Saturday, May 17, 2014

Thanks JustGiving

So, JustGiving are yet again receiving criticism for their charging of fees for their online fundraising service they provide to charities. Unfortunately, the criticism is both untrue and unfair.

When I worked for the Meningitis Trust, some people would also give similar criticism to me "Don't you feel bad taking money from the charity". My answer was "No", because much like everybody else I like to have money to buy food, pay rent, and all the rest. It would be lovely if everyone of independent means volunteered their time for the charity sector, but this isn't going to happen, and so there are expenses that need paying.

Likewise, setting up a service like JustGiving costs - you need hardware like servers; people to produce the software itself; and then a team of people to deliver this service to the various charities. JustGiving are wonderfully transparent about the fees they charge, and another good thing about them is that their surplus is put right back into improving the service it provides.

It's true that there are other, cheaper, online fundraising services, but they follow where JustGiving lead. JustGiving are the ones that invest in developing new services, like JustTextGiving, that make it better for everyone, and provide things for the other service providers to imitate.

Without JustGiving, Stephen Sutton would not have been in a position to raise the fantastic sum that he did, and gather the publicity that he did.

In my own time I've raised over £60,000 for various charities over the last 10ish years, not all of it online, but without JustGiving I wouldn't have made nearly as much. Case in point, over Easter I was in London for the Meningitis Research Foundation, shaking a bucket for loose change. JustGiving let me have a virtual bucket for those friends of mine that couldn't drop anything in to my real one, and that was an extra £161 for the charity. Charities raise more with JustGiving than they would without, and JustGiving are well worth their fees because of this.

Full disclosure: I won, with my good friend Simon, the Most Innovative Fundraiser Award at the first Justgiving Awards in 2010, and have also had donations from Justgiving made to various fundraising pages I have had over the years. This only serves to back up my arguments - not only are they deeply passionate about helping the charities they serve, but they have a vested interest in the individual fundraisers too.

*cough* *cough*

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