Soft Credits 101

Credit your donors for donations they directly or indirectly influenced.

Updated over a week ago

In Donor Management, the best way to track your supporters who directly influenced a donation or secured a gift for your organization is through a “soft credit.”

Why Use Soft Credits?

Soft credits can give you and your organization more insight into a donation had been secured, and who was involved in making sure that donation was successfully made.

You can then use that information to pinpoint key individuals who you can leverage for support in the future – and can help you make sure that the individuals who secured a gift on your behalf are properly thanked for their indirect contribution.

Ways You Can Use Soft Credits

Soft credits can be used to...

  • Give your donors credit for donations they made through a different charitable organization, such as a local foundation

  • Give an employee credit for a matching gift from their employer

  • Give board members a soft credit for donations that they directly solicited

  • Give a business owner credit for a donation made by their company

  • Give a peer-to-peer fundraiser a soft credit for the donations that they brought in through their campaign page

  • Give a committee member a soft credit for an event sponsorship gift

  • Give multiple members of the same household and family credit for the same donation

  • Give supporters credit for donations brought in through shared posts and other social media

Adding a Soft Credit

There are three ways that you can add a soft credit to a contact in Donor Management – through the Donation Details page, through the Giving tab, or through the donor’s profile.

Adding a Soft Credit Through Donation Details

To add a soft credit through the “Donation Details,” page you’ll want to locate the “Soft Credits” section.

Then, you’ll want to click on the “Add” button in the top-right corner of that section.

Adding a Soft Credit Through the Giving Tab

To add a soft credit through the Giving tab, you’ll want to locate the donation in question from the list of transactions displayed below the graph.

We recommend using the search tool in the top right corner of the page to quickly find the right donation.

If you see the donation in question listed in the drop-down below the search bar, you can click directly on that name – otherwise, you can click on the magnifying glass button next to the search bar, and any potential donations that match your search will be displayed below the graph.

You can then click on the “Actions” button next to the correct donation, then select “Add Soft Credit” from the available dropdown options.

Adding a Soft Credit Through the Donor's Profile

The process of adding a soft credit through the donor’s profile is very similar to adding one through the Giving tab – however, you’ll start by searching for the donor directly through the Contacts tab, and opening the donor profile from that screen.

Once you’ve opened the donor profile, you should see the “Interactions” section of the page, where all of that particular donor’s giving history should be listed.

Once you’ve located the specific donation you’re looking for, you can then click on the “Actions” button next to the donation, and select “Add Soft Credit” from the dropdown options.

Adding the Soft Credit

No matter which way you choose to add the soft credit, you should be directed to the “Add Soft Credit” page, where you’ll be able to finalize those soft-credit details.

You’ll first be asked to confirm whose initial donation is being soft-credited – in other words, the person who was influenced to make a donation. You’ll also want to confirm that the date and amount match, especially if the donor has a prior history of giving.

Once you’ve confirmed that this is the right donor and donation, you’ll select who will be soft-credited by searching for them and selecting their name in the drop-down field.

You’ll also want to confirm the amount of the soft credit. (In most cases, this amount will be the same as the intial donation, but you can adjust this amount as needed.)

You can also add more detailed notes about the soft credit, such as “part of employee match program”, to help provide more context.

Lastly, you have the option to mark the soft credit as “acknowledged.” You have the ability to send an acknowledgement to any donation in Donor Management – and that includes soft-credited donations, too!

Otherwise, if you’ve already sent an acknowledgement to your soft-credited donor, then you can check that box off so it reflects correctly.

Once competed, you can click on the “Save & Exit,” and the soft credit should now be recorded in Donor Management successfully!

Frequently Asked Questions on Soft Credits

Do we need to send a tax receipt for a soft-credited donation?

No, soft credits aren’t tax deductible, so you don’t need to send a tax receipt (and our automated system won’t send one, either). However, we do recommend sending an acknowledgement instead, to recognize that the soft-credited donor played a role in your organization receiving a gift or donation.

How can we track a donor's soft credits?

When a soft credit is added for a donor, you’ll notice that the stats next to the graph in their donor profile has updated to include “Soft Credits (YTD).”

This total lets you easily see how your contact has helped to bring in donations from other contributors.

Do soft credits impact any other totals for each donor?

No, soft credits don’t impact any other totals, nor do they impact a donor’s listed status (such as lapsed, active, etc.)

They also won’t be listed as a donation when you send donation summary-related communications – which is another reason why we recommend you send an acknowledgement to those soft-credited donors instead!

Can soft credits be applied to a donor's pledge?

Not quite. In general, a pledge should only reflect the amount that a donor intends to personally contribute to your organization. The amount that they have given directly is the only amount that can be applied to a pledge – so linking a soft credit to a pledge isn’t an option within Donor Management.

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