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Blood cancer charity launches in-house Pledgeit crowdfunding site

Howard Lake | 30 November 2012 | News

Blood cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research has launched Pledgeit, which it claims is "the first crowdfunding website to be built in-house by a charity".

The service lets people challenge their friends to do something different and raise funds for the charity while they do so. This could be something funny or aspirational, whether it is writing a book, doing stand-up comedy, or performing at a concert.

Once a challenge has been set and shared via social media, other friends can chip in with pledges. They too can share the event with their friends and contacts. At the end of the challenge the person is crowned a “pledgend”, and all the money raised goes to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.


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Pledgeit is designed to reverse the popular fundraising approach in which a person decides to do an event or challenge and then asks friends for sponsorship.



Thomas Muirhead, head of digital at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, said: "Pledgeit is based on the crowdfunding concept, where lots of people donate small sums of money to a project. We hope people will challenge each other to inspirational activities they will remember forever. Now is the time to encourage your friends to do the things they have always talked about doing, but have never quite managed.”

Initially all money raised will go to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. The platform will subsequently be made available to other charities in due course.

Why in-house?

Muirhead told UK Fundraising why the charity had chosen the in-house route.

  1. Although there are lots of crowdfunding platforms available, none of them work in the same way as Pledgeit: the model did not yet exist where someone sets up and controls the challenge, and the money is only released if the challenge is completed by another party.
  2. We don't pay any percentage fee, as we would if using an external platform.
  3. The data is ours. Many crowdfunding platforms release very little data. For example, there may be opportunities to analyse trends in challenges that are set up to gain insight that can be fed into fundraising planning.
  4. All lessons learned are kept in-house – developing staff and improving our knowledge.
  5. We will be integrating it directly with our CRM system and web platform (CiviCRM and Drupal respectively).
  6. We can see opportunities for using similar functionality in other ways
  7. We can see opportunities to expand the usage of Pledgeit as a platform – perhaps for other charities too
  8. We like to stretch and develop our people.

The platform has cost around £20,000 so far, but the charity is confident in can recoup that within six months if 12 or so challenges are completed that raise a similar amount to that achieved by a London Marathon runner.