Crowd Fundraising Platforms

By Ella Davy Green, March 4, 2017

We are looking to launch an initial fundraising campaign as soon as our charity registration number comes through, and our bank account is set up. As we discussed at the Trustee meeting, traditional sources of funding such as grants are relatively difficult for us to come by at this stage, so I have been looking at the best sites for launching crowd fundraising – with the aim of getting many people donating a small amount per month, so we have a regular income.

I was surprised by the huge amount of different online fundraising platforms that exist in the UK! We have a huge amount of choice and so I have been trying to decipher our best option. Some crowd fundraising sites are clearly aimed more at businesses and are therefore unsuitable for us. These include sites which attract social investment via asking for donations in exchange for a percentage of the company equity. It would also be difficult for us to offer incentives for certain value pledges.. in general sites that favour this model are more designed for companies looking to develop a material product. We are also hesitant to go with a timed ‘kickstarter’ campaign in which we would have a certain amount of time to raise a target amount, or we lose out on all the money. Whilst this may incentivise people to donate more/within a certain time frame, we have no idea how much support we will be able to raise, and would prefer to ask people to donate a small amount per month so we have a sustained income for developing WikiLogic.

Having ruled out several types of sites I have been looking into online giving pages which allow us to set up small monthly online donations. Initial research showed that some of the most well known sites such as Crowdfunder and Rally actually charge quite a high level of fees (from 5-8%), which we obviously would like to avoid paying if possible. Also, some sites are unable to collect giftaid – something which would make a big difference, especially on sizeable donations.

I found this article is helpful in terms of clearly laying out some of the differing fee structures of some of the big sites in the UK:

The site which comes out ‘on top’ is TotalGiving, and from everything I have seen and read this looks like the best site for us to go with for the time being.

What is great about total giving is that they do not act as ‘the middle man’, so they do not take any fees from the money. They are a charity themselves, funded by sponsors and philanthropists, set up with the intention of cutting out the middle man and maximising the amount of the donation which goes directly to the charity.  This is in stark contrast to sites who are not funded and thus have to cover there costs, for example JustGiving charges a monthly fee, as well as a percentage of a donation.

Using the donation calculator tool on the TotalGiving website is illustrative. For a ‘giftaided’ donation of £1000 paid on debit card via TotalGiving, Wikilogic would receive £1236.80. This is:

– £62.30 extra compared to using JustGiving,

£21.30 extra compared to using Virgin Money Giving,

£50.90 extra compared to using Local Giving,

£36.80 extra compared to using The Big Give,

£174.30 extra compared to using Global Giving,

£111.80 extra compared to using Global Giving UK.

TotalGiving is also great as it is able to accept donations in 140 different currencies, meaning we can hopefully attract some global investors. TotalGiving also gives us access to a range of free tools, which will allow us to accept donations via Facebook, as well as an online program to manage our money and look at analytics etc.

Of course, if anyone has intel of a better crowd fundraising platform, we would love to hear about it. We are not tied in to any contract with these sites, so should it ever emerge that we could get a better deal elsewhere, we could switch.

Our next step is to begin producing some promotional materials we can use to get our fundraising appeal some publicity and traction when we are able to set it up. We are also focusing on developing the website, so potential investors have a clear place to find out about us – and hopefully be persuaded to invest!