Top online fundraising platforms for charities

The charity sector has significantly ramped up its use of digital across a raft of operations amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pivoting services and operations online is a key way charities can help their recovery from the financial fall out of the pandemic, which has seen shops close and in-person events cancelled.

This embracing of digital is particularly prevalent with fundraising.

But, according to this year’s Charity Digital Skills Report, around two thirds of charity leaders still lack, or need to improve on, the digital skills needed to ensure their charity can adapt to challenged presented by Covid-19.

Tapping into the expertise that online fundraising platforms can offer is becoming increasingly important for charity leaders.

An example is with in-memory giving, where charity supporters are increasingly using online fundraising platforms to help them raise money in memory of a loved one. According to latest figures, in-memory giving is estimated to be worth £2bn a year.

Here we detail some of the best and emerging online fundraising platforms that can help charities and their supporters generate donations, especially at this difficult time.

JustGiving

With 22 million users globally Just Giving is one of the key players in the online fundraising platform sector.

Worldwide it has helped 25,788 charities in more than 160 countries and has so far raised £1.85bn.

As of 2019 the company waived its 5% platform fee and instead asked donors if they want to make a voluntary contribution to support the running of the site.

However, charities are asked to pay a monthly fee. This is £15 for donations of up to £15,000 a year and rises to £39 a month when raising more than £15,000 a year.

Features of the platform include setting up fundraising and campaign pages, donate buttons and widgets, insights, in-memory fundraising and Gift Aid reclaim.

CAFDonate

Run by the Charities Aid Foundation, CAF Donate offers charities the chance to create online donation forms and buttons that can be added to websites, emails and social media pages.



This is used by more than 6,000, mainly small to medium sized, charities. In 2018 it raised more than £27m for UK charities.

There is no monthly charge for this platform, instead it charges a fee depending on the type and size of donation. There is a 3.6% processing fee for one off donations, but this is reduced to 2% for regular donations.

Total Giving

Total Giving is free for charities that sign up. So far 13,000 charities have registered on the platform.

Other features are multi-language support, the ability to set up regular or one-off donations and to claim Gift Aid.

The platform also offers a ‘donation fee calculator’ function based on whether a payment is made through PayPal, direct debit, credit or debit card, Apple Pay or Bitcoin. For example a charity can receive £123.50 from a £100 donation made through Apple Pay.

Donations made through this platform go directly to the charity involved and Total Giving does not handle any money. It also offers charities the chance to link to its Facebook page and can also accept donations on this social media platform.

Crowdfunder

This platform is offering 100% free fundraising to charities during the Covid-19 pandemic that are raising funds in direct response to the crisis.

Crowdfunder is suitable for those raising money for charities as well as those looking to garner donations for personal causes.

So far more than £70m has been raised, supporting more than 650,000 people and supporting 175,000 causes. It also offers coaching in online fundraising.

Virgin Money Giving

Online fundraising platform Virgin Money Giving has been developed by Virgin Money, following its sponsorship of the London Marathon.

So far it has helped 18,000 charities in the UK and more than one million fundraisers to raise more than £750m online.



Features of this platform include promotions and marketing, weekly payment of donations to charities, fundraising data and a help desk service.

To use the services there is a one-off membership fee of £150 plus VAT, as well as a processing fee. From 2019 it offered donors the chance to cover all charity fees. Around eight out of ten donors take up this option.

GoFundMe

Features of this platform include a guarantee that all of Gift Aid goes to charities and there is no platform fee. It also features an app to help fundraisers monitor their campaign remotely.

It currently has a community of more than 50m donors globally and has helped raise more than £5bn.

GoFundMe’s insights include revealing which areas of the UK are the most generous. For example in December 2019 the most generous cities were found to be Edinburgh, Cambridge and Bath.

Localgiving

Local charities are the key beneficiaries of this fundraising platform, which gives fundraisers the chance to set up their own pages for local charities.

Localgiving can provide access to match funds, fundraising competitions and expert support.

The platform offers a small grant-giving programme. called Magic Little Grants, which has been set up with the Postcode Community Trust. It aims to award 900 grants to community products across the UK. The deadline for applications is 31 October 2020.

“Successful projects will support and inspire people to participate in sports or exercise with the primary aim of improving the physical health of participants,” according to Localgiving.

Membership of Localgiving costs £96 a year.

Givey

Small charities are the focus of fundraising platform Givey, which lets charity supporters set up a donations page as well as promote fundraising campaigning through social media.



There are no processing fees for charities, who can claim Gift Aid direct from Givey. This means that a charity will receive £12.50 for every £10 donation with Gift Aid.

For donors, there is a 5% transaction fee is in place to cover payment processing costs, platform use and development and maintenance.

There are match-funding options for businesses too, looking to help their employees fundraise. In addition, Givey offers free marketing support.

Figures released by the platform in 2019 show that it had raised 1.7m for small charities and 10,000 donors have used Givey. Meanwhile, the average donation has been £29.

The Good Exchange

Reducing fees is an increasing trend among online fundraising platforms, this includes The Good Exchange, which in 2019 removed fees for donors and funders.



The key theme of the platform is to bring together charities with grant makers as well as donors.

This involves an automated matching system via an online application for charities. This means that those seeking to raise money can access all sources of funding, including charitable trusts, corporate givers and the public.

According to the platform a total of £15m has been raised, including £9.9m in grants and £4.7m in public donations. So far more than 1,800 charities have registered.

GiveWP

GiveWP is a fundraising plug-in that can be used by charities using the Wordpress content management system for their website.

This allows charities to raise money, manage donors and gain an insight into fundraising data all from within the Wordpress website.

Features include customisable donation forms, currency switching for donors as well as the option for supporters of giving regularly. Donors can also receive receipts for their donations and download their annual contributions. Packages range between $199 and $399 (£153-£306) a year.

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