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10 questions to ask your online fundraising platform

Following Virgin Money’s announcement last week that their charity fundraising website, Virgin Money Giving, will close for donations on 30th November 2021, many charities are now having to re-consider which online fundraising partners to work with.

But with so many online fundraising platforms to choose from, how do you find the right one for your cause? Here are 10 questions to ask when comparing and reviewing the different options. (And here’s how JustGiving compares to Virgin Money Giving if you’d find a quick comparison table handy right now)!

1. Will your donations be safe?

Every online fundraising platform will have a process for transferring funds to charities. Be sure to have a look at what that process is and whether they keep the donations in a protected fund. This means that if something were to happen to that company, your money would be safe.

At JustGiving we have measures in place to protect all donations made through the site and we ring-fence all donations in a safeguarding account, passing these on to your charity within days of a donation being made.

Trust and security are important to us, and we’re proud that JustGiving was the first fundraising platform in the UK to be an Approved Payment Institution (API), regulated by The FCA, giving you and your supporters peace of mind that your donations are safeguarded by the highest industry standards.

2. Do their goals and values align with yours?

Or put another way, why do they exist? If their ultimate goal is more aligned with their own CSR goals than maximising the amount of funds you raise, then it’s unlikely they’re a long-term partner..

We believe the world will be a better place when good takes over. Helping people raise more online for the causes they care about is all we do.

3. Is this platform new to the market?

When researching which platform to register with, it’s important to look at their history as a business as well as their reputation. How long have they been operating for? Are they well established or are they new and potentially carry more risk? Can people give anywhere in the world?

Back in 2000, JustGiving was established with one single purpose – to help all charities make good things happen by helping them raise more online. 20 years later, we’re still doing what we do best and we love what we do.

4. Are they trusted by other charities?

Take a look at how many and which charities are already registered and using the platform. This will give you a good idea of whether the platform meets the needs of a wide range of charities, both in size and in type. Choose a handful of charities to contact and ask them about their experience of the platform and whether they would recommend it. Most platforms will have case studies on their website that you can read and information about any industry awards they have won. Over 45,000 charities worldwide have used JustGiving since 2001 to enable people to show they care for good causes.

5. Will you get a good return investment (ROI)?

Most online fundraising platforms charge a fee in some form or another, which is important in order for them to be a sustainable business and partner you can rely on. What’s key is whether you get a a good return on those fees. For everyone penny you invest in your tech partner, how much more are they helping you raise? Will your fundraisers raise more? Is it easier for your donors to give so gift conversion is higher? And don’t forget saving time and reducing costs – how many hours a week could you save with the right reporting tools?

We recommend posting in forums like Fundraising Chat or in the Fundraising Everywhere community to get other charties’ experiences of fundraising platforms and which ones have saved them time, reduced costs and helped them raise more. All this leads to a cracking ROI.

6. Does their business model encourage innovation?

Whilst cost is a consideration, it’s just as important to look at their business model. What does the company do with those fees? Do they reinvest it into their platform and constantly innovate? How often do they update their platform and release new products and tools to help you grow?

We regularly update charities we work with here on the JustGiving blog and also hold regular webinars to keep you up-to-speed on our latest improvements and innovations.

7. Do you have {insert important feature that matters to YOU}?

It can feel a little overwhelming seeing ALL the options that different fundraising platforms can offer you. And whilst it’s great that they have all these features, all that matters is whether they have the features that are valuable to your organisation. We recommend that you make a list of features, decide which ones are essential vs nice-to-have, and tick off whether the fundraising partner you’re evaluating does what YOU need it to do.

If their website doesn’t have the info you need to do that (sorry if that’s us – eek), book a call, join a webinar or ask on social media to find out. Share your wishlist with us and we’ll fill it in.

8. Do your supporters know and trust them?

When choosing an online fundraising platform, it’s important to weigh up whether you want a white label solution, or a website that is a well-known brand and has its own following. Like JustGiving, and Virgin Money Giving, this option will attract new people to fundraise online for your cause, and give donors confident to give online. Check-out their TrustPilot score, find out how many fans they have on Facebook and how many followers they have on Twitter. It will give you a good indication as to whether they are known and trusted by your supporters. It’s also worth testing the experience people will have on the platform and see what features they have to help your supporters raise more money.

9. How robust is their platform?

Make sure your preferred fundraising platform can handle big spikes in traffic at a moment’s notice, so you don’t miss out on donations. How many donations per second can they handle? Can they increase their server infrastructure at a moment’s notice? At JustGiving, we have supported many fundraising campaigns that have seen exponential growth within a few hours, such as Captain Tom’s 100th birthday fundraiser last year, which initially had a fundraising target of £1,000 and went on to raise over £32 million! During the fundraiser’s peak we had 90,000 users on the site – that’s like having everyone at a full Wembley Stadium on your website, all at once.

“JustGiving has played a key role in enabling so many people to donate to Stephen’s Story. To date, over 166,000 donations have been made with many thousands happening at the same time. JustGiving increased their server infrastructure to unprecedented levels to keep the site up and running. They have done this seamlessly and we are enormously grateful for their support. Our own online systems are not built to cope with such incredibly high volumes of donations.” Siobhan Dunn, Teenage Cancer Trust CEO

10. What value do they add beyond the technology?

It’s worth considering what they do for the charity sector as a whole. Do they sponsor and attend conferences or hold training events of their own? Do they share fundraising tips and insights to help all charities? For us, the answer to this last question is an important one and something we’re passionate about. We regularly share advice, tips and success stories to help all charities, big and small, raise more online.

Transitioning from Virgin Money Giving to JustGiving

We’re here to help and have lots of experience making it smooth and easy for charities to migrate to JustGiving. Visit to find out more and get in touch.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Survey finds weakening donor sentiment in 2022 | Philanthropy news

Fifty-four percent of donors in the United States have a negative view of the direction of the country—alongside growing concern with inflation and recent losses in the stock market—signaling weaker donor sentiment in 2022 and driving near-term pessimism among donors, a report from Dunham+Company finds.

Based on an online survey conducted in April 2022 of 1,400 American donors who gave at least $20 to charity in the past year, the report, Donor confidence falters in light of economy and inflation (5 pages, PDF), found that despite a 15-percentage point increase from last year in the share of respondents saying they did not “feel good about” the direction the country was going in, 98 percent said they intended to continue giving—up from 97 percent in July 2021. The share of donors expressing caution about their giving rose modestly, to 63 percent from 59 percent. Among donors who said they would continue to give, 21 percent intended to give more (compared with 19 percent in 2021), 24 percent planned to give less (compared with 21 percent), and 55 percent intended to give the same (compared with 61 percent).

According to the report, the number of donors who viewed recent stock market losses as determinant of future giving had nearly tripled since last year, rising from 7 percent to 19 percent overall, and even more acutely among donors 45 and older: 23 percent for Gen X donors (up from 8 percent in 2021) and 21 percent for boomers (up from 6 percent). This shift is mirrored in households making $100,000 or more, where 17 percent (up from 5 percent) view the performance of the stock market as a determinant. While the report did not provide data on donors under the age of 45, it noted that boomers, who tend to give more overall, “expressed significantly less caution about giving than their younger counterparts.”

The report suggests that worries about inflation and the potential for an economic downturn are increasingly affecting donor sentiment. Over half of donors (53 percent) were unsure of the direction of the economy or believed it would decline in the coming year (compared with 36 percent last year). Among donors who expect a downturn, 92 percent believed a turnaround would take more than a year (up from 72 percent in 2021), while those believing a turnaround would take two years or more rose to 54 percent (up from 40 percent a year ago). In 2021, 74 percent of donors indicated “the economy” and “personal financial situation” as reasons for giving less. For the most recent survey, Dunham added “inflation and the increased cost of living” as a factor. All told, these three factors accounted for 89 percent of the reasons for giving less in 2022.

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Pineapple Studio)

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Charity Of The Year: Past Winners

With the Charity of The Year nominations just around the corner, we thought we’d take you on a trip down memory lane and revisit some of our past winners. We caught up with the incredible teams at Derian House Children’s Hospice and the British Hen Welfare Trust, to find out just how much the award meant to them!

To find out more about how to nominate your charity for the Charity of the Year Award, head to the bottom of this page.

The British Hen Welfare Trust (2018 Winners)

The British Hen Welfare Trust team at the 2018 JustGiving Awards, holding their Award, presented by Lydia Bright.

The British Hen Welfare Trust were crowned Charity Of The Year back in 2018 – after making the top three, they received the most nominations and were presented with their award at a glittery awards ceremony in London.

Since 2005, the charity has been rescuing hens from slaughter and re-homing them as pets throughout the UK. Working with farmers in the egg industry, they’ve re-homed an incredible 850,000 hens to date! The founder, Jane Howorth, received an MBE for her work, after bringing about a ban on battery cages in 2012.

Jane Howorth MBE pictured holding a hen and smiling.

We recently reached out to the team at BHWT to ask them about their experience receiving a JustGiving Award.

“As a charity that is run by a fairly small team, it was simply phenomenal to be recognised by the UK’s biggest fundraising platform and we were overwhelmed to have so much support from the public who nominated us for the award.

We may be small, but we make a big impact, since 2005 we’ve saved over 874,000 hens from slaughter. To be named Charity of the Year is a testament to that hard work and the successes achieved by our staff, volunteers, and supporters around the country.

The past couple of years have been tough for all charities, including our own, but we continue to save around 50,000 hens from slaughter every year. Since winning the award, we’ve developed more ways to improve education about pet hens, built a new Hen Central, and reached new audiences internationally. Being named Charity of the Year was a great honour, and still fills me with pride.

Jane Howarth MBE
Founder of BHWT

Find out more about the British Hen Welfare Trust and donate here.

Derian House Children’s Hospice (2019 Winners)

The Derian House Children’s Hospice team celebrating with presenter Dev Griffin, after receiving their Charity Of The Year Award.

Our 2019 winners, Derian House Children’s Hospice, work tirelessly to help children and young people, whose lives are too short, to make happy memories in an environment of fun, respect and outstanding care.The care they provide is free for families, but costs around £5.7 million to run every year – only 17% of the funding they need comes from the government. They rely entirely on donations from supporters for the remaining 83%. They provide vital support to young people and their families – offering palliative care, respite stays, day care, holidays and end of life support.

The outside of Derian House Children’s Hospice

We’ll let the team tell you a little more about the award, and how much it meant to the charity…

“Derian House Children’s Hospice winning the JustGiving Charity of the Year Award is one of the achievements we’re most proud of. 

That same year we had been rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and had just completed a million-pound refurbishment of our hospice and winning the award felt like the icing on the cake. 

It not only gave us brilliant exposure, meaning that we attracted new donors and were able to reach new families with our services, but it also felt like a real chance for our staff, volunteers and the children we look after to feel proud of everything we do at Derian House. 

The awards night itself was so exciting. We travelled down to London for the night and were so honoured to be at an event alongside such inspirational and wonderful people, as well as celebrities and sporting legends. There was a real feeling in the air of everyone celebrating each other’s achievements, which was just lovely. 

At Derian House, we display our JustGiving Award in the reception of the hospice so everyone who enters the building can see it. We are very proud of this achievement and we were honoured to win it.

Personally, to be involved in this was one of the highlights of my career.

Caroline Taylor
Head of Income, Marketing and Communications

Find out more about Derian House Children’s Hospice and donate here.

Want to get involved?

We’re on the look out for our Charity Of The Year 2022! The nominations for this year’s award will officially open on the 7th July 2022 – could you be in the running?

 We’re looking for nominations from your staff, volunteers and supporters. The more you get before the 22nd of July, the greater your chance of being shortlisted. 

You could be joining the rest of our fundraising finalists, who’ll be up for public vote between the 3rd of August and 11th of September 2022.

Get the most votes, and we’ll be handing over a trophy to you and your team at our ceremony in London this October. Your charity will get exposure and social media coverage – and you get a fantastic night to celebrate your team’s hard work. Sound good?

We’ll be sharing the nomination link on the 7th of July. We can’t wait to read your amazing applications and celebrate together!

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Helmsley Trust awards $9 million to American Heart Association | Philanthropy news

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has announced grants totaling $9.3 million to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association to expand and enhance rural health and stroke care in Iowa.

A $6.3 million grant will support the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s $7.5 million Mission: Lifeline Stroke initiative to strengthen the full spectrum of stroke care in Iowa, where stroke is a leading cause of death, accounting for more than 1,400 deaths in 2020. The stroke program in Iowa builds on a $4.6 million grant awarded in 2015 to support the launch of Mission: Lifeline STEMI in Iowa to reduce treatment times for acute cardiac care in the cases of ST Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI).

The Helmsley Trust is also granting $3 million to the American Heart Association (AHA) to launch HeartCorps in rural communities in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wyoming. HeartCorps is a new three-year initiative aimed at establishing a sustainable pipeline of public health workers, reduce cardiovascular risks among rural residents, and accelerate the adoption and implementation of systems changes to improve cardiovascular health.

“We believe that a comprehensive approach is the best way to make the most substantial impact, especially for rural populations that face longer transit times and limited access to specialists,” said Helmsley Trust board member Walter Panzirer.

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Chalabala)

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