JustGiving has today announced that it will be completely removing its fees from all pages set up in response to what it called “major incidents and disasters”.
It will also scrap fees from all crowdfunding pages.
As part of today’s announcement, JustGiving also said it will be "consulting with key charity partners" to gather feedback on its approach to Gift Aid.
The move follows a critical report on BBC 5 Live Investigates, which focused on fundraising platforms and included criticism of JustGiving's fee structure.
Today JustGiving said it will “not charge platform fees” on its crowdfunding products, although it will continue to charge a “third-party processing fee on card payments”. Those donating to crowdfunding pages will instead be offered the option of “making a contribution to support the operation of the platform”.
JustGiving also said it will be “removing all platform fees charged on campaigns in response to major incidents, such as acts of terrorism or major disasters in the UK”.
These are 'significant changes'
Jerry Needel, JustGiving’s president, said: “The UK is one of the world’s most generous nations; 24 million JustGiving users have donated an incredible £3.5bn for charitable and personal causes over the last 18 years.
“We are very proud to announce that from today, people using JustGiving can crowdfund for free. These changes mean our users can raise money for personal causes, using our world class technology, all without paying a platform fee.
“We also recently released Donation Boost for charities, which has reduced their costs by 70 per cent. We are committed to finding even more ways to ensure that JustGiving continues to lead the market with best-in-class in technology and fair fees. Our mission is to grow the world of giving to ensure no good cause goes unfunded.
“Following feedback from our amazing community of fundraisers, we are also announcing that JustGiving will now be free to use following major incidents; including acts of terrorism, catastrophes or natural disasters. We know people want to help those affected as quickly as possible after these events and we want to do everything we can to support that.
“We are excited about the significant changes we are making and look forward to continuing our work supporting thousands of charities and millions of individuals raising funds for the causes that matter to them the most.”
Both the Charity Tax Group and the Institute of Fundraising have welcomed the announcement.
JustGiving has faced pressure on its prices from rival platforms, including American site GoFundMe, which launched in the UK in January 2017. GoFundMe dropped its own platform fees in January this year and launched its own charity fundraising pages in April.
The announcement also follows months of sustained pressure from various MPs across the political spectrum, including from Neil Coyle, Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, and Robert Jenrick, Conservative MP for Newark and exchequer secretary to the Treasury.
Coyle has been particularly vociferous in his calls in parliament to stop digital giving platforms from charging fees from donations made in response to terror attacks and other major incidents.
In September he wrote to Tracey Crouch, minister for civil society, labelling JustGving a “disgrace” and said he was “very disturbed to learn” that the platform had retained profit from pages set up in the wake of the 2017 terror attacks in London and Manchester and from the Grenfell Fire. He claimed JustGiving had made £500,000 from these incidents last year.
Jenrick has also publicly criticised digital giving platforms. In early July he spoke to The Sun and said he would “take action” on platforms taking fees from Gift Aid at the next budget, if the platforms themselves didn’t stop this practice.
JustGiving has always had a page on its website dedicated to its fee structures and how they work. It historically deducted 5 per cent from each donation made through the site, as well as a 5 per cent fee on Gift Aid. Client charities are also charged a monthly subscription fee of either £15 or £39 a month, plus VAT.