Here’s a round up of a range of the low cost or no cost online giving platforms available, what they offer, their costs, and how they manage to keep their expenses low, or non-existent.
GoFundMe is focused on peer-to-peer crowdfunding and doesn’t currently offer Gift Aid functionality. Last month it announced the scrapping of its platform fee. Its payment processor fees of 2.5% plus 20p per donation still applies and it will now be relying on voluntary tips from donors to generate income.
“We made this move because we think more money should get to the causes people choose to support, it’s as simple as that. GoFundMe is growing rapidly in the UK and we think that people will recognise our best in class security processes, customer support and commitment to giving people across the UK an easy, accessible, and great value way of helping other people.”
Editor’s note 10/12/19: GoFundMe fees are currently 2.9% + £0.25.
With Charity Choice charities set up their own personalised microsite and donation facility, while fundraisers can also create their own personalised page. There are no registration or admin fees, just a 25p card transaction fee, which comes out of the total donation amount to the charity. However, it also gives donors the option of paying this fee on top of their donation in which case the charity receives 100% of the donation.
From a £10 donation with £2.50 Gift Aid: £12.50 if the donor pays the 25p card fee. £12.25 if not.
“We do not charge the donor any additional admin fees and we do not take a percentage of Gift Aid for donating via Charity Choice. Charity Choice does not benefit in any way from the fees taken from donation – we are able to provide this for free as our funding for the platform comes from other services that Charity Choice offers. We are transparent about our fees and charges and work hard to help charities receive the maximum from each donation.”
The Wonderful Organisation offers online fundraising pages with zero fees, and no contributions requested from fundraisers or donors to help support the platform. Instead Wonderful.org is funded by corporate sponsors and donations are made exclusively via Open Banking technology (meaning payments are transferred directly to the charity’s bank account using the donor’s own online/mobile banking facility). Gift Aid can be applied to all eligible donations, but charities will need to submit Gift Aid claims themselves using the data provided.
From a £10 donation with £2.50 Gift Aid: £12.50
Kieron James, Founder of Wonderful.org, said:
“Every aspect of our operation is funded by our like-minded, philanthropic corporate sponsors. This includes ALL of our operating costs so when we say we have no fees, we really have no fees. This ensures that charities receive every single penny raised through the generosity of our fundraisers their donors – something that cannot be matched by other fundraising platforms, who deduct platform fees or ask for voluntary contributions to meet costs or generate profit.”
Wonderful.org’s listing was updated on 14 February 2021 and on 17 May 2021 to reflect new developments.
For donors or fundraisers, there are no charges with Golden Giving, which supports registered and unregistered charities. Charities and social enterprises that use Golden Giving are charged for online payments only. Other tools are provided for free. It says that for a debit card donation, it charges a platform fee of 1.75% and 0.35%+0.07p card processing fee. This works out to a total of 2.11%+0.07p. This works out as 70p for a typical donation of £30 and 28p for one of £10.
“We are a charity and do not include a profit margin on our fees. We do not have the same business functions that profit-making companies, such as GoFundMe and JustGiving, have to justify their fees. We are also supported by commercial providers, who offer their services at cost or at a reduced rate. For example, the low card-processing fee we can offer is because our card processing partners (AcceptCards and AIB Merchant Services) align with our charitable purpose.“
BT MyDonate does not charge any commission fee, subscription fee or registration fee. The only charge made against donations is the credit/debit card charge from the bank so the charity gets the whole contribution as well as the Gift Aid with no fees beyond the card processing fee of 1.3% of donation on credit cards and 15p for each debit card transaction.
“MyDonate does not charge any set up fees or commission. Donors, will however, be subject to fees charged by the card companies (a 15p flat rate fee for a debit card transaction of any size or a 1.3% credit card charge). All other costs of running the platform are subsumed by BT as a part of our commitment.”
Editor’s note, 10/12/19: BT MyDonate has now closed for donations and fundraising.
KindLink is an all-in-one platform specialising in small charities. It offers CRM software with integrated payment recording and automated Gift Aid reporting in the cloud, accessible from anywhere and lets charities to have a public donations page so anyone can make a donation. KindLink does not charge any commission on the online donations processed through it. It has a partnership with Paysafe, which enables it to charge just the 1.3% flat fee for UK and EU debit and credit cards. Currently, it says it is non-profit making but plans to become so at a later date by scaling up and building a marketing platform.
Online fundraising platform Givey works with small charities, which receive 100% of every donation and Gift Aid. Instead of charging charities a fee to use the platform or deducting a percentage of the user’s donation, it charges 5% on top of the donation amount, so a £10 donation would cost the donor £10.50 and with Gift Aid the charity would receive £12.50.
Blackbaud’s everydayhero lets charities build their own branded fundraising sites to support campaigns, appeals and in memoriam giving. Members of the public can also set up their own fundraising pages, donate and volunteer for an organisation, and see and track the voice, time and effort they put in to those activities inside their account on their personal Giving Footprint.
Registering for charities is free and there are no ongoing membership costs. Everydayhero charges a service fee plus a transaction processing fee of 4.25%, plus credit card fees of 1.6% for Visa and Mastercard and 2.8% for American Express. Donors are given the option of paying the fee themselves so that the charity gets all of the donation amount.
A range of the alternatives:
Rather than being a fundraising platform, Charity Checkout provides the technology charities need to run their own fundraising platform on their website. It lets charities set up branded fundraising pages through a range of paid for packages: Essential, Premium, and Enterprise, depending on requirements. Charities pay a processing fee, calculated at 5% of the gross donation, which includes Gift Aid; and a payment provider fee, calculated at 1.4% + 20p of the net donation, which does not include Gift Aid.
Founder Chester Mojay-Sinclare said:
“Charity Checkout provides an alternative, which comes with a 5% fee, but allows charities to have a direct relationship with their supporters via their own custom branded platform. This has been shown to help increase donations by as much as 38% and in the long term will help charities build a long-term supporter base. We’ve seen charities invest millions in their own technology to achieve these results, but with Charity Checkout they don’t have to – they can get all the benefits on a fair pay as you go model.”
Editor’s note, 10/12/19: Charity Checkout has dropped its fee with payment processing fees currently 0.5% + 20p, with Gift Aid claimed at 5%. https://www.charitycheckout.co.uk/low-fee-payments/
On £10 donation, the total to charity would be: Processing fees: £0.25, Gift Aid fee: £0.125, and total to charity: £12.125.
Virgin Money Giving
Virgin Money Giving has a one off set-up fee of £150 + VAT, and a 2% transaction fee is also charged. Fundraisers are able to personalise their fundraising pages, send out email alerts and manage their fundraising events. In addition to supporting individual and team fundraisers, Virgin Money Giving also supports Appeals, Corporate and In Memory fundraising. Charities incur a small transaction fee on donations processed and a payment processing fee to cover the costs of processing and to help Virgin Money Giving continue to invest and improve in its service.
From a £10 donation with £2.50 Gift Aid: £12.15
Jo Barnett, Executive Director at Virgin Money Giving said:
“Virgin Money Giving is a not-for-profit fundraising service that is free for fundraisers and people donating to charities. Over £590 million had been raised for charity through Virgin Money Giving since it launched in 2009. As a result an estimated £18 million more has been raised for charity because of the not-for-profit model.”
Editor’s note, 10/12/19: Virgin Money Giving now charges 2% platform fee and 2.5% payment processing fee on donations: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving/about-us/fees/
One of the best-known fundraising platforms, JustGiving is a profit-making site with higher costs for charities. It charges a 5% fee on each donation along with a card processing fee. UK charities also pay a monthly subscription fee of £15 + VAT or £39 + VAT (depending on how much thy make through donations a year) for the service.
From a £10 donation with £2.50 Gift Aid: £11.74.
Editor’s note, 21 May 2019
JustGiving changed its pricing system in March 2019, removing platform fees for UK charities. It now charges 1.9% + 20p for online donations plus 5% on Gift Aid reclaim.
The National Funding Scheme’s DONATE™ provides in-situ mobile giving. Wherever people see the DONATE™ sign asking them to support a particular campaign, they can make a donation through digital channels using their mobile device. DONATE™ combines contactless, SMS texting, Near Field Communication, QR codes and web apps into one platform meaning supporters can donate through one recognised brand via multiple channels.
If a donor does not add Gift Aid, it charges a net 4.5%, meaning the charity gets £9.55. If a donor adds Gift Aid then instead of charging the 4.5%, it keeps 45% of the Gift Aid, so the charity receives £11.38.
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