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GUEST POST: Using charity fundraising tools to increase online donations

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Below is a guest post from Mik Dunne, who explores the range of online fundriasing tools available to charities. 

The most fundamental aspect of any charitable organisation is generating donations to help a cause. Generating more revenue means that you can undertake more charitable activities and achieve better results. With so many charitable organisations operating on a voluntary basis, finding the necessary tools to maximise donations can be considered as less of a priority when compared to the core duties of running a charity day-to-day.

However, it is still very important for charities to do all they can to maximise donations – neglecting this aspect will ultimately mean that the charity can do less to help its chosen cause. For the most part online methods of donation are very effective, due to them being very efficient and easy to use – therefore finding the best charity fundraising tools to increase online donations is important.

However, it can be a bit of a minefield. You could be forgiven for not knowing where to start, particularly if you’re a smaller charity. So, let’s explore some of the options shall we?

Things To Be Aware Of

There are a few things that should be made absolutely clear before considering which online donation tools are most suited to you;

  • Tools Take A Portion Of Your Donation – These online donation tools are absolutely fantastic for increasing donations; however they almost always take a small amount of each donation. This is simply to keep the donation tool running, it’s something many charities aren’t fond of – so be aware of this going in.
  • Signing Up – When you sign-up to an online donation tool, you will pretty much always have to become a member of their organisation. This means you will be subject to various terms and conditions. Make sure you read up on them.
  • You Can Market Yourself – One of the most powerful donation tools is your own know how and experience in marketing. Whether you’re creating your own page on your website or on the websites of online donation tools you decide to use remember that you’re talking directly to your audience and you still need to make the effort to encourage people to donate.

Being aware of these things will make the process of getting and using online donation tools effectively much easier. Let’s explore some of the most popular ones.


This is one of the most popular tools for generating online donations. JustGiving is a very simple way to start fundraising, and you can pretty much set up an account and start encouraging donations in minutes.

The company started in 2001 and has helped generate around £1.5 billion worth of donation – so its effectiveness is quite clear. Almost every charity is on JustGiving, so it’s not just for the small fry – huge charities such as WWF and Oxfam are members for example.

JustGiving has mobile apps and provides a lot of fundraising ideas to help you encourage people to donate. Things to remember about JustGiving include;

  • Fees are 5%
  • This fee is taken from Gift Aid, so it can increase your overall donation
  • If your donation is not eligible for Gift Aid, the 5% will come out of your donation

Overall, JustGiving is excellent – if you’re not eligible for Gift Aid you should perhaps consider another option if you’d like to keep more of your donation.

Virgin Money Giving

In a similar way to how JustGiving works, Virgin Money Giving does so in a similar way. First of all, as opposed to generating revenue for a particular issue or cause as JustGiving does – Virgin Money Giving is focussed primarily on making money through sponsorships for charity fundraising events.

If you’re planning a run, sky dive, swim, walk or anything else Virgin Money Giving can be a great way to raise money and get sponsors for your event. There aren’t as many big players using this tool, but it can still be very effective.

Interestingly they are actually able to give slightly more to charity when all is said and done. Things to remember about Virgin Money Giving include;

  • It is not for profit
  • A total of £12.15 is given to charity per £10 donation, slightly higher that JustGiving’s £11.71
  • It can integrate with YouTube and Twitter

Virgin Money Giving is a pretty popular way to raise money in the UK. It is not for profit and doesn’t charge you on Gift Aid, so it’s a great option for all sorts of charities.

Do Your Own Research Into Alternatives

JustGiving and Virgin Money Giving are only two of many different online donation tools. These were discussed in more detail because of the fact that many charities can benefit from them.

Depending on your niche however, there could be a better option. Some alternatives include;

These can be excellent alternatives, for example if you’re looking for global donations The Big Give is particularly suitable. Make time to research the best online donation tools and you’re much more likely to have a higher success rate when it comes to donations.

Social Media

Online donation tools are very effective, and can be a great way to generate funds. But if you want a greater level of control, you could consider utilising social media in order to make better use of your own website and increase your online presence.

Social networks like YouTube and Twitter are a great way to connect with people all over the world. On Twitter you can interact with very influential people which can increase your online presence by a huge amount. YouTube is a great way to promote upcoming charity events and encourage people to get involved. For example, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research recently posted a video featuring highlights of their triathlon as part of a showcase of their charity fundraising events.

Utilising social media effectively is one of the best ways to make yourself stand out online and ultimately makes it an effective online donation tool, the bigger your web presence the bigger the donations you can accumulate. Using Google+ is a great way to connect with other charities, as well as businesses and individuals.

Charity Fundraising Tools Explained

Hopefully you now have a much better idea of what the world of charity fundraising tools has to offer. Making effective use of them can give you a huge boost in terms of donations, and if there’s a way to make it easier for people to donate or become aware of your charity then why not make the most of it?

There are a lot of ways to raise money for your charity, but utilising online donation tools is a particularly good way to do it.

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  • Darron – instaGiv

    Shame there was no mention of our own little online donation system, which helps the number one branded charity of 2013 (Macmillan) raise thousands each month, and even smaller charities such as Benvardin Animal Rescue Kennels (BARK). Informative post, I guess we need to up our marketing awareness campaign.