What Is Gusto and How Can Your Nonprofit Use It?


As you grow and your payroll process gets more complicated, it is time to start considering one of the best payroll services for nonprofits. However, conducting research on this topic can be a daunting task, as there are so many options out there. We are here to help with this! 

In this article, we take a closer look at what Gusto offers in terms of features and prices for payroll management.

Let’s go! 

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Gusto for Nonprofits: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Gusto is a payroll and HR management software that simplifies payroll transactions, vendor payments, and other financial operations. Gusto automates the entire process, so even individuals without payroll experience spend an average of five minutes on it each day. 

While it is designed for businesses and corporations, many nonprofits use Gusto too. Their operations are set up in much the same way as for-profit businesses. Both types of organizations must pay employees, deduct employee taxes, and comply with other IRS and state laws. Gusto takes the guesswork out of all of these tasks. 

gusto-for-nonprofits-gusto-for-nonprofitsSadie is excited to learn more about Gusto for nonprofits!

Gusto Features

So why use Gusto as a nonprofit? Let’s take a look at some features that this software gives users access to: 

  • Automatic deductions and filings

  • Time tracking tools

  • Hiring and onboarding

  • Project tracking

  • Employee benefits, such as health insurance and retirement accounts

  • Expense tracking

  • Gusto wallet app

All of these time- and effort-saving features are just as relevant for nonprofits as they are for traditional businesses.

How Much Does Gusto Cost for Nonprofits?

While Gusto does not have special pricing for nonprofit organizations, it does offer several tiers of membership that allow you to balance what you want and need with what your budget allows. These Gusto pricing membership tiers include:

  • Gusto Simple: This is a basic, reliable payroll system without a lot of extras. It is ideal for small and up-and-coming nonprofits that want affordable automation. The base price is $40 per month plus an additional $6 per person per month. 

  • Gusto Plus: This more comprehensive program includes customization, multi-state payroll, and other features. It is better for mid-size and large nonprofits. The base price is $80 per month plus $12 per person per month. 

  • Gusto Premium: This is a custom service that offers Gusto’s full range of tools. You have to speak to one of the vendor’s customer service representatives for pricing information. 


How To Set Up Gusto for Your Nonprofit

Now that you have an idea of both the features and costs of Gusto, we need to do a quick overview of how to set up the Gusto software for your nonprofit organization. 

Step 1: Add Your Company Address 

The first step in your account setup is adding your company address or addresses. After you add an address, you tell Gusto what type of address it is. You select from the following: 

  • Work location

  • Mailing address

  • Filing address

Step 2: Add Your Employees

To add employees into the system, simply click "Add Employees," and follow the prompts. You can also add contractors, volunteers, and vendors to this system. It directs you to add basic information, including their name, address, and start date. You also add compensation, PTO, and any tax exemptions. Finally, you can view the documents that the new employee needs to sign and invite them to do so. 

Gusto makes you add one employee at a time, which can be a time-consuming process if you are a large organization; however, you can choose to have each employee add their own details. The system can send the employee an email asking them to fill out their profile information.  

Step 3: Add Your Federal Tax Details

Gusto can take care of employer federal tax returns and deposits. The system asks for your Employer Identification Number (EIN) and company type. 

Step 4: Add Your Bank Account

Next, it is time to add the bank account that your nonprofit uses so that Gusto can debit you for your employee wages, applicable taxes, and monthly software fee. It does not accept credit cards or savings accounts; you must link a bank checking account. You can either link and verify your account instantly through Plaid or fill out the included form and wait one to two days for verification. 

gusto-for-nonprofits-how-to-set-upSalma is ready to add her bank info!

Step 5: Set Up Your Pay Schedule and Report Previous Payments

It now directs you to set up a pay schedule. If you are unsure what is going to work best for your organization, Gusto offers advice on its blog. The system also prompts you to report previous payrolls, if applicable. This is an involved process with a lot of steps, but the website walks you through it. 

Step 6: Sign All Paperwork

Finally, it is time to e-sign a few forms to authorize Gusto to debit your bank account and file your payroll taxes. Gusto requires that your signatory be a board member or another authorized representative. 

Pro Tip: While the onboarding process is fairly simple, it cannot hurt to work with a customer service representative to ensure that you get it right the first time. This is especially true if you do not have a lot of experience with payroll or IT. 


Alternatives to Gusto for Your Nonprofit

If you do not think that Gusto is right for you or simply want to research all of your options, here is a list of some similar payroll services that you can check out. You may have to search harder to find cheap or free nonprofit payroll software, but there are many economical solutions available. 

Pro Tip: Before we discuss our top picks for Gusto alternatives, know that there are a lot of other apps out there. Even popular companies, such as QuickBooks, Expensify, and ADP, work with nonprofits. Whether you go for one of these mainstream options or choose from our list below, you have many alternatives to Gusto at your fingertips. 


This cloud-based payroll and HR management service is designed to support organizations, both large and small, in any industry. It offers:

  • Time tracking

  • Payroll tax support

  • Direct deposit

  • Employee mobile app

  • Paper checks

  • Manager mobile app

  • Benefit administration

Paycom does not offer transparent pricing information on its website. You have to contact its customer service team to find out how much any of its services cost. 


An all-in-one payroll and HR solution, Eddy caters to frontline workforces in construction and other deskless industries. It offers modest pricing that makes it reachable for smaller organizations. Its key features include:

  • Customizable, detailed employee profiles

  • Workforce directory

  • Onboarding packets

  • Recruiting platform

  • PTO tracking

  • Automatic tax filing

  • Training 

  • Performance reviews

Eddy has a base plan of $49 per month, with an additional monthly charge starting at $8 per employee. Users can also add other modules, such as applicant tracking, for additional fees. 


Paychex is a payroll service for businesses of any size. However, Paychex Flex is specifically designed for small companies and organizations that employ 50 people or less. This stripped-down version of the comprehensive accounting software offers payroll without the HR for small nonprofits that want a more economical solution. Its features include:

  • Direct deposit

  • Paper checks 

  • Payroll taxes

  • Self-service employee portal

  • Time tracking

  • Accounting software integration

There are three pricing tiers for Paychex Flex. Essentials costs $39 per month plus $5 per employee per month. Select and Pro are custom-built based on your organization’s needs, so you have to reach out to a customer service representative to see how much they are going to cost you. 

Bamboo HR

Bamboo HR is a cloud-based HR management system that has mostly small and mid-size customers. It offers the following tools and features:

  • Self-service employee portal

  • Customized dashboards and reports

  • Automated time-off management

  • Global settings

Bamboo HR offers a free trial, so you can try before you buy. Pricing can be a bit involved, starting at $59 per month for up to 12 employees. Additional employees add $8.25 per month per employee. You also pay extra fees to run payroll, performance management, and tracking features.  

gusto-for-nonprofits-alternativesTrish is contemplating some Gusto alternatives.

TimeClock Plus

TimeClock Plus offers time tracking and attendance for both large and small businesses. Users can upgrade to TimeClock Plus On Demand for access to a full-service cloud-based payroll solution. This platform is fully customizable, so you can build in only the tools that your organization needs. These features may include:

  • Vacation and leave tracking

  • Self-service employee portal

  • Time and attendance

  • Reporting and analytics

Unfortunately, this is another vendor that does not offer its pricing options online. You have to reach out to one of its customer service representatives. 

Pro Tip: Selecting the perfect payroll and HR software solution for your nonprofit organization is an important task. Therefore, team effort is key. Form a committee of employees to decide which features are must-haves and which features are nice-to-haves in addition to what your budget can handle. Select a representative to research the different companies and come back with a comprehensive report on them. Then, the committee can use this data to make an educated choice for your organization.


Final Thoughts

Selecting a payroll service can be an involved task, but it still saves you both time and money by automating your process. Gusto is a viable HR and payroll solution with its streamlined, efficient services. However, if you would prefer an alternative to Gusto, we have you covered as well. So, try a nonprofit software program today!

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💡How can nonprofits use Gusto?

Gusto is a payroll and HR software that works for businesses and nonprofits of all sizes. It can help with time tracking, tax deduction, and more. Find out more. 

🔑 How much does Gusto cost for nonprofits?

Gusto has three pricing tiers that start at $40 per month plus $6 per employee per month. Find out more. 

📝 What are some alternatives to Gusto for nonprofits?

There are several other payroll and HR software vendors that cater to nonprofits, including Paycom, Expensify, Paychex, Eddy, Bamboo HR, and TimeClock Plus. Find out more.


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