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Nearly 90% of people think fundraising platforms need to make their charges more clear

Press release   •   Nov 29, 2016 10:45 GMT

68% of Brits unaware some fundraising platforms take commission

Selfless Brits gave an average of £214 each to charity last year according to new research from BT MyDonate, a not-for-profit, online fundraising service for UK charities. But despite the most popular method for donating to charity now being via online transactions, almost 70% of people surveyed had no idea that some online fundraising platforms charge up to 10% commission on processing donations.

The research indicates that 88% of people surveyed think that fundraising platforms need to make their charges more clear and 79% of people that have donated via a fundraising platform in the last year think the charges were unclear. A similar number (89%) of people think fundraising websites should also be regulated to make the costs more transparent for donors and 68% of people think that charities should sign up to multiple platforms to give their supporters a choice.

Last year, fundraisers using BT MyDonate gave an additional £1.3 million* to charity because no commission was taken. To help you visualise what this could help buy:

520 clean water wells for a village[1]

6,500 wigs for cancer sufferers who have lost their hair[2]

650,000 mosquito nets[3]

81 annual salaries for a helpline call operator[4]

Before researchers told respondents about commission charges, 64% of people incorrectly believed that well-known commission charging fundraising platforms gave the most to charity. Once knowing this information 73% of people said that they wouldn’t have donated via a commission-taking platform if they had known about the charges and worryingly, 32% of respondents wouldn’t have donated at all out of principle, meaning charities could miss out on vital donations.

Suzy Christopher, Charity and Community Director, BT said: “"It's clear that fundraisers and donors want greater transparency around what they're charged when donating online. The vast majority of people are unaware these costs exist, and we believe more needs to be done to ensure that people trust the companies they're donating through, otherwise the whole sector loses out. After learning about the different charges, 70 per cent of people said they'd now to choose to donate via BT MyDonate."

Ben Skelton, Director at charity Dig Deep said: “The research is shocking but not surprising. Everyone is so busy with everyday life that finding the time to research the different platforms and their charges is hard. Building trust with fundraisers is key, and it is vital that there is transparency about some of the hidden costs of fundraising. We work hard to ensure that our fundraisers’ donations support the causes they intend, and communicate how we do this clearly with our supporters.”

86% of people believe that charities should make donors aware of the different charges fundraising sites take.This is an approach that Riding for the Disabled Association takes.Sal Atkinson, Head of Fundraising, RDA UK says: “We’re not surprised that people were unaware of the charges as they’re not always clear.We’re signed up to several different fundraising platforms so that our supporters can use whichever platform they choose.However, the money we gain from commission free donations makes each gift go further and allows us to offer more life changing activities to disabled adults and children in the UK.”

Despite the commission charges, the spirit of giving remains high in the UK, with a third of people already actively planning on doing something for charity throughout 2016 with the 16-29 age bracket being the most geared up to raise funds. With the popularity in recent years of shows such as Great British Bake Off it seems this has had an impact on charity fundraising with cake or bake sales being the most popular way to fundraise. This is closely followed by the good old-fashioned raffle! Workplace collections are most popular in Edinburgh, whereas Sheffield residents are most likely to give something up for charity, such as sweets or alcohol.

BT MyDonate is one of the few platforms available to UK charities that doesn’t take commission or charge charities a monthly fee or registration fee. That means charities can receive an additional 63p per £10 donation with gift aid when using BT MyDonate


*£1.3m extra to charity has been calculated based on a 5% charge which is the average charged by other fundraising platforms to the total donation. 5% has been used as this is the market average.

Research conducted by Ginger Research after speaking to 3000 respondents in 2016

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About BT MyDonate

BT MyDonate is a not-for-profit, online fundraising service for UK charities, launched in 2011. BT MyDonate does not charge any commission fee, subscription fee or registration fee. The only charge made against your donation is the credit/debit card charge from the bank. (1.3% of donation on credit cards and 15p for each debit card transaction).

The service provides a secure, easy-to-use way for millions of people to raise money for the charity of their choice. Charities receive the money that has been donated weekly.

BT invests at least one per cent of its corporate pre-tax profits in the community and environment every year. At the end of March 2016, BT’s investment in society amounted to £35m over the previous 12 months - a combination of direct funding and in-kind support. This equates to 1.10% of our pre-tax profits.

  • Over 10,300 charities are now live on BT MyDonate
  • BT MyDonate currently has 14,000+ live fundraising pages
  • Since MyDonate launched in 2011 over £100m has been processed in donations and gift aid

Key features of BT MyDonate

  • Commission free
  • No set up fee
  • No monthly subscription fees
  • MyDonate automatically reclaims gift aid free of charge
  • Charities are paid weekly ensuring they receive funds as quickly as possible
  • Fundraisers can support up to six charities per fundraising page
  • Fundraising pages are social media shareable
  • Facebook login option
  • Mobile optimised fundraiser and donor journeys
  • Fundraisers can track their donations on the MyDonate app
  • Fundraisers can upload a banner image and extra gallery pictures to their fundraising page
  • Donors can set up a single or regular donation
FeatureBT MyDonateJustGivingVirgin Money Giving
Commission free and no registration feesYesNoNo
Not for profitYesNoYes
Automatically collects Gift Aid YesYesYes
No charges on Gift AidYes No – fee chargedYes
Open to all UK charities & CASCYesYesYes
Technical support and helpdeskYesYesYes
Sponsorship pages for individual fundraisersYesYesYes
Multiple charity fundraisingYesNoYes
In memory of/ in celebration pages theseCan be personalised to into other pages e.g. We’re getting marriedYes YesYes
Donation alertsYesYesYes
Regular donationsYesYesYes
Text (SMS) givingYes on a case by case basisYesNo
Mobile AppiOS & AndroidiOS & AndroidiOS & Android
Mobile optimised fundraising and donation journeysYesYesYes
Social media compatibleYesYesYes
Team PagesYesYesYes
Login with FacebookYesYesNo

[1] Based on each well costing £2,500

[2] Based on the cost of a wig being £200

[3] Based on the cost of a net costing £2

[4] Based on the salary being £16,000

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services.BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2016, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,042m with reported profit before taxation of £3,029m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

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