Virgin Money Giving changes fees model

27 Nov 2018 News

Virgin Money Giving has today announced a new feature that will allow for donors to cover the 2 per cent flat fee which it currently charges charities.

The new feature, which Virgin Money Giving are calling “Donor Covers Fee”, has initially been made available for donors to ten major charity partners, but a spokesman said it would be rolled out to all charities on the platform by the end of the year. 

The spokesman said the change was made following “response to feedback from our charity partners” who “expressed a desire for us to introduce this, as it has had a positive impact with other platforms”. 

The platform currently charges charities a 2 per cent fee to “help fund our running costs and allow us to keep developing our service to find new and better ways to help charities maximise their fundraising”. 

The news that Virgin Money Giving is changing its fee structure comes on the back of similar changes being made this year by two of its main competitors in the digital fundraising platform space.

GoFundMe announced in April that it would be dropping all of its platform fees, bar card processing, in favour of a “tips” model; a move followed that same month by JustGiving which launched its own “Donation Boost” feature. 

In October, following intense pressure from a number of national newspapers and MPs from both the Labour and Conservative parties, JustGiving also announced it would be scrapping all fees on its crowdfunding platform, as well as on charity fundraising pages set up in the event of a major disaster or terrorist attack.  

VMG to sign up with regulator ‘within a matter of days’

The spokesman for Virgin Money Giving also told Civil Society News that the platform “was a matter of days” away from signing up to the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Fundraising Practice, making it the first of the ‘big four’ platforms to do so. 

In October, Gerald Oppenheim chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator, told Civil Society News that JustGiving, Virgin Money Giving, GoFundMe and BT MyDonate had all promised to register with it by “the New Year”. 

At the time, Oppenheim said the major platforms needed “to make quite a number of system changes to comply with the Code of Fundraising Practice, and the questions of transparency that raised”.

In terms of all digital fundraising platforms in the UK, Oppenheim said that “probably nine, possibly ten” had signed up to the regulator. 

Jo Barnett, executive director at Virgin Money Giving, said: “We are delighted to become one of the first major fundraising platforms to sign up to the Fundraising Code of Practice.

"We believe it is an important commitment at a time when the sector is being scrutinised and some practices are being called into question. As one of the leading brands in the sector, it is important to take the lead and make sure that charities and fundraisers understand our commitment to continue to operate at the highest standards.

“As a not for profit business, backed by Virgin Money, our low charges mean we don’t make a profit from the generosity of charity supporters. Our fees only cover the cost of running our business. Our ‘Donor Covers Fee’ feature will give fundraisers the option to pay our fee on behalf of charities, which will mean that even more money goes to those charities.

"Donors can be sure that the fee they pay for using Virgin Money Giving only covers our costs, unlike other fundraising sites, who profit from the fees they charge. In addition, we don’t charge a fee on the Gift Aid collected on behalf of charities as we strongly believe that 100 per cent of Gift Aid should reach the charities.”

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