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Sunday, 18 April 2021
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Increase in online giving as digital fundraising takes the lead

THE charity sector was certainly not alone in having a tough 2020, but for an industry that relies on face to face events and in-person giving as well as retail for a large part of their operation, many have been left with large gaps in fundraising as a result.

This has been significant; from loss of donations to redundancies and even closure, COVID-19 has cast a dark shadow on the charity sector. The irony is that many charities were set up to help the very people who were most at risk, such as the elderly and those with existing health conditions.

This is perhaps why, for many charities, digital fundraising has become a lifeline. The digital and contactless fundraising platform DONATE™ registered 5x more in total money donated via the platform vs 2019, with a huge 81% of donations received coming through SMS text.

The platform, which offers a range of digital technologies as a transformative fundraising tool to national, regional and independent charities and charitable organisations, saw a spike in giving over the summer with a 36x increase in total donations from January to July 20. This spanned across text giving, web giving, text raffles, contactless and online auctions.

Founder Trustee at National Funding Scheme, DONATE™, William Makower said:

“As a charity ourselves, we truly understand the challenges our partners have faced during the Pandemic. Fundraising in a normal climate is tough enough, but the Lockdown has meant charities have had to completely rethink how and when they fundraise. Digital fundraising has been a lifeline, and we’ve been amazed at the ingenuity and innovation shown by the sector when using the DONATE™ platform.

“From virtual text-raffles and auctions to localised online giving, those charities who are nimble and imaginative have been able to secure not only more funds but long-term supporters who previously they may not have reached. The DONATE™ platform reduces the charities’ administration, removes their GDPR risk and runs the Gift Aid reclaims to allow them to deliver front-line services. We are really proud to have been able to support the sector and demonstrate the value of digital fundraising.”

Campaigns such as Dame Helen Mirren backed emergency appeal with the Intensive Care Society to raise funds for the well-being of stretched ICU staff, the Red For Ruth text campaign with The Ruth Strauss Foundation and Big Issue North’s Hardship Fund to support vendors, contributed to the platform’s most successful year to date, spreading the word of digital fundraising and text giving in the process.

Bronte Schiltz, Fundraising and Communications Officer at Big Issue North, said:

“With COVID-19 forcing vendors out of work and requiring the purchase of PPE and contactless payment devices, the organisation took a financial hit as the price vendors pay for magazines usually covers our production costs. We truly could not have coped with the challenges posed by COVID-19 without DONATE™’s platform and excellent customer service, and we are incredibly grateful.”

In addition, over the festive period, 53 Parent Teacher Association’s ran 62 text raffles, raising over £28,000 to support the school communities in lieu of traditional fundraising events.

Schools like The Friary School PFTA in Lichfield saw £1,175 raised to support the school at a time when many are turning to digital fundraising.

Lottie Hearn, Assistant Headteacher at The Friary School PTFA, said:

“We started to use text raffles to support the school during the lockdown and have been amazed by the support we’ve received from the school community. The £1,175 raised will go a long way towards helping our pupils at this tough time.”

Now in its seventh year, DONATE™, which is a registered charity itself, saw 64x more donated in 2020 than in 2013 in its launch year. It differs from other digital platforms such as Just Giving and Virgin Giving in that it provides a service direct to the charity rather than the donor. This means it can become a long term fundraising partner.

DONATE™ is the operating name of the National Funding Scheme.

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