Our Comprehensive Review of ADP for Nonprofits


If you have been considering purchasing a human resources management software, chances are, you have probably come across ADP.

So, what exactly does this brand offer for nonprofit payroll? Is it worth the price tag? And, most importantly, is it right for your organization? We have conducted a full-scale review to help you get answers to these questions and more.

Read on to learn about one of the best payroll services for nonprofits out there!

Let’s go!

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An Introduction to ADP

Payroll software, also known as human resources software, is designed to automatically manage a variety of operating tasks for businesses and nonprofits such as payroll, recruiting, training, and taxes

ADP (which stands for Automatic Data Processing) is an easy-to-use payroll software, and it is also one of the largest payroll solutions in the world. Nearly 26 million workers were serviced by ADP in 2021, according to their latest annual report. And not only is it trusted by for-profit corporations, it is also one of the best payroll services for nonprofits. 

adp-non-profit-introAnthony is ready to dive into ADP!

ADP is a comprehensive program with many platforms to choose from, which can be customized to fit the needs of any type of company. What services are offered depends on the platform you appoint and the size of your nonprofit or business. In the next section we will break down the features of each ADP solution so you can get a better idea of which one will help you manage your organization’s payroll (and more) with ease!


Main Features

Each overview listed below discusses the most pertinent specs of ADP’s array of programs, which grant your nonprofit organization the ability to put at least some of your HR needs into the hands of a more experienced platform - one that combines an automated (and highly effective) software with a group of knowledgeable individuals who will take the guesswork out of many of your operational needs!     

RUN Powered by ADP 

When it comes to small businesses or nonprofits, acquiring full-time HR support is not always in the budget. As a response to this dilemma, ADP offers RUN Powered by ADP, a cloud-based HR platform and payroll software that was designed for businesses with 1-49 employees. It provides 24/7 support from certified payroll experts, which can be incredibly helpful to companies without a dedicated IT team. It can be purchased in one of four packages. 

Essential Payroll comes with the following features: 

  • Payroll processing (basic services)

  • Tax Filing capabilities

  • Direct Deposit function

  • New hire reporting

Enhanced Payroll offers the features listed above, but expands on them to include the following:

  • Prepaid debit cards that can be reloaded when needed

  • Check signing

  • Poster compliance

  • Unemployment insurance and wage garnishment

Complete Payroll adds these tools to the two previous lists:

  • HR compliance checkups

  • A team of HR experts for dedicated support

  • Job description wizard

  • Healthcare compliance

Finally, HR Pro gives you all features listed above, but adds available prepaid services from LegalShield, an ADP partner. 

Best for: Smaller nonprofits that find it easier and more cost-effective to use software for payroll and other HR tasks. 

ADP Workforce Now

For mid-sized businesses and nonprofits with staff ranging from 50-999 employees, ADP offers their Workforce Now platform. It provides expanded resources, including solutions for compliance, administration, and even recruiting. This all-in-one software features the following modules:

  • HR Management

  • Payroll and Taxes

  • Benefits (including ACA compliance)

  • Time and Labor

  • Talent Management Services

There are also several add-ons that are not a part of the standard package, but can be chosen à la carte. These include:

  • Employee scheduling

  • Custom reporting tools

  • Absence management

  • Retirement services

Best For: Mid-sized nonprofits with a larger budget for payroll and HR services, who need more features to match the increased and more varied needs of their organization, as well as its expansion and growth. 

adp-non-profit-main-featuresMatt is checking out some of ADP's main features now!

ADP TotalSource

This PEO, or professional employer organization, allows your company to partner with ADP in a co-employment relationship to outsource your HR needs. This system is available in different sizes to accommodate small, mid-sized, and large businesses; it allows them to have complete control over their day-to-day employee management. You can make changes to your ADP service through the ADP MyTotalSource Web Profile, a portal that also allows employees to login and manage their payroll. 

In return for adopting this program, ADP assumes legal risk for any potential issues and essentially becomes the "employer" for tax purposes. They manage taxes, payroll, employee benefits and recruiting. They even take care of ACA compliance, training employees, and overseeing termination paperwork. Utilizing ADP TotalSource is like outsourcing an entire HR department.

Best For: Mid-sized to larger nonprofits (as this software can become rather pricey, even though it can service small companies) that want to outsource all of their HR tasks. 

ADP SmartCompliance 

If your nonprofit payroll system is already in place, and you are simply looking for something to fill in any potential compliance gaps, then ADP SmartCompliance is designed for you. This modular service integrates with a number of popular human capital management (HCM) systems and offers compliance management for the following:

  • Wage payments

  • Employment taxes

  • Tax credits

  • Wage garnishments

  • W-2 Management 

  • Health compliance

  • Employment verification

This system promotes maximum efficiency within existing systems. It allows your nonprofit to take advantage of any available tax credits and government incentives, comply with all existing nonprofit payroll laws, and follow any relevant guidelines. Utilizing this system ensures you not only provide proper compensation to your employees, but make use of every resource the IRS awards to charity organizations.

Best For: Mid-sized nonprofits that are concerned about remaining compliant with payroll rules and regulations, but do not have a lot of knowledge about tax law or the staff that can dedicate themselves to ensuring compliance. 



All ADP solutions are available to try with a three-month free trial. Because the software offers so many features, it is difficult to pin down prices. We have searched and found some basic pricing standards, but to get an accurate total, contact the sales team at ADP. 

For the ADP RUN Payroll platform, the basic package starts at $59 per month with an additional $4 per employee per month. These employee fees are generally due when each employee is paid. 

There may be a $25 start-up fee, but it is often waived. There may also be additional yearly fees for processing taxes; however, ADP frequently runs discounts, so it is best to hammer out a deal with one of its representatives. 

Pro Tip: Many extra fees, such as the standard start-up fee, can be waived or renegotiated at the discretion of the salesperson you are working with. Such expenses are often not obligatory - especially if you ask!

ADP Workforce Now starts at $62 per month plus a per-employee fee for the most basic program. 

ADP TotalSource prices are not listed online, but similar services can cost anywhere from $125 to $160 per month plus the per-employee fee. In addition, there may be some other fees attached to set up and tax preparation. 

ADP SmartCompliance pricing must be worked out with a representative to get any kind of estimate. 


ADP Alternatives

While ADP is a reliable and well-reviewed brand in the payroll services arena, it is not going to be the right choice for every company or nonprofit. Here are a few alternative payroll services that are worth looking into.


This brand is a good choice for smaller nonprofits. It offers an extensive menu of features, but only one service plan. Therefore, larger nonprofits will likely find that it does not offer enough customization. However, it is a steal at $36 per month plus $4 per employee per month. There are also no long-term contracts to sign or hidden fees to pay, and the customer service is top-notch, according to reviewers.


Gusto provides nonprofits with extensive HR services alongside its payroll services, so it is useful for smaller organizations that don't have dedicated HR staff. There are four plans to choose from:

  • Basic. $19 per month plus $6 per employee per month

  • Core. $39 per month plus $6 per employee per month

  • Complete. $39 per month plus $12 per employee per month

  • Concierge. $149 per month plus $12 per employee per month

Square Payroll 

Yes, this is the same Square that offers payment processing services. The payroll software is user-friendly with a straightforward interface that makes it a popular choice for smaller nonprofits (along with everyone else). It is also well-known for excellence in facilitating tax compliance for its customers. There are no binding contracts, charging $29 per month plus $5 per employee per month. 

adp-non-profit-alternativesEmily is checking out some ADP alternatives.


This payroll company has been in the business for over 50 years, so it is definitely a trusted and established brand. Though its services are extensive, it is a bit pricy, so it is best suited for mid-sized or larger nonprofits. It offer three plans, including:

  • PayChex Go. $59 per month plus $4 per month per employee

  • PayChex Flex Select. $90 per month plus additional per employee charge (unlisted)

  • PayChex Flex Enterprise. $160 per month plus additional per employee charge (unlisted)

Pro Tip: No one can tell you what payroll software is going to be the perfect match for your nonprofit. Even our above list does not get into all of the trusted brands. For example, Expensify is another nonprofit option. With that in mind, it is up to you to do the necessary research to find the right affordable - or even free - payroll software for your nonprofit organization.


Final Thoughts 

ADP is a trusted brand in the payroll software industry, with a huge customer base and strongly positive reviews. Many nonprofits are launched by passionate people who may not have all the answers to important payroll related questions like, "do nonprofits have to report salaries?" or "do nonprofits pay taxes?" Because guidelines are not always clear, it is important to use a system that can offer insights and guard against liabilities. 

Operations, reporting, and keeping employees paid (with appropriate payroll taxes applied) are essential to the smooth functioning of any organization. With a rock solid payroll and HR software like ADP, managing the operations side of your company becomes easier, and not to mention far more reliable and efficient through automation. 

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💡Is ADP a nonprofit?

ADP is not a nonprofit; it is a business that offers payroll and other HR solutions to a number of business and nonprofit organizations. Find out more. 

🔑 Is ADP good for small businesses?

It can be a good option for small businesses and nonprofits. ADP offers a lot of customization and multiple plans to build the suite of features that works best for any company. Their customer service team can help to find the most affordable option for a given business. Find out more. 

📝 What are some alternatives to ADP?

Other popular payroll software options include Paylocity, Square, Gusto, and OnPay. Their pricing structures are similar, with a set monthly fee plus a per employee per month fee (much smaller). Find out more.  

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