JustGiving has announced that it has dropped its platform fees for donations to UK charities and will instead ask donors for a voluntary contribution to support its running costs.
The online giving platform previously charged a 5 per cent fee on donations to fundraising campaigns.
Now there is the option for donors to make a voluntary contribution to support JustGiving's operation costs. It will continue to charge a payment processing fee of 1.9 per cent plus 20p.
A spokesperson for JustGiving told Civil Society News: "The real motivation for JustGiving is in allowing its charities to give even more."
The change means that from an average £30 average donation, around £1 extra will go to the charity.
JustGiving said this restructure is “the biggest change to the company’s fee model since it was founded 19 years ago”.
The change, it says, will give donors “choice and transparency”, let charities raise more and also support the “future sustainability” of the JustGiving platform.
JustGiving said: "The quality of the technology and product means enough people will see fit to donate.”
Clive Sanders, fundraising director at Save the Children, said: “JustGiving has always been at the forefront of innovation in the fundraising and giving sector and today’s announcement is welcome news.
“These changes will bring benefits to charities, fundraisers and donors alike, helping build trust and increasing transparency at a time when secure, effective fundraising has never been more important.”
Opting in or out to Gift Aid
Along with going fee-free, JustGiving has changed its terms of service so that charities can choose to opt in or out of the Gift Aid reclaim service.
A consultation in October 2018 from JustGiving prompted the change, which also advised the immediate scrapping of fees for crowdfunding, disasters and major incidents.
The platform said it believes the majority of charities will continue to opt in to Gift Aid.
Richard Bray, vice-chair of the Charity Tax Group, said: “JustGiving helps many charities, particularly smaller organisations, to focus their efforts on fundraising rather than on paperwork.”
More power in the hands of donors
Keith Williams, JustGiving’s general manager and head of UK, said: “Today, JustGiving is taking an exciting step into the future by removing our platform fee. This change means lower costs for charities, transparency and choice for their supporters, and a sustainable future for the UK’s biggest and best platform for giving.
“We’re incredibly proud of JustGiving’s history as the pioneer of online giving and are inspired by the generosity of our users, who have raised £3.8bn for charities since we launched 19 years ago.
“We believe that people who donate through JustGiving will be happy that more money will be going to their chosen charity, and by making a voluntary contribution to the UK's most-trusted giving platform we can continue to help charities and individuals raise even more money for good causes. That’s why we’re putting more power in the hands of our donors.”
JustGiving's fee structure has been criticised in recent months and rival platform GoFundMe dropped its platform fee in favour of a tips model last year.
Neil Coyle, a Labour MP who has criticised JustGiving, said: “JustGiving should never have been creaming profits from good causes. I am glad they dropped their 5% on donations to victims of terrorism and tragedies like Grenfell and welcome the extension of this to all charitable donations. JustGiving will still cover their admin costs but I do not believe most people knew they were taking a profit on top of that fee.
"I campaigned to stop the 5% charge being applied in the event of terror attacks and tragedies following the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack in my constituency. It would be welcome if JustGiving also retrospectively re-donated the profits they took from those donations.
"I’m pleased JustGiving have decided to abolish the 5% take altogether. I hope that more money will now reach the intended recipients of donations through their platform.”