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Recording soft credits

Track the value of payments to people and organisations when they're not the payer or donor.

Updated over a week ago

Seeing the amount that someone has donated is easy. But what if that donation was given to you via someone else, or because someone promoted your cause at their office? How do you assign value to those other people, or organisations, that had a hand in that money coming to you?

This process is sometimes called 'soft crediting'; you're crediting someone else for a payment, even though it wasn't their money.

General approach

A good general definition of the recipient of a soft credit would be:

"The person or organisation that is responsible for this money coming to us"

In Beacon, that contact should be linked in the 'Fundraiser' field on a Payment record. After all - a fundraiser is just that; someone who is the reason why another person has given money to you!


  • 'Payer' field = 'Hard credit'
    The person or organisation whose money this is

  • 'Fundraiser' field = 'Soft credit'
    The person or organisation that is responsible for this money coming to us

Soft crediting examples

...and how to store them!

Peer to peer fundraising

"Ada is running the London Marathon this year to raise money for your charity. They have set up a fundraising page and encouraged their friends and family to donate in support of their run. Their brother Matt has donated £40."

Peer to peer fundraising is perhaps the easiest example! We'd add the donation as:

  • A £40 payment from Matt (as the 'Payer'), soft crediting Ada (as the 'Fundraiser') since they're the reason he's donated to you.

Note: If you're using our JustGiving or Enthuse apps, this is how the information will automatically be set for donations you've received.

Paying in fundraising

"Greg did a whip around at the office as part of his ongoing fundraising for your cause. He collected £120 from a variety of coworkers and sent you a cheque in the post for that amount."

Greg has given you £120 of donations, but it's not actually Greg's money - Greg is the fundraiser even though he gave you the donation! We don't know who the original donors are, so we would add it to Beacon as:

  • A £120 payment with no donor (leaving 'Payer' blank), soft crediting Greg (as the 'Fundraiser') since he's the reason that money came to you.

This would be stored the same way when a company collects donations from their customers or staff, such as collection tins.

Tip: If Greg had included some of his own money, split that out from the rest of the donation, setting Greg as the payer.

Donations from spouses/partners

"Caolan has a close relationship with your charity, but he doesn't pay income tax. Since his wife Orfhlaith does pay income tax, to boost their £20 donation he asks her to make the donation on his behalf so that you can claim Gift Aid."

Orfhlaith has made a donation to you, but we want to make sure that Caolan still gets credit for being the reason why that donation has come to you. They would be recorded in the payment like so:

  • A £20 payment from Orfhlaith (as the 'Payer'), soft crediting Caolan (as the 'Fundraiser') since they're the reason the donation has been made.

Major donor introductions

"Genevieve has introduced you to François, a friend of hers that could make a major donation to your charity. After careful stewarding, François sends you a cheque for £1000."

Francois has made a donation, but it wouldn't have been possible without Genevieve! To make sure that value is recorded and able to be tracked, we want to add it to Beacon as:

  • A £1000 payment from François (as the 'Payer'), soft crediting Genevieve (as the 'Fundraiser) since we wouldn't have received the donation without her introduction.

Employer donation matching

"Mabel donates to your charity through payroll giving. Her employer, Company & Co., matches any donations she makes. This month, Mabel donated £100 and Company & Co. matched that with an extra £100."

In this example two parties have donated to you, so we would want to store both of them as the 'hard credit' or payer/donor. Therefore we would have two payment records:

  1. A £100 payment from Mabel (as the 'Payer')

  2. A £100 payment from Company & Co. (as the 'Payer'), soft crediting Mabel (as the 'Fundraiser') since she's the reason that the employer has donated to you.

Tip: If you have the split payments feature, you can also create a single £200 payment, and split it. See our section below on soft crediting with split payments.

Splitting payments

Sometimes a payment may need to be soft credited in an uneven way. Perhaps the value of a donation needs to be split across multiple fundraisers, or someone is only responsible for part of a donation that you've received. To easily record this we can use the split payments feature to accurately enter it into Beacon.

Split a payment in the usual way, but click the 'Choose fields' button to include the 'Fundraiser' field. You can now soft credit part of the payment, or soft credit different amounts to different people.

For instance, taking the employer matching example above, we'd split a single £200 payment into two £100 splits:

Or perhaps you had three volunteers who jointly helped land a large donation from a corporate partner, and you want to soft credit a third of the donation each:

Measuring impact

You'll likely want to see and report on someone's direct donations, as well as the value of donations they've been soft credited with, and it's useful to have these numbers both individually and combined!

Metric cards

The easiest way to quickly see the value of direct payments and fundraising (hard and soft credits) is to use metric cards. These might be on individual People records (to see it individually) or you might create them on your dashboard (to see global totals).

If you'd like to report on direct payments on People records, use the 'Payer' field as the 'Related field' in the card's settings. To report on fundraising, use the 'Fundraiser' field as the related field. Optionally, set a filter for 'Type is Donation'.

If you'd like to report on all direct payments or fundraising (i.e. the value of all hard or soft credits) you can add metric cards to your dashboard. To see the value of direct payments, simply sum the value of amounts on Payments. To see how much of that value was due to fundraising / soft credits, create the same card but add a filter for 'Fundraiser is not blank'.

Rollup & smart fields

If you'd like to be able to include these values in exports, or add them as columns in your list views, or see a combined figure, you can create a couple of fields to make this information easily accessible:

  1. 'Total payments' rollup field

  2. 'Total fundraising' rollup field

  3. 'Total impact' smart field

'Total payments' rollup field:

'Total fundraising' rollup field:

'Total impact' smart field:

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