QuickBooks For Nonprofits: Your Questions, Answered

KindfulDecember 07, 2020

If you work for a nonprofit or have experience fundraising, you know there are a lot of things demanding your attention. Keeping things organized is essential to your success, and your finances are no different.

One of the best ways to organize your donations, expenses, and financial information is with QuickBooks for nonprofits. With its user-friendly interface and impressive suite of features, QuickBooks is an excellent way to do your nonprofit accounting without taking time away from your mission.

With that in mind, we’ve answered some of the most common questions about QuickBooks so you can ensure you’re making the right decision for your nonprofit’s accounting needs.

What does QuickBooks do?

QuickBooks is accounting software that allows you to track your donations, expenses, billing, and invoicing. QuickBooks also allows you to organize and report your financial data so that your donors and clients can better understand your impact.

product image of quickbooks dashboard
Source: QuickBooks

Nonprofit accounting software

It’s no secret that nonprofit accounting comes with unique challenges compared to for-profit accounting. Because nonprofits must keep a careful eye on their finances, it’s no surprise that many trust nonprofit accounting software like QuickBooks. With QuickBooks, you can ditch the spreadsheets and improve your accounting strategy.

Donation and grant tracking

Tracking gifts and donations is a fundamental principle of nonprofit accounting. QuickBooks allows you to edit donor profiles, track patterns in support, and create custom reports to influence outreach strategies.

QuickBooks also integrates with donation pages, plugins, payment processors, and donor management or nonprofit CRM software like Kindful so you can manage your gifts, donations, and expenses in one place without the hassle of entering things in multiple locations.


If you’re a nonprofit employee, you know better than anyone the importance of reporting. With limitless reporting capabilities, QuickBooks allows you to customize any of their 200+ built-in reports or curate your own, so you can make sure your donors, board members, colleagues, and future clients have the information they need.

Accounting automation

QuickBooks offers several automated features including recurring invoices, payroll, workflows, and data analysis. With integrated automation, you can focus on your mission knowing that your finances won’t slip through the cracks.

Which QuickBooks product is best for you?

The first thing you need to decide is whether you want to access QuickBooks online or on your desktop. QuickBooks Desktop is downloaded and installed on your computer while QuickBooks Online runs through the internet and uses the cloud to save your information. QuickBooks Online offers more accessibility and mobile capabilities that are unavailable with the Desktop version.

QuickBooks also offers payroll plans that allow you to track employee hours, calculate paychecks, and automate your taxes all in one place. Payroll is available for any QuickBooks product but is not included.

Here are the three QuickBooks products you should consider when upgrading your nonprofit’s accounting software.

QuickBooks Desktop

QuickBooks Desktop is an accounting software installed and accessed on your computer. There are three versions—Pro, Premier, and Enterprise—which differ in the number of users they accommodate and industry-specific features they offer.

Pros: If owning your accounting software is important to you, QuickBooks Desktop is the best choice. Unlike the online options, QuickBooks Desktop is downloaded to your computer, and all of your information is stored on your computer’s hard drive. Users also prefer QuickBooks Desktop because it doesn’t rely on internet speed.

Cons: Though QuickBooks Desktop does not rely on internet speed, its features are not accessible anywhere. Unlike QuickBooks Online products, QuickBooks Desktop does not have mobile capabilities. Additionally, QuickBooks Desktop requires you to manually save your information, unlike QuickBooks Online products, which automatically save your information to the cloud.

managing your users in quickbooks
Source: QuickBooks

QuickBooks Online Plus

QuickBooks Online Plus is perfect for smaller nonprofits that sell products or services. With features including a mobile app and automatic cloud-saving, QuickBooks Online Plus allows you to enact your accounting strategy on the fly and spend more time with your donors and clients.

Pros: QuickBooks Online Plus is set apart from QuickBooks’s products for individuals in its ability to track profitability and inventory by project. This function is especially useful for nonprofits that sell products or services because it allows you to keep your sales, revenues, and donations all in one place.

Cons: QuickBooks Online Plus does not offer the robust analytics of QuickBooks Online Advanced. This might slow you down if your accounting strategy requires you to quickly respond to fluctuations in your financial data.

tracking your income and costs in quickbooks
Source: QuickBooks

QuickBooks Online Advanced

QuickBooks Online Advanced is perfect for larger and growing nonprofits that need more robust analytics and automation. With QuickBooks Online Advanced, you get the same perks of mobile accounting as QuickBooks Online Plus with critical additions that increase speed and make accounting work for you.

Pros: With the ability to track financial and non-financial KPIs, quickly organize your accounting data by department or period, and create presentations from your data, QuickBooks Online Advanced does most of the work for you. QuickBooks Online Advanced also allows you to batch invoices, bills, and transaction sheets, so it takes you less time to balance your accounting.

Cons: At $75/month, this is by far the most expensive option. That said, its impressive suite of features makes it a worthwhile investment.

Does QuickBooks work with other nonprofit software?

QuickBooks prides itself on its ability to collect all of your relevant accounting data in one place. They’re successful thanks to the quantity and breadth of their supported integrations.

For example, QuickBooks integrates several apps that allow you to pay your bills, manage payroll, track your expenses, fundraise on the go, and identify new and recurring donors. With all of your financial data in one place, you know where to go to access the information you need.

Additionally, if you’re looking for a donor management or nonprofit CRM software that works with QuickBooks, the Kindful integration allows you to two-way sync with QuickBooks for real-time updating, contact management, and financial reporting.

What is QuickBooks’s nonprofit pricing?

QuickBooks pricing depends on the plan you choose and whether you use QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online. For example, QuickBooks Desktop starts at $299.99/yr and is purchased as downloadable software and then renewed every year. QuickBooks Online (Plus) starts at $70/month and works like a month-to-month subscription.

QuickBooks also offers nonprofit discounts through TechSoup, a company that connects nonprofits with tech products they need. With so many options to choose from, make sure you’re getting the features you need at the price you want.

How easy is QuickBooks to use?

Maybe you’re thinking, “With all those features, integrations, and capabilities, QuickBooks must be difficult to use.” Fortunately, QuickBooks understands how challenging accounting already is. They make it simple with an eye-catching display and built-in features that increase efficiency.

QuickBooks Online gives you access to their mobile app which allows you to enter transactions, record expenses, and send reports on the go at any time. The mobile app also syncs your information to the cloud, so you don’t have to worry about things slipping through the cracks.

example of quickbooks mobile application
Source: QuickBooks

QuickBooks also comes with video tutorials that give you step-by-step instructions to walk you through several key procedures. They also have an extensive FAQ area and a team of Advisors standing by to help you with any other issues that might arise.

QuickBooks, alongside its integrations, is built to balance your finances and keep you organized simultaneously. With QuickBooks, you can take your eyes off the spreadsheet and get back to the valuable work of making the world a better place.

Are there alternatives to QuickBooks for nonprofits?

Though QuickBooks is the most popular nonprofit accounting software, it’s important to consider other options to ensure you’re making the right choice for your nonprofit.

For example, Aplos is an excellent option if you’re looking for accounting software designed specifically for nonprofits. With ease-of-use activity tracking, asset management, budgeting, and forecasting, this cloud-based software is a viable alternative for nonprofit-centered accounting.

Intacct is another nonprofit-focused accounting software that offers many of the same features as Aplos. It boasts an attractive interface and comprehensive training options for a variety of levels.

Unlike QuickBooks, these alternatives lack payroll features; however, if that’s not an issue, their focus on nonprofits, specifically, makes them attractive options.

Schedule a live demo with our partner Bloomerang, and we’ll show you how easy it is to create and automate reports, utilize online and offline fundraising tools, quickly integrate and access all your data, and ultimately create more time to engage your donors.

Filed Under:   Donor Management