While charities have had 5 months’ notice of the closure of BT MyDonate (with last donations being accepted at midnight on Sunday 30th June 2019), the date seems to have come around remarkably swiftly. While the platform has been running for over 8 years and still has almost 15,000 charities registered to fundraise, the announcement showed how challenging it is for profit-making organisations to fund, manage, develop and support a charitable giving/crowdfunding platform on an on-going basis, especially when times are tough and profits from the commercial side of the business are being challenged.
To quote Alan Martin of web designer Fat Beehive, “If the end of BT MyDonate has taught us anything, it’s that services that minimise their cut won’t necessarily be around forever”.
Our advice is to look for sustainability, operational focus and functionality when choosing a crowdfunding platform. The Good Exchange platform differs from many other platforms in that it disburses charitable grants as well as allowing fundraising organisations to collect donations and money from fundraising activities.
Since we have no shareholders, we are only concerned with covering our costs. Other providers have different priorities, and work in a variety of ways. Some of those that say they do not charge a fee on donations do charge registration and/or membership fees. Most charge an administration/payment processing fee and some of these also add transaction charges.
The decision shouldn’t just be about the cost but also about the overall service that the chosen platform provides. Independent research commissioned by The Good Exchange, conducted by global research company, Vanson Bourne, found that respondents from applicant organisations typically complete 33 separate grant applications per year, with each taking eight hours to fill in on average. This equates to 264 hours in total spent applying for funding. Often undertaken by volunteers or as part of other full-time job roles, this can be a significant burden for applicant organisations.
While hundreds of hours per year are currently spent on filling in grant applications, almost three in five (59%) are ultimately unsuccessful according to the applicants surveyed (equating to 22 working days per year of wasted effort per applicant organisation). As a result, we strongly recommend that fundraising charities look for on-line platforms that can also cut the time they spend on grant applications, allowing them to spend more time on service delivery.
We also know that many smaller charities would love to embrace technology but don’t have the resources (and sometimes the skills) required. We recognise this at The Good Exchange and have a highly skilled and easily accessible customer service team, ready and able to provide telephone and e-mail support (which we know is difficult to get from many of the global crowdfunding platforms).
So if your charity is one of the almost 15,000 listed on BT MyDonate and you’re looking for something to replace it, why not give The Good Exchange a try? We operate on a ‘no-win, no fee’ basis so it cost nothing to use until your first grants and/or donations come through!