Non Profit Struggling with Recordkeeping
February 14, 2012 9:55 AM   Subscribe

Small US non-profit (501(c)3) at its Whit's end. Are there opensource or online solutions to help me consolidate all my bookkeeping!

Ok, so I run a non-profit with zero staff and I do not take any salary, nor do I want to. One of my core principals is 100% of the gift is credited to the purpose.

Here is my quandry. I receive gifts from (1) Paypal subscriptions and donations and (2) written checks and efts. Each of these gifts is to be applied to a poor family in India. Sometimes the gifts are paid up in advance and I am instructed to pay it out at a fixed rate over a few months.

Every month I log into paypal, look at the checks that have come in, and log into bank of america to determine: (1) who gave and (2) how much. I then compare this the previous month to make sure all who said they would give indeed did give.

Then at the end of the year I compile everything into a spreadsheet and sum up all the gifts per donor and email out year-end tax letters to the donors.

OK, that said. There MUST be a viable, low-cost or opensource alternative which doesn't require me to be an expert. Do any of you have any experience with a piece of software/google marketplace app (I tried wave accounting and it is no good for me because it does not generate donor letters)/CRM solution?

----for what it's worth-----
If I could figure out how to get paypal to talk to CiviCRM, that may solve my problem.
posted by yoyoceramic to Work & Money (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I will repeat

Look there for any software first. Its for non profits and libraries and you can get software for very cheap (example windows 7 pro licenses for $6 a copy). They might the software you need for cheap.

You can get quickbooks at $21 from here. Give it a shot. this is where i get all my microsoft software at work (it admin of a library).
posted by majortom1981 at 9:59 AM on February 14, 2012

PS its not an ad post. every non profit and library should check here for software first.
posted by majortom1981 at 10:00 AM on February 14, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you for the resource, majortom1981. I will look at this now.
posted by yoyoceramic at 10:10 AM on February 14, 2012

I was going to suggest gnucash - confused me at first, but then i was determined to spend time figuring it out and i did, quickly. Also,!
posted by kpht at 1:36 PM on February 14, 2012

Seconding TechSoup - register there and all your software problems will disappear...maybe not but it is too good of a resource for any nonprofit not to take advantage of.

Also - you might want to go to and search for what you're looking for in this case "bookkeeping" or "finance", its a haven of opensource software and if you can get over the techie interface, a potential goldmine.

But, again, techsoup first.
posted by nondescript at 6:22 PM on February 14, 2012

Techsoup isn't a fit for all nonprofits unfortunately. I think your npo has to be of a certain size and I'm guessing the one you described won't qualify. I just don't want you to get your hopes up -- I've certainly worked for npos that use tech soup but the npo I volunteer with (very small, no staff, etc) doesn't qualify
posted by fieldtrip at 8:53 PM on February 14, 2012

Gnucash works for my small non-profit. It had a bit of a learning curve, but now I track every penny quite easily, and it only takes 2-3 hours per week. Just don't get behind! Trying to figure out what happened is ten times harder than tracking things as they occur. Good luck!
posted by amcm at 11:06 PM on February 14, 2012

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