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Online appeal raises £52,000 for injured Iraqi boy

Howard Lake | 20 May 2003 | News

An emergency appeal launched by a small charity has raised £52,000 online before Gift Aid. This represents 20% of the appeal’s total of £250,000.

The Limbless Association has raised more than £52,000 online before Gift Aid with its appeal for 12-year-old Ali Ismaeel Abbas, who lost both his arms in a bombing raid on Baghdad.

Almost half of the money raised online, or £24,422, was donated during the first three days, and £1,713 was raised in the first hour alone.


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The appeal was hosted by online donation service Justgiving. The company took less than an hour to deliver the secure donation facility for the appeal, just in time for the Limbless Association’s appearance on BBC TV.

“The Justgiving facility was incredibly useful to us,” said Kiera Roche of the Limbless Association. “In the first few days of the appeal, when our switchboard was often overwhelmed, our Web site was taking more than 40% of all donations. This shows that, without an online service, we would have lost a significant amount of donations.”

More than 50% of gifts were made from overseas, many of them overnight.

Justgiving’s system includes an automatic Gift Aid reclaim, so the appeal will receive a further £6,549 from the Treasury. “By contrast, we are now facing the huge task of handling all offline donations and posting hundreds of Gift Aid declarations to donors. Justgiving undoubtedly helped reduce our administration burden,” added Kiera Roche.

For many years it has been clear that emergency appeals are very well suited to the Internet. The Limbless Association’s success demonstrates that smaller organisations can benefit from this situation. Of course Ali’s Fund and his story has benefited from extensive and ongoing TV coverage. Nevertheless, without the online giving facility, the appeal would undoubtedly have lost many donations. As it is, the amount raised online for Ali’s Fund represents over 6% of the Limbless Association’s annual income.

Zarine Kharas, CEO of Justgiving, said: “The online success of Ali’s Fund demonstrates the benefits of online fundraising for smaller charities.”