Ten UK Charity Fundraising Websites Compared 2015
Choosing the right fundraising website is crucial. Whether you’re a charity or an individual, making the right decision in fundraising platforms could be the difference between being able to give £10 or £10,000 to your cause.
How do you make that decision though? There are so many different options, choosing the site which is best suited to your fundraising needs can be difficult. Back in 2012 we wrote about our favourites at the time, but after a couple of years we’ve decided we’re due for an update. So here are our ten UK Charity Fundraising websites compared 2015.
In the years since our last look at fundraising platforms, there have been a lot of changes. Fresh new platforms have begun to make a name for themselves, and some established ones have closed doors.
This change in climate made us rethink how we chose which platforms to compare. It took much deliberation and discussion, but in the end we managed to pick our 10. Some of these featured in our 2012 article, some are brand new, all of them offer something unique.
We’ve crunched the numbers, feature tables and social media figures to give you clues about what platform’s best for you. Whatever options you’re interested in, though, make sure you try them out – as we can’t put subjective things like ease-of-use in a comparison table.
So, what are we looking for in a fundraising platform? Well, the first is…
One of the major hurdles of choosing a fundraising platform is understanding the fees. Each site structures their fees differently, so we’ve got our head around it and boiled it down into an estimate of the fees you’ll pay to raise £1000. The main fees that you’ll incur are:
- Set-up fee – A one-off fee that you’ll have to pay when signing up. An upfront payment like this may be off-putting, but if you’re going to be doing a lot of fundraising, then it may be worth it.
- Subscription – A fee which has to be paid on a regular basis, this can be monthly, like JustGiving requires, or yearly, like LocalGiving.
- Commission – These are the administration fees that the fundraising platform take.
- Payment processing – Depending on what method of payment used, there may also be additional fees.
|Commission Taken||Additional charges||Fees and VAT (per £1000 donations + Gift Aid)|
|JustGiving||5%||£15 per month||£79|
|Virgin Money Giving||2%||£120 sign-up fee||£35|
|The Big Give||4%||None||£50|
|LocalGiving||3% (+2% donation to partner charity)||£72 per year||£95|
To simplify things, we’ve come up with the above table. In the first column, there is the commission that the company takes. In the middle column you’ll find any little extras that you’ll have to pay, such as subscription fees and the sign-up charge. Finally, to make things easier, we’ve crunched some numbers and worked out how much you’ll have to pay for each £1,000 of donations (plus gift aid).
Price isn’t everything; it’s worth paying a little more for something that offers greater services. To work out whether you’re getting your money’s worth, we’ve compared the key features below.
|Sponsorship pages for individual fundraisers||Mobile app||Mobile-optimised site||Text giving||Automatically reclaims gift aid|
|Virgin Money Giving||Yes||iOS and Android||Yes||No||Yes|
|The Big Give||No||No||No||No||No|
|MyDonate||Yes||iOS and Android||Yes||No||Yes|
- Sponsorship pages for individual fundraisers – Individuals are just as likely to want to fundraise as charities. The sites that offer individual giving allow people to set up their own fundraising drives for the charity of their choice (as long as that charity is registered on the site) and get their own fancy pages to track their progress.
- Mobile app – Some platforms offer a specific mobile app to make it easier for people to donate.
- Mobile optimised site – Nowadays 37% of our internet browsing is done via mobiles and that number is increasing all the time. The sites with a mobile optimised site will appeal to a much larger audience, and therefore be likely to be able to gain a greater number of donations.
- Text giving – Text giving opens up a new way for people to give. It’s a quicker and often more impulsive action, which can lead to more donations.
- Automatically reclaims gift aid – Gift aid is an important part of any charitable donation, adding an extra 25% to its value with no added cost. Reclaiming this gift aid can be a hassle sometimes and can take time and money for the charity. As such, some platforms offer to take that hassle off charities hands and reclaim the gift aid for them.
The more popular the platform, the more likely it is people will trust it and or even have an account on there already. What’s more, if you’re hoping those super-fit marathon runners will choose your charity, you want to be in the places where people are setting up pages and searching for charities to support.
To judge which sites are the most popular we’ve compiled data from each platform’s website, along with data from alexa.com. Bear in mind throughout this article, that while we all the data we’ve gathered is correct at time of writing, it’s liable to change. That being said, let’s look at our first table –
|UK traffic rank||Sites linking in||Number of charities|
|Virgin Money Giving||2,446||5,290||9,000|
|The Big Give||66,439||336||9,750|
*These fundraising tools are part of a larger company, so accurate data cannot be acquired.
So what are we looking at here? First, the UK traffic rank – this data was gathered from alexa.com and shows how much traffic each site gets – the lower the rank, the more people have visited. Then we gathered data on how many sites are linking in to the site, which shows how many unique websites are directing traffic to the platform – the greater the number, the better. Finally, we looked at how many charities were already signed up to each service.
Social media presence
People are more likely to donate on a platform they’ve already heard of. So if a platform has a strong social media presence, then they are likely to have better brand awareness and more people will have existing accounts set up or be willing to trust the platform.
We’d love to look how each fundraising site uses every social media site, but that’s just not feasible, so we had to choose just two, and naturally we’ve gone for the most popular – Twitter and Facebook.
|Twitter name||Followers||Follower increase since 2012||Facebook presence||Likes||% increase from 2012|
|Virgin Money Giving||@VMgiving||22,200||200%||Yes||21,873||178%|
|The Big Give||@BigGive||10,200||115%||Yes||3,239||174%|
First we’ve looked at how many followers each platform has, to get a gauge on their popularity on the site. While this is by no means an accurate measurement of how well they use Twitter (for instance, a site with a few active followers is much better than one with many inactive followers) , it’s a good estimate. For those that were lucky enough to make it into our previous article, we also have the follower increase, which gives a bit of insight into how their Twitter presence has grown over the past two years.
On Facebook, working out accurate engagement stats can be a tricky task. The nebulous ‘Like’ button requires so little effort to click that it’s difficult to know whether the people who ‘Like’ your page, really actually like it. It’s still the best metric that Facebook offers though, so we’ve tracked how many ‘Likes’ each of the platforms have on Facebook and, where possible, how that compares to two years ago.
While we’ve boiled all these fundraising sites down to some easy to consume metrics, it’s important to remember that each platform is more than just a bunch of digits. There are some things that sadly we can’t put a numeric value on and stick in a table, things like personal preference and ease of donations.
Be sure to take a tour of each site, see how each one feels and which one best reflects your goals. Think about your audience and your potential donors, if they are already invested in one site then trying to get them all to switch to another might not be the best idea. Use the numbers we’ve given above as a starting point and go find the perfect platform for you.
If you’ve any questions or want some more advice then tweet us @reasondigital or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org