Gift and Giving Terminology in Kindful

Nonprofits use different words to refer to transactions, donations, and gifts. The goal of this article is to clarify meaning by defining a common vocabulary for Kindful.

Kindful defines the following terms:

Transaction: A transaction where money is exchanged directly between the contact (typically referred to as a donor) and the nonprofit organization. Sometimes a transaction is differentiated from a "soft credit" by referring to it as a "hard money" transaction. Transactions typically have accounting and/or tax-receipting implications and count towards your bottom line.

Soft Credit: A soft credit is a record you can add to a contact when they have given to a nonprofit indirectly through another contact. This typically happens through something like a donor-advised fund, through a husband/wife, or through a foundation. Soft Credits do not have accounting or tax-receipting implications. We can think of this as a way to understand a contact’s impact on a nonprofit when they did not give “directly” to the nonprofit.

Non-Cash Gift: When non-currency is exchanged directly between a contact and a nonprofit organization, there is not an exact, objective value to the gift. However, a nonprofit may still want to assign an approximate or appraised value to the gift as a means of capturing the positive impact the contact has made upon the organization. Non-Cash Gifts are not “currency” in Kindful. For United States nonprofits, Non-Cash Gifts do not appear in Year-End Tax Summaries.

Contribution: Kindful uses a more inclusive term, “contribution”, to talk about Transactions, Soft Credits, and Non-Cash Gifts in aggregate. A Contact’s contribution summarizes the contact’s direct and indirect financial impact on a nonprofit organization (through transactions, soft credits, and non-cash gifts). When you see "Contribution" in Kindful, it means transactions and/or non-cash gifts and/or soft credits.

Some historical context about revising our terminology

In the past, Kindful has used different words to refer to the same thing. For example, "donation", "transaction", and "gift" may have all referred to the same concept: an exchange of currency. This has been ambiguous and at times hard for users to know and understand what each term means. We have sought to make our terminology consistent in order to improve understanding and usability inside Kindful.

There will still be a few places in Kindful with legacy “Gift” or “Giving” verbiage, notably in report column headers. When “Gift” or “Giving” appears in a report column header, it refers to “transactions” only.

Name in Kindful

Relates to Tax Receipting?

Other Common Names



Gift, Donation,


Soft Credit



Non-Cash Gift

Not in the US

In-Kind Gift, Noncash Donation



Gift, Donation, Giving


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