Did the platform profit from Captain Tom's NHS walk?
Campaigners are demanding to know whether fundraising platform JustGiving profited from the £15m raised by Captain Tom Moore after his 100th birthday walk for the NHS.
The fundraiser broke the platform’s record for the largest sum raised through a single campaign but the company hasn’t responded to questions whether it took fees for hosting the event.
The 99-year-old war veteran had hoped to raise just £1,000 to support NHS staff through NHS Charities Together, via the popular site JustGiving but went on to smash every fundraising record in the process.
Neil Coyle, the Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, tweeted: “This is amazing. Now we need to make sure @JustGiving do not take a profit off the money intended for the #NHS and those affected by this international emergency. Public donations should reach the intended beneficiary.”
Many concerns were also voiced from donors on social media asking if it had taken any cash from the fundraiser. Justgiving responded in a tweet: “We removed our platform-fee last year. We've also donated £100,000 to Captain Tom's page to show our support to him and NHS Charities Together. Hope this helps.”
JustGiving scrapped its 5% platform fee in 2019, meaning it no longer takes a cut from donations, however it still charges card payment processing fees and takes money from Gift Aid.
It moved to a voluntary contribution model, set at a default 10% of the donation amount, which donors have to opt out of by selecting “other” in a list of drop-down options.
The voluntary contributions, which can be up to 15% of the donation amount, have saved charities £20m in the last year, according to JustGiving.
“Adding a small contribution on top of your donation means we can continue to help more people,” the appeal reads, with a pop-up information bar clarifying that “it will be used to maintain the technology that keeps our site running 24/7” and “provide top-notch customer service.”
So if donors contributing to half of Moore’s total paid the default 10% of the donation amount, and those contributing to the other half paid nothing, JustGiving stood to make £750,000.
If a donation is eligible for Gift Aid, JustGiving said it claims the Gift Aid from HMRC and deducts a 5% processing fee before passing the remaining amount to the charity.
JustGiving also makes money by charging charities a membership fee for raising large sums of money through the site: £15 a month for charities raising up to £15,000 a year, and £39 a month for charities raising more than that.
Despite some donors raising concerns on social media and calling on the platform to waive its payment processing fees for Moore’s fundraiser, charities praised the service.
Daniel Fluskey, the head of policy at the Institute of Fundraising, said: “JustGiving has revolutionised fundraising, bringing a new level of sophistication and reliability and while it is a tech company and not a charity it is important we see it as a partner with charities.”
He added: “If you didn’t have that technical sophistication, it’s entirely possible the system would have crashed – and you wouldn’t have raised all that money for the NHS,” he said.
“The experience of our members is that having a good site that they can rely on, that they know works and minimises fraud is incredibly useful, and it is also important that donors and supporters get a smooth experience. If it is clunky and doesn’t work well, people won’t give.”