UPDATE: We’ve published a newer more up to date version of this article for 2015.
This year online fundraising already makes up 30% of all charitable donations. Arguments against going online for fundraising are decreasing, but there are so many tools you can use it can be difficult to know which one is the best. So, we’ve put together a list of the most popular fundraising platforms and compared their popularity, price and social presence, to help you out.
First off, which is the most popular. The amount of traffic each website gets dictates how likely your fundraising campaign is going to be seen. Obviously, the greater the sites popularity the greater chance you have. Below is a table of the fundraising sites that get the most traffic, based on data from Alexa.com data.
*These fundraising tools are part of a larger company, so accurate data cannot be acquired.
Now, popularity isn’t everything. Fundraising platforms cost money to keep running. A few donations through a cheaper platform may end up more useful than a lot through a more expensive one. Here are a few types of charges you might encounter on these websites.
- Set-up fee – A one-off payment before you get started. In our top ten there are only two sites that ask for this, Virgin Money Giving (£120) and Bmycharity (£150). For charities wishing to run a lot of campaigns these charges might not be too much of a problem, even for charities that run one huge campaign these charges might be outweighed by other factors.
- Subscription – A recurring fee paid throughout your membership. In our top ten there is only one website that charges a subscription fee, and that is the most popular one, JustGiving. The £15 a month charge could be enough to put off those charities who run few campaigns, but for the prolific JustGiving’s popularity can make it worthwhile.
- Commission – A fee calculated based on a percentage of the amount you raise. Usually this is between 2% and 5%. Of our ten chosen, only Bmycharity, Charity Giving and MyDonate don’t take a commission, whereas JustGiving takes 5%.
- Card processing – All debit and credit cards transactions cost a small amount of money. This is usually 1.45% but can vary from card to card. All of the websites charge for this fee.
Most of these websites also offer social media integration to varying degrees. Using social media to bolster your fundraising campaign can make the difference between success and failure. Twitter users are the most generous of the social media world with each donation from them averaging around £30 according to data from JustGiving. Fundraising platforms often tweet and retweet links to charities campaigns on their sites. So how well does each platform do on Twitter? We’ve compared how well each site has done to the last time we looked at charity fundraising platforms in 2010.
Though Twitter often finds the most generous donors the majority of people are found through Facebook. Awareness of your campaign can be raised through people liking and sharing links to it. Surprisingly few of our top ten actually have dedicated Facebook pages. However, the ones that do also happen to be the most popular. JustGiving and Virgin Money Giving also have Facebook apps, which make donating and sharing even easier.
One consideration that need to be taken into account which we couldn’t put into a table is personal preference. Each website offers a different experience, some which might appeal to you more than they do to others.
There are also some more unusual alternatives that don’t follow the traditional funding approach. Such as Guess2Give, a website that uses a mini-raffle system in which a small part of the funds raised is given as a prize to one of the donors. This encourages people to donate, however you’ll receive less of the donations raised.
There is no one website that can be singled out as the best; each has it’s own strengths and weaknesses. We’ve only compiled a basic overview of some of the most popular to give you a place to start looking. Do some more research to find out which one will be the best fit for your charity.
There are similar guides to be found at the Money Saving Expert and Third Sectorwebsites, for further information and comparisons.
For some other great resources, check out Fundraising.co.uk and Guardian Voluntary Sector. If you want some more help feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if there is a fundraising website that you use and love that we’ve missed, then let us know about it in the comments section below.