiving is supported by individual donors and foundations. UniversalGiving also provides a customized service for companies and their international giving and volunteer programs. This service supports our nonprofit mission and helps provide sustainability.

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Does UniversalGiving provide financial assistance to individuals and non-profit organizations?
No. UniversalGiving is not a grant-making organization. Instead, donors use our service to find non-profits to which they choose to donate. If you are a non-profit organization, you may register your organization using our nonprofit services.

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How do you ensure that the organizations and projects featured on your site are quality?

Quality and trust are paramount to the UniversalGiving mission and vision.

To address this important area, UniversalGiving has built a unique Quality Model and Quality Affiliation Model to help you identify the top-performing NGOs in our global community. Aspects of our Quality Models include verification against terrorist lists imparted by the U.S. Treasury Guidelines and compliance with the Patriot Act, confirmation of EIN numbers, and verified financial information. We also review NGO track records and management teams, as well as the confirming evidence provided by the organizations' affiliations and funders. UniversalGiving works with a Worldwide Advisory Board of international experts who recommend NGO Partners.

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What is your corporate service?

UniversalGiving Corporate facilitates international volunteering and giving programs. UniversalGiving will also qualify international nonprofits for companies who have existing programs.

Read more information or email us at info@universalgiving.org to recommend a company!

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Does UniversalGiving have a blog?

UniversalGiving has two blogs.  PhilanthroPost (formerly Philanthrobuzz) is a blog written by the UniversalGiving team, where we share resources for fun and easy ways to give.  We believe that small actions can change the world, and when we find a great opportunity for change or an inspiring story, we want to share it with you.  Our founder and CEO, Pamela Hawley, also maintains her own blog, Living and Giving, where she writes thoughts on giving, volunteering and leading a meaningful life.

Come see what we're saying, and share your own thoughts too!  We'd love to hear from you.

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For Donors and Volunteers

Creating an Account:
What are the benefits to creating a UniversalGiving account?
By creating a private account, you gain free access to special UniversalGiving features. You'll be able to:
  • Request e-mail updates on opportunities that match your interests!
  • Create Wish Lists.
  • Track your own giving and volunteering requests and activity.
Create an account now!

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How do I sign up for UniversalGiving?
Creating an account takes 1-2 minutes. Start now!

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What will you do with my information?
UniversalGiving will not sell your information. We use the information we collect about you to facilitate the volunteering process and to provide information to you about UniversalGiving and related industry topics. See our Privacy Policy for more information

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How can I keep track of my activity with UniversalGiving?
Once you create an account with UniversalGiving, our tracking system will allow you to keep records on all of your donations, volunteer opportunities and requests for information in one place. In this way you can rely on one source of information as you plan and organize your philanthropic and community service activities.

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Donating:
Can I give by credit card? Do I have other options?
As a donor, you have three options to donate: credit card, eCheck, and written check. PayPal is the processor for credit card and eCheck transactions. You do not need to register an account with PayPal in order to pay by credit card. If you would like to donate via written check, you will be prompted to print out a form which can be mailed. We do not profit from or take a cut on your donation. For credit card and eCheck transactions, Paypal does charge a small processing fee that will be deducted from the donation.

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What does it mean if I am blocked from giving by credit card or eCheck?
Nonprofits must have a PayPal account in order to accept credit card or eCheck donations. If you may only give by mailed check, then the organization to which you are donating has not registered for a PayPal account. You may still donate by regular check at no cost to you or the receiving nonprofit.

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Is my donation tax-deductible?
Yes. Your donation is eligible for a US tax deduction.

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Is there a minimum donation?
No. Any amount can make a difference.

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Volunteering:
How do I find more information about a volunteer opportunity?
Once you have found a volunteer opportunity that interests you, click on the red "Request Info" button. This will send your questions directly to a representative of the organization.

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Can I volunteer at UniversalGiving?

Check available volunteer and job positions with UniversalGiving.

Our service, however, is designed to help you find volunteer opportunities all over the world! When you see an opportunity that looks interesting, be sure to explore all the information provided in the volunteer opportunity profile.

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For NGOs

General:
What are the benefits of registering an NGO with UniversalGiving?

 To date, more than $1.2 million and 7,000 volunteers have been matched through the UniversalGiving™ website. UniversalGiving™ has most recently been featured in the New York Times, L.A. Times, Traditional Home Journal, CNNMoney.com and Financial Times.  UniversalGiving™ was the webby award honoree 2006 and won w3's Silver Award for Creative Excellence on the Web, 2007.  UniversalGiving’s service and marketing efforts direct donors and volunteers to our NGO partners. The commitment to quality at UniversalGiving™ gains the trust of donors and volunteers and motivates them to give and volunteer their time to our NGO partners.  

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What is an NGO?
NGO stands for Nongovernmental Organization. The World Bank defines NGOs as "private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development" (Operational Directive 14.70). In wider usage, the term NGO can be applied to any nonprofit organization that is independent from government. NGOs are typically value-based organizations that depend, in whole or in part, on charitable donations and voluntary service.

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How do I find donors and volunteers through the UniversalGiving? service?

In order to find donors and volunteers, an NGO must first register with UniversalGiving™ using our NGO Services. This will allow interested donors and volunteers to view your organization’s profile and learn more about what you do.

UniversalGiving™ is not a grant making organization, and does not directly fund NGOs.

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The Registration Process:
How long will registering my NGO take?

If you have all of the information in hand, registering your organization will take you approximately 30 minutes. The registration includes an organization profile, adding three “Ways to Give”, and a PayPal account. However, organizations must commit to updating their account on an annual basis. An administrator for your organization’s account will receive an automatic email prior to when your organization’s profile or any “ways to give” expire on UniversalGiving™.


Projects expire when the funding deadline has passed or one year from when it was posted or last updated.

Volunteer opportunities expire when involvement dates have passed or one year from when it was posted or last updated.

Gift Packages expire one year from when it was posted or last updated.
If you have any questions about maintaining your organizations account, please contact info@universalgiving.org

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How does my organization sign up for UniversalGiving?

You can get started from our NGO Services page. You will need to create an account with UniversalGiving™, and then you'll be able to register your NGO. We will walk you through each step in the registration process, which takes approximately 30 minutes. In order to register you will need the following information about your organization:

Organization Contact Info
•    Address
•    Phone Number
•    General email address
•    U.S. Employer Identification Number (EIN)
•    Donation Acceptance Information: 

Contact (email and phone)
Name that checks should be made out to
Address where donations should be sent to

Organization Background Info
•    Year Founded
•    Number of Staff
•    Countries Served
•    Mission Statement
•    Description of Services
Officers and Board
•    Organization President (email and phone)
•    Development Director (email and phone)
•    Volunteer Coordinator (email and phone)
In addition, we require each organization to include three other "ways" for UniversalGiving™ users to get involved. These "ways" include any combination of projects, volunteer opportunities, and/or gift packages. Organizations will also need to add a Paypal account so that UniversalGiving™ donors can give to them directly online.

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Who is eligible to register for UniversalGiving's NGO Services?

UniversalGiving™ partners with U.S. based 501(c)(3) charitable organizations whose missions are internationally focused (outside the United States). All partners must be proficient in English and have regular access to the Internet and email. UniversalGiving™ does not partner with organizations that engage in activities for the purpose of propagating political or religious beliefs.

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What information do I need to register?

We require that each organization enter general organizational information, as well as a valid U.S. Employer Identification Number (EIN). You must also include at least three "ways to give" for UniversalGiving™ users to get involved. "Ways to give" include specific projects with funding goals over $1,000, volunteer opportunities (U.S. or International) or gift packages with a fixed donation amount under $1,000. Finally, your organization must have an active Paypal account so that donors can transfer funds directly over the Internet.

Be sure to check out the "Registration Checklist" on the left before you begin registering.

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What is an EIN?

EIN stands for Employer Identification Number. It is a unique nine-digit number that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assigns to each organization for tax purposes. You can find your EIN on your IRS 990 form. Your Accounting or Payroll department will also have this information.


Organizations without an EIN can apply for this number by calling the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tele-TIN phone number or by sending a completed Form SS-4 to their local IRS service center. Organizations can also apply online at http://www.irs.gov

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What is PayPal?

The PayPal service enables any individual or business with an email address to securely, easily and quickly send and receive payments online. As a nonprofit, registering for a PayPal account will allow you to accept credit card and eCheck donations through UniversalGiving™. See PayPal's website for more detailed information.

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As an NGO, how do I register for a PayPal Merchant Account?

As a nonprofit, registering for a PayPal business account will allow you to accept credit card and check donations through UniversalGiving™. During the registration process, you will be prompted to set up a PayPal account and this will link you directly to PayPal’s website.

To set up a PayPal account for your NGO, you will need your organization’s bank account information. After your PayPal account is created you will need to return to your organization’s account on UniversalGiving™ and add your PayPal login email address in the box provided.

If you have any questions or concerns about setting up a PayPal account, please contact info@universalgiving.org

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Can I start registering now and finish later?

 Yes. Once you complete your organization's contact information, your information is saved, and you may stop at any time. To pick up where you left off, log onto UniversalGiving™ using your username and password and click on "my account." You can continue from there! 

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How quickly can my organization use UniversalGiving?

After you complete the registration process, the UniversalGiving™ team will review your information. If all of the required information has been included, the process will take 3-5 business days. We will notify you once your organization's account has been approved and published on our site. If you have any questions, please contact info@universalgiving.org

Remember that you are not finished with the registration process unless all the boxes in the “Registration Checklist” are checked. UniversalGiving™ NGO Services team will not begin to review your organization’s registration until registration is complete.

Once your organization is registered, the UniversalGiving™ NGO Services team will begin the verification process. We apply our unique Quality Model to evaluate each potential partner. Due to the number of organizations requesting our service, you will only be contacted if your organization is approved and published on UniversalGiving's website. We do not guarantee partnership and reserve the right to edit all content provided for publication on our website. Continued publication on UniversalGiving's website is contingent on the completion of annual updates.

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Managing my organization's UniversalGiving account:
How do I feature my NGO's activities on the UniversalGiving? site?

There are three ways to feature activities through UniversalGiving™: projects, volunteer opportunities, and gift packages.

A project is a specific program that your organization is currently working on. Projects usually have a particular funding goal of over $1,000 and time line for reaching this goal. Projects appeal to potential donors who often feel more connected to the impact of your work by learning about the specifics of your programs.


A volunteer opportunity invites others to participate in the great work you are doing abroad. This is one of the most inspirational ways to get people more involved with our international communities. And volunteers are 2/3 more likely to donate!

Gift packages solicit a fixed donation amount for a very specific outcome. We find that donors are more likely to give when they can see the direct impact of their dollar. For example, if your organization works to educate girls, you can state that a donation of $50 will buy school books for 10 girls or that $250 will pay for a girl's education for one year. Gift packages should not be over $1,000. If your organization has a “way to give” that requires and amount over $1,000, please add it under the project section.

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How do I change the password to my account?

Once you have logged in, click on "My Account." Then, under "Overview," you can retype your password.
If you are an administrator for an organization, and would like to change your password, you must do so within your personal account, not the NGO's account. To access your personal account, use the drop-down on the right-hand side of the screen.

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I am an organization administrator. How do I get to my private account?

Once you have logged in to your account, click "My Account" in the top-left corner. From there, use the drop-down on the right side of the screen to select your private account.

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How do I update my UniversalGiving? account?

To update your account, log in to your account. From there, you can edit your account information by selecting the appropriate tab. For example, to change your contact information, click "Org Info," or to add a giving opportunity, click "Ways to Give."

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General Inquiries

How do I subscribe to UniversalGiving's newsletter?
From our News page, you can subscribe to our newsletter by filling out your name and email in the box on the right-hand side.

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Can I recommend an organization to be featured in the homepage spotlight?
Organizations that are featured on the homepage are registered NGOs on our UniversalGiving website. If you want to recommend a current UniversalGiving member, please email our team at info@universalgiving.org. Include a short paragraph of why you feel we should feature this particular organization or project, your name, phone number and email address.

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Can I recommend a volunteer to be featured in the homepage spotlight?
Volunteers who are featured on our homepage need to be involved with one of our current UniversalGiving NGO members. If you want to recommend an appropriate volunteer, please email us at info@universalgiving.org. Include a short paragraph of why you feel we should feature this particular volunteer, your name, phone number and email address.

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I just saw a typo or bad link on your website. Who can I inform?
If you notice a typo or a bad link, please email the appropriate web page url and a short description of the error to our team at info@universalgiving.org.

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I would like to recommend an NGO. How do I do this?

You can tell them about UniversalGiving's service and encourage them to register their NGO. Or, contact us at info@universalgiving.org with the NGO's contact information and a short paragraph of why you feel we should outreach to this organization in order to include them in our service.

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I don't see my question here. Who can I contact for help?

You may always contact our customer service team at info@universalgiving.org.

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