BT has announced that it will close its online fundraising platform, MyDonate, at the end of June and focus its support in other areas.
In the announcement today, the company said it had taken a “tough decision” and that it is “really proud to have supported charities and fundraisers over many years”.
Sunday 30 June 2019 is the last day that donations can be made via the site and funds will reach charities within 30 days.
MyDonate launched in 2011 and has around 12,000 charities signed up to its platform. It raises around £45m a year for charities.
A BT spokesperson said: “BT developed MyDonate in 2011 as the first commission-free donation service, and we are extremely proud to have helped fundraisers and charities raise millions of pounds for great causes over the years. However, fundraising technology has evolved significantly in the last eight years, bringing many alternative fundraising platforms, including several fee-free offers, to the UK.
“In light of this, we have taken the tough decision to close MyDonate at the end of June 2019 and re-focus our outreach initiatives, which include helping people of all ages across the UK develop essential technology skills and supporting national education programmes such as Barefoot.”
Last year GoFundMe, JustGiving and Virgin Money Giving all changed their fee models to either scrap or reduce the amount of commission automatically taken from donors.
MyDonate will not register with Fundraising Regulator
Last year the Fundraising Regulator announced new rules for online fundraising platforms, and warned that if companies did not voluntarily comply, then the government could step in and change the rules.
MyDonate had been expected to register with the regulator this month after Gerald Oppenheim, chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator, said he’d received assurances from the main platforms that they would do so in early 2019.
Today a spokesperson for MyDonate said that the decision to close “had nothing to do with the Fundraising Regulator”.
However, it confirmed that it did not intend to register with the regulator for its remaining months.
“The Fundraising Regulator’s code of practice is not mandatory for platforms like MyDonate to sign up to,” they said.
“We agreed with the Fundraising Regulator to operate within the spirit of the code, and have our own code of practice which complements the Fundraising Regulator’s very well.”
Virgin Money Giving drops joining fee
Following the announcement, Virgin Money Giving announced it would drop its joining fee for charities until 30 April.
It added that since launching a feature asking donors to cover the cost of the platform fees, eight out of ten donors have opted to cover cost.
Jo Barnett, executive director at Virgin Money Giving, said: “Anyone impacted by today’s announcement from BT MyDonate will need to consider their fundraising options and the fees and charges they are likely to pay in the future. Not all fundraising platforms are the same and we believe our model offers a viable, long-term, transparent solution for charities.”
JustGiving offers free trial
JustGiving and GoFundMe also issued statements.
Keith Williams, general manager of JustGiving UK & Ireland, said: “We’re saddened to hear today’s announcement that BT MyDonate will be closing its doors in the coming months. JustGiving has always welcomed a competitive online giving sector to help us grow the world of giving.
“To all the charities that will be impacted by the announcement, we want to reinforce our commitment to you that we are, as we always have been here to help you and your fundraisers raise the vital funds you need. If there is anything we can do to assist you, then please get in touch.”
JustGiving is also offering a three-month free trial for new charities and is planning to host webinars and other support services to help charities get the most out of the platform's features.
A spokeswoman for GoFundMe said: “BT has played an important role for charities in the UK since its launch in 2011, particularly for those smaller charities who don’t want to pay a monthly subscription.
“With one fewer zero-Gift Aid fee option available for the sector, GoFundMe remains committed to working with new charity partners and helping to ensure the cash of kind-hearted Brits goes to great causes.”