How to choose the right online fundraising site

Simon Hemelryk / 21 February 2017

From raising money for a church roof to helping children overseas, picking the right online site to collect donations can make a huge difference.

Choosing the right fundraising site online might seem simple – but a bit of research before you set your fundraising page up might mean you’re able to donate much more to your chosen cause than otherwise.

These questions should help you make a start…

How much does fundraising online cost?

Though you might think that you get all the money donated to your cause via a charity-giving site, that’s not usually the case. 

Some charge an administration fee of around 3.5-5%. 

Others may have fees for using certain credit cards – although this can only be a few pence. 

On cost-efficient sites, such as MyDonate, which doesn’t charge charities, or Every Click, a £10 donation might actually net your cause up to £12.35, including Gift Aid. 

JustGiving, in contrast, charges a £15 monthly fee to charities, rising to £39 if annual income from the site tops £15,000.

Keeping the finances for a small charity

Does the online site have a good reputation?

Has a platform been used by reputable and big name charities or organisations? If so, this should provide you with peace of mind that your donations will be safe.

Be cautious of new platforms with limited track record to prove their reliability.

Ensure also that any funds donated will be put in a protected fund, so that if something happens to the company behind the platform, your funds will be safe.

Will it help you reach new supporters?

A platform with a well-established brand, such as JustGiving or Virgin Money Giving, may be enough to encourage people to hand their money over. 

Check also whether the platform has a strong presence on Facebook or other social media that can be used to spread your message.

Promoting a charity event on Facebook

Does it have an accessible donation process?

Make sure it’s easy and straightforward for people to hand over their money, so they don’t drop out halfway through. It might be worth paying a higher fee if it means more donations go through.

A selection of some of the best platforms

MyDonate Operated by BT, this service invests any profits in good causes.

Charity Choice. Specialises in providing a donation platform for registered charities.

Virgin Money Giving. Very well known, with a wide selection of features, including a technical support service. 

Givey. No set-up fees for users, charities or projects, with a 5% fee added to donations, rather than deducted from the amount raised.

JustGiving. One of the world’s leading platforms, established in 2001.

The Big Give. Its 4% fees are lower than many other sites.

CAF Donate. Official site of the Charities Aid Foundation.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.