Online fundraising platforms: the small print

Online fundraising platforms: the small print

Online fundraising platforms: the small print1

Fundraising | Kirsty Weakley | 11 Dec 2012

Launches of “revolutionary” new fundraising platforms are becoming ten a penny.  So decided to take a proper look and see which are really leading the way.

Being able to take donations online has become a 'must'. But when it comes to choosing how to do that, not every solution will be right for every charity. To help you decide what to go for has investigated what you can expect as a charity from those you’ve probably heard of, as well as some you might not have.

The big three

These are the ones you and your supporters are most likely to have heard of. As well as providing a platform for individuals to raise money for chosen charities through sponsorship pages, they also offer a way for charities to collect one-off donations directly.  To register your organisation will need to be registered as a charity, either with the regulator or with HMRC. Each platform offers gift aid reclaim from the HMRC on your behalf, and each features page customisation and online support.

BT MyDonate is the only free option, as it is funded by the company as part of its corporate social responsibility objectives.

The advantage of signing up to one of these is that your supporters will probably have heard of them and will be happy to donate.

The grandad of digital fundraising, JustGiving has been around since the beginning of the millenium and now provides a range of services for charities and individuals raising money for a cause. It offers a range of services to charity members including branded profile pages, direct debit donations, event registration and appeal pages and can integrate with some of the leading CRM systems (Salesforce, supporterCRM, thankQ and Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge). By March 2012 it had raised £1bn for charities.

Launch: 2001

Number of users: More than 8,000 charities 

Fees: £15 per month plus 5 per cent fee. If giving through Barclaycard the charity will also be charged 1.3 per cent, no other banks charge fees

What the charity gets from a £10 donation (including gift aid): £11.74 (£11.58 from Barclaycard donors)



Virgin Money Giving
A five-year sponsorship with the London Marathon by Virgin Money group led to the creation of Virgin Money Giving as a not-for-profit online giving platform. In March 2012 it reached the £100m donations landmark from 2.5 million separate donations.

Launch: 2009

Number of users: More than 4,000 charities

Fees: £100 plus VAT one-off set-up fee. 2 per cent fee on donations and event fees. Card processing fee of 1.45 per cent, American Express and PayPal at 1.6 per cent

What the charity gets from a £10 donation (including gift aid): £12.15 (£12.14 for American Express or Paypal donors)


Virgin Money Giving


BT MyDonate
BT launched its own the subscription-free platform in April 2011 and by June it had more than 500 charity users. At the time of its launch social entrepreneur and author Robert Ashton accused BT of undermining JustGiving saying, “with the financial muscle available to BT they could have created something entirely new”.  Last December the Great Run series selected MyDonate as its preferred partner.

Launch: 2011

Number of users: More than 3,000 charities

Fees: Credit card processing fee 1.3 per cent or debit card processing fee 1.5 per cent. BT does not make any charges for its administration or transaction fees. The service is paid for as part of BT’s community investment (at least 1 per cent of its pre-tax profits).

What the charity gets from a £10 donation (including gift aid): £12.37 (credit card donations), £12.35 (debit card donations).

BT MyDonate


Some of the rest

There is no shortage of fundraising platforms – here is just a selection. 

Global Giving UK
Global Giving started in the US before setting up a UK version and is a registered charity itself and also runs its own appeals. It is backed by the Department for International Development and the Nominet Trust. It supports grass-roots charities in the developing world by acting as an intermediary and providing online fundraising services as well as support to those organisations. It is able to claim gift aid on an organisation’s behalf.

Launch: 2008

Number of users: So far it has helped 6,875 projects

Fees: 10 per cent fee on donation received (half goes towards covering card processing charges and the rest is used to keep the platform running). There are no set-up, monthly or ongoing fees.

What the charity gets from a £10 donation (including gift aid): £11.25


Global Giving UK was launched as a way for small local charities and community groups, including those that are too small to register with a regulator or HMRC, to raise money online either through one-off or regular donations. By the end of 2012 it aims to have covered the whole the UK. In 2012 it had success with match funding campaigns in partnership with the Office for Civil Society. automatically claims gift aid for its users and passes it on.

Launch: 2008

Number of users: 3,065 charities

Fees: 5 per cent fee per donation to cover processing costs. Three months free trial then an annual fee of £60 plus VAT.

What the charity gets from a £10 donation (including gift aid): £11.87




Individuals set up a Ploink! account and choose three charities they would like to support, charities have to by UK registered charities and already have registered with the platform (although if a user wants to support one that has not registered Ploink! will contact the charity in question). It is intended to be fun for users with a virtual piggy bank that they drag and drop coins into. Users can nominate charities to be the community’s ‘charity of the month’.

Launch: 2009

Number of users: 450

Fees: 10p per donation towards card processing costs. 10 per cent of the donation towards running costs. No set-up or monthly fees

What the charity gets from a £10 donation (including gift aid): £11.15




In numbers



You probably only need to sign up to one of the big three. As the only free option BT MyDonate might seem attractive, but value has to be measured against a number of other factors. If you have a big presence at the London Marathon, or are turned off by the idea of a monthly fee then Virgin Money Giving might worth considering. And although it's the most expensive option, JustGiving is still the one with the most users. Being able to integrate JustGiving data into your CRM could be a draw for charities looking to save time crunching data.

While the lesser known platforms are generally free from start-up fees, or as in the case of offer a free trial, there are higher processing and admin costs. Ploink’s 10p to cover credit and debit card costs appears excessively high and is twice the amount others say that it costs. There are some clear advantages of using a platform designed for the specific needs of a particular type charity, such as the ability to collect gift aid through for charities too small to register with either the HMRC, the Charity Commission or OSCR.

Whatever you decide to sign up with always read the small print, and make sure your supporters know where to go to give to you online through links on your own site and social media feeds.

Marc Simpson
18 Dec 2012

This is an interesting feature, but we would ask readers to bear in mind that the amount each charity receives per donation doesn't reflect that Ploink! does not charge a registration fee or a monthly fee.


[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear


  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Kirsty Weakley

Kirsty Weakley is a reporter at Civil Society Media.

Follow Kirsty on Twitter @KirstyWeakley 

Celina Ribeiro (38) Niki May Young (22) Kirsty Weakley (20) Hugh Radojev (17) David Ainsworth (12) Jenna Pudelek (9) Stephen Cotterill (9) Michael Naidu (7) Andrew Chaggar (7) David Philpott (7)
Tobin Aldrich (7) Leon Ward (7) Emily Corfe (7) Tania Mason (5) Lucy Caldicott (5) Alistair McLean (5) Alice Sharman (5) Adrian Beney (4) Reuben Turner (4) Vibeka Mair (3) Alan Gosschalk (3) Joe Saxton (3) Pauline Broomhead (3) Jonathon Grapsas (3) Beth Yorath (3) Robert Ashton (3) Lisa Clavering (3) Mark Astarita (2) Richard Radcliffe (2) Andrew Scadding (2) Suzie Who (2) Tod Norman (2) Andrew Purkis (2) Liz Tait (2) Stephen Lee (2) Dan Corry (2) Claire Routley (2) Making Good: The Future of the Voluntary Sector (2) Andrew O'Brien (2) Beth Breeze (1) Tony Elischer (1) Derek Humphries (1) Alan Clayton (1) Matthew Bowcock (1) Cathy Pharoah (1) Stephen George (1) Stephen Pidgeon (1) Andy Taylor (1) Martin Farrell (1) Morag Fleming (1) Ian MacQuillin (1) Paul Farthing (1) Ken Burnett (1) Rodney Buse (1) John Low (1) Rowena Lewis (1) Danielle Atkinson (1) Joe Jenkins (1) Mark Flannagan (1) Geetha Rabindrakumar (1) Chester Mojay-Sinclare (1) Amanda McLean (1) Jason Suckley (1) Imogen Ward (1) Kath Abrahams (1) Peter Lewis (1) Jonathan Last (1) Jenni Cahill (1) Marcelle Speller (1) Nick Aldridge (1) Philip Spedding (1) Tom Latchford (1) Sir David Varney (1) Liam Barrington-Bush (1) Lucy Gower (1) Martin Edwards (1) Jeff Brooks (1) Dawn Austwick (1) Dan Thompson (1) Steven George-Hilley (1) Emma-Lynn Houghton (1) Peter Horah (1) Ian Clark (1) Neelam Makhijani (1) George Matafonov (1) Marcus Missen (1) Denise Lillya (1) Jaz Nannar (1) Ali Stunt (1) Robin Fisk (1) Ben Russell (1) Gillian Claugher (1) Lynne McMahon (1) Emma Callagher (1) Angharad McKenzie (1) Raj Rajukumar (1) Dominic Will (1) Eudora Pratt (1)
Less +++ More +++

The Libor process is murky, but it is not the charities who are to blame

20 Sep 2016

The Libor process is worryingly unclear, but we should not be attacking the charities for receiving the...

Love, trust and the teachable moment - a better way?

20 Sep 2016

Three months after politicians were united in paying tribute to Jo Cox, which highlighted the importance...

May daze: when it comes to the charity sector, our new PM is as bland as a cheeseless water biscuit

8 Sep 2016

Ian Allsop is gasping for breath after a tumultuous summer – can Theresa May successfully bore him?...

Society Diary: Is a woman really shacked up with this dead philanthropist?

23 Sep 2016

Our weekly round-up of interesting and outlandish information, collected from the corners of the charity...

Dear Andrew: How do I deal with my board's poor attendance?

22 Sep 2016

In this regular column, Andrew Hind answers readers’ queries about governance issues. This week a trustee...

The regulator: Charities should get on the front foot

22 Sep 2016

Many charities have responded proactively to the recent media storm, and are stronger as a result, says...