I doubt if there can be many fundraisers out there who would claim that online fundraising does not represent a significant opportunity for income growth (if they do then I can only assume that they’re intending to retire within the next 5 years or so). Even those in the most sophisticated organisations generally admit that they are only just beginning to tap into online income potential. However, I do meet quite a few – particularly from smaller organisations – who admit to holding-back on online fundraising because of a lack of experience, resources, or budget (or all three).
If this is you, then don’t worry – you’re not alone. Research undertaken this year by sector think tank nfpSynergy revealed that only 41% of UK charities with under £1m turnover actually have the facilities to accept online donations. Given that the majority of the UK’s c200k registered charities raise under £1m, that’s a lot of fundraisers missing-out on the opportunity to generate income online.
Fortunately there was some news earlier this month that will hopefully generate some discussion amongst the missing 41% and help motivate more of them to think about fundraising online. Everyclick, the UK search engine that donates 50% of its revenue to UK charities, has launched a new online fundraising platform adding personal sponsorship fundraising pages, ecommerce, and eVouchers to its secure online donation and search fundraising services.
Of the three it was the personal sponsorship pages that I was most interested to see, as they enable charities of any size and level of experience to offer online donors the ability to set-up their own fundraising page to raise money from their friends and family – and so tap into the growth of Community Fundraising 2.0.
Unfortunately, I must admit to being a bit underwhelmed by what they’re offering. Given the length of time that such services have been available from competitors such as JustGiving and bmycharity I had hoped that Everyclick might have taken the opportunity to leapfrog them and offer a richer fundraising environment. Perhaps with such things as video and blog functionality to really help individuals engage with their personal networks. Instead, the pages only provide the basic minimum of functionality, with tabs for the fundraiser, their charity, and a list of people supporting them. Embed code is provided for a simple widget and search-related income can be allocated to individual pages, but that seems to be it. Have to admit it all looks a bit old fashioned and seems like a missed opportunity for Everyclick – especially given that they’re the company who launched the innovative Santa Swing video campaign last Christmas, providing personalised video cards (with your friends dancing as Santa or an Elf – still live and well worth a look).
Financially, the heart of Everyclick’s competitive proposition is that more of the money donated goes to the chosen charity, thanks to their charging a 4.8% all-inclusive transaction fee which it claims results in its charities receiving £12.20 from a £10 credit card donation with Gift Aid compared to £11.93 from “a leading competitor”.
Clearly when comparing the different companies providing these types of service, transaction fees are an important consideration. But both the functionality and look and feel of the pages that can be created are also very important – increasingly so as people get more used to creating their own rich media online profiles at social network sites. So I’m really surprised that none of the UK companies providing these services has yet broken-away from the basic ‘electronic sponsorship form’ page style.
However, at the end of the day the fact that such services are available to all charities with no set-up costs and no specialist experience needed remains a very good thing – and hopefully the coverage achieved by the Everyclick launch will not only benefit them but also the sector at large as more small charities wake-up to the range online fundraising opportunities now available to them.