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The best online fundraising platforms for UK charities in 2021

Get up to speed with the range of online giving platforms available to UK charities today. Here, we compare key features, platform fees and more.

Elliot Green
Elliot Green

To say the Coronavirus pandemic has posed challenges for the third sector would be an understatement, but in response to huge pressures we've also seen charities' astounding capacity to adapt and survive.

As donors become more familiar with digital services, and as fundraising events begin to repopulate our calendars, a reliable and capable online fundraising platform that maximises donations is more important than ever.

Here, we've compared the online platforms available to UK charities to help you identify the best fundraising services for your organisation and do the most good possible.

Many charities choose to register with multiple platforms to maximise their impact. Don't forget, you're not limited to just one!

Things to consider


"Zero platform fees"

Many platforms distinguish ‘platform’ fees from other fees like ‘payment processing’ fees or deductions from Gift Aid. Always take a holistic view of costs, both to your charity and to your donors, who may be asked to tip the platform.


Donor tips

Many platforms ask donors to contribute more than the cost of service. Some ask for tips whilst simultaneously charging fees to charities. Tips are often opt-in by default and the amount can be as high as 15% of the donation, which could be seen as exploiting supporters' generosity.


Data, reporting and GDPR compliance

A platform might tick lots of boxes, but does it give you the data you need to build relationships with donors and fundraisers, whilst respecting their personal information?


Core values/purpose

As a charity, you're all about giving back and making a positive difference, but does your fundraising platform exist for the same reasons? Who founded it and why? Charity trustees, fundraisers and donors can all have strong feelings about this and it's important to consider.

Jump to: Platform summary | Compare fees | FAQs | Direct donations/Donate buttons

The platforms

Virgin Money Giving

Update: Virgin Money Giving will close on 30 Nov 2021. Find out more.

Established player and flagship platform for the London Marathon, Virgin Money Giving boasts a large community of fundraisers and offers a range of services from fundraising pages and organised events to corporate fundraising tools. There are some significant charity fees including £150 to register, but the platform is non-profit. Donors are asked for a tip, but only enough to cover the charity's fees on their donation. Fees are directly related to the donation value, so the cost to the charity/the donor's tip is very high on larger donations.

Notable features

Direct donations | Regular giving | Fundraising pages | Events | Corporate fundraising | API | Detailed reporting

Fees

  • £150 set-up fee
  • No subscription fees
  • Donation fees: 2% platform fee + 2.5% processing fee
  • No donor tips
  • Deductions from Gift Aid: 5%

Best for

Larger charities happy to pay fees to a non-profit platform. Those needing lots of features and detailed reporting.


Wonderful.org

Wonderful.org is one of a tiny number of platforms to offer truly fee-free online fundraising pages for registered UK charities. With sleek looks and a super-secure 'Pay by Bank' donation process, charities benefit from instant payments and fundraisers get nifty features like distance tracking and integration with smartphone apps. Wonderful is hard to beat when it comes to maximising each donation and providing a platform for fundraisers to set up slick and engaging fundraising pages for a charity close to their heart.

Charities must register via the underlying Wonderful Payments service, which also allows them to take advantage of direct donations and donate buttons for their websites. These direct donations are fee-free subject to fair usage.

Notable features

Truly fee-free | Fundraising pages with distance tracking | Events functionality | Slick and secure donation process

Fees

  • No set-up fee
  • No subscription fees
  • No donation fees
  • No donors tips
  • No deductions from Gift Aid

Best for

Charities wishing to use a platform that shares a true ethos of giving. Those looking for a genuinely fee-free service that helps them modernise and take advantage of new technology.


Just Giving

After more than twenty years of service, Just Giving has become the most well-known fundraising platform in the UK. The site is home to a large community of fundraisers/charities and offers a wide range of services. After being purchased by Blackbaud in 2017 for some £95m, the company continues to provide an all-in-one online fundraising solution, from donate buttons to team fundraising pages and event registration.

The platform recently dropped its 5% platform fee in favour of a default 15% donor tip. Just Giving says charities deserve the best, not the cheapest, and claims to reinvest heavily into platform development.

Notable features

All-in-one solution | Large user base | Eventbrite integration | APIs

Fees

  • No set-up fee
  • Subscription fee: £15-£39/mth
  • Donation fees: 1.9% + 20p processing fee
  • Default donor tip: 15%
  • Deductions from Gift Aid: 5%

Best for

Charities looking for a tried and tested platform with lots of bells and whistles.


Givey

Givey aims to help the 'forgotten 95%' of small charities in the UK, who even collectively, receive less funding than the small number of very large UK charities.   Givey has created a social donations platform with a focus on social media sharing/activity. There's a theme of clarity, from its slick interface to the transparency of its fees (a simple 5% tip from each donor, which covers all platform costs).

Notable features

Strong social community | Custom donation amounts | Donor-covered fees

Fees

  • No set-up fee
  • No subscription fees
  • No donation fees
  • Donor tip: 5% (mandatory)
  • No deductions for Gift Aid

Best for

Charities wishing to build more presence on social channels and connect with millennials/Gen Z. Those who value simplicity/good user experience.


Enthuse

Originally Charity Checkout and rebranded as Enthuse, this business offers a suite of donation, fundraising and events solutions all under the charity's brand. Less of a separate fundraising platform, more of a branded/hosted solution, with a focus on building relationships with donors, the platform's all-in-one approach brings lots to the table. Pricing is relatively complex depending on the package. Tips are requested from donors and the default amount is significant (12.5%), but there is an option for tips to solely cover the charity's fee.

Notable features

Custom branding | All-in-one solutions | Event registration and ticketing | Virtual events

Fees

  • No set-up fee
  • Subscription fees: £19.99-£400/mth
  • Donation fees: 1.9% + 20p processing fee*
  • Event ticket fee: 3.5% + 75p*
  • Default donor tip: 12.5%
  • Deductions from Gift Aid: 5%*
*These fees don't apply on direct donations.

Best for

Charities looking for a charity-focused, bespoke, all-in-one service.


Local Giving

Local Giving aims to use digital fundraising and online giving tools to connect charities with local communities and volunteers. As well as fundraising pages and charity appeals, local charities can tap into national campaigns, match-funding and lottery-funded grant schemes and implement them at the local level. They also offer training on digital fundraising skills and help connect local charities with various funding sources. Local Giving's mission it to safeguard the sustainability of local voluntary and fundraising communities. Instead of a list of charities, you'll find a map with pins identifying local charities and groups near your location. The platform is non-profit but various fees apply. Donors are asked to tip the platform.

Notable features

National fundraising campaigns | Grant schemes | Training

Fees

  • No set-up fee
  • Subscription fees: £80/yr
  • Donation fees: 1% + 16p processing fee (debit cards). Higher on other payment methods. 5% platform fee on donations of £200 or more.
  • Default donor tip: 10%
  • Deductions from Gift Aid: 5%

Best for

Smaller charities looking to connect with local volunteers and fundraisers. Those looking to take advantage of funding schemes and match-funding.


The Big Give

This platform utilises a match-funding model to try and bring more funds to charities. It brings together charities, philanthropists (foundations, corporations, high net worth individuals and statutory bodies) and the public to raise the most cash possible. Charities can create their own fundraising/match-funding campaigns, or apply to take part in official match-funding schemes including the  'The Christmas Challenge', which they say is the biggest match-funding scheme in the UK. Fees do apply on donations and tips are requested from donors, but unlike some platforms, The Big Give is a charity itself so doesn't operate for-profit.

Notable features

Match-funding | and Fundraising campaigns | Annual Christmas Challenge scheme | Free training and resources | Emergency appeals

Fees

  • No set-up fees
  • No subscription fees
  • Donation fees: 1.5% + 20p Visa/MasterCard | 3.2% + 20p non-EU/American Express.
  • Default donor tip: 12.5%
  • No deductions from Gift Aid

Best for

Match-funding schemes


The Good Exchange

Another charity-owned platform focused on match-funding and grant allocation, The Good Exchange helps connect funders to regional causes and fundraisers. Fundraising projects created by charities are matched to local funders, who decide whether to contribute to the projects. Matched funds are displayed transparently on fundraising pages and fundraisers can set up pages alone or in teams. A simple 5% fee is charged to charities on each donation, and the donor can choose to cover this fee.

Additional funding is concentrated in areas where The Good Exchange has funder support (mainly West Berkshire and North Hampshire with a few funders in other parts of the UK. See list here).

Notable features

Match-funding | Grants | Team fundraising pages | Regional projects

Fees

  • No set-up fees
  • No subscription fees
  • Donation fee: 5%
  • Default donor tip: 5%
  • No deductions from Gift Aid

Best for

Match-funding schemes and grant-making


Total Giving

Total Giving is one of a very small number of platforms that don't charge any fees to charities. It also won't ask for tips from donors, but charities must integrate with supported payment providers, each of which charges processing fees on donations. Total Giving provides much of the fundraising features charities require, such as charity profile pages, direct donations, fundraising pages. It's part of an umbrella of free charity services including donation management software, CRM tools and even website building services. The look and feel isn't a modern and slick as some platforms, but this one of a very small number of services that really keeps costs down in the interest of giving.

Notable features

Direct and regular donations | Fundraising and appeal pages | Gift Aid processing | APIs and webhooks

Fees

  • No set-up fees
  • No subscription fees
  • Donation fees: 1.3% +20p payment processing fee (paid to supported payment provider)
  • No donor tips
  • No deductions from Gift Aid

Best for

Charities requiring a wide range of services at little to no cost.


People's Fundraising (Golden Giving)

A platform offering a whole host of fundraising features at much lower costs than you might expect. As a group of technology professionals unhappy about platforms charging high fees to charities, the founders of People's Fundraising set out to offer what charities require without making a profit. The platform was originally branded as Golden Giving, but has recently relaunched as People's Fundraising. It has diverse feature-set, supporting one-off, regular giving and even contactless donations and QR codes. There is a simple 2.1% fee on donations, with no deductions from Gift Aid or any other charges to charities.

Notable features

Individual and team fundraising | Events and ticketing | Auctions | Raffles | QR codes

Fees

  • No set-up fees
  • No subscription fees
  • Donation fees: 1.75% / 2.75% platform fee + 0.36% + 7p (debit cards). Higher on other payment methods.
  • No donor tips
  • No deductions from Gift Aid

Best for

Charities requiring a wide range of digital fundraising features on a simple a friendly platform.


Investors in Community

This platform aims to connect individuals, charities and businesses in a live 'marketplace' of projects for good causes. The platform utilises 5 measurable ways of giving: donations, fundraising campaigns, volunteering, pro bono support, and gifting of items/services. These types of giving are united by a common currency of 'community credits' to help users measure their impact. Businesses can use the platform to connect with different charitable projects and boost their corporate social responsibility for a fee of £10/employee/month.

Much like Wonderful.org, Investors in Community uses funds from businesses that invest in the platform to cover its costs. This means there are no fees for charities/good causes and no deductions from donations.

Notable features

Individual and skilled volunteering | Tools for responsible businesses | Multiple giving types

Fees

  • No set-up fees
  • No subscription fees
  • No donation fees
  • No donor tips
  • No deductions from Gift Aid

Best for

Charities looking working with businesses and skilled volunteers as well as individual fundraisers/public campaigns.


KindLink is an impressive platform aimed at businesses who want to showcase their charitable work. It connects socially responsible companies with charities and voluntary groups that need their support. The platform brings lots to the table, including donations and fundraising pages, volunteering, in-kind giving, payroll giving and grants. KindLink emphasises the impact of donations and charitable work with a 'wall' of activity for each charity/project.

The platform markets itself directly to businesses, which may help charities pull in more corporate support. Charities can submit a call for donations, volunteers, fundraisers or in-kind services from participating businesses. There is a payment processing fee on donations, but charities pay no other fees.

Notable features

Slick interface | Donations and fundraising | Corporate volunteering and in-kind services | Grants | Impact reporting

Best for

Charities looking for a modern platform to connect with philanthropic businesses.


Fundraising platform summary

Donation yield assumes Gift Aid is applied.

Platform Who can register? £10 donation yields Funds received Non-profit
Wonderful.org Registered UK charities £12.50 Immediately Yes
Investors in Community Registered UK charities, Unregistered/exempt UK charities, Non-profits £12.50 Yes
Givey Registered UK charities, Unregistered/exempt UK charities, Non-profits £12.50 Weekly No
KindLink Registered UK charities, Unregistered/exempt UK charities, Non-profits £12.22 Weekly Yes
People's Fundraising Registered UK charities, Unregistered/exempt UK charities, Non-profits £12.22 Yes
Total Giving Registered UK charities £12.17 Immediately Yes
The Big Give Registered UK charities, Unregistered/exempt UK charities £12.15 Yes
Local Giving UK-based charitable organisations £12.09 Biweekly/Monthly Yes
Crowdfunder Registered UK charities, Unregistered/exempt UK charities, Non-profits, Businesses, Individuals £12.08 After campaign ends Yes
CAF Donate Registered UK charities, Unregistered/exempt UK charities £12.05 Yes
Virgin Money Giving Registered UK charities, Unregistered/exempt UK charities £12.05 Weekly Yes
GoFundMe Registered UK charities, Unregistered/exempt UK charities, Non-profits, Businesses, Individuals £12.01 Daily No
The Good Exchange Registered UK charities, Unregistered/exempt UK charities, Orgs operating for community benefit £12.00 After campaign ends Yes
Enthuse Registered UK charities, Unregistered/exempt UK charities £11.98-£12.50 Monthly No
Just Giving Registered UK charities, Unregistered/exempt UK charities, Non-profits £11.98 Weekly or monthly No
Global Giving Registered charities, Non-profits, NGOs £11.50 Monthly Yes

Fee comparison

Platform Set-up/recurring fees Donation fees Gift Aid fees Donor tips
Wonderful.org No None No No
Investors in Community No None No No
Givey No None No 5% mandatory
KindLink £1.50/active mth, 10p/weekly payout 1.45% + 14p (UK/UE cards) No No
People's Fundraising No 1.75% / 2.75% platform fee + 0.36% + 7p (debit cards) / 0.95% + 7p (credit cards) / 1.4% +20p (Pay Pal) / 25p Direct debit / 20p 'Pay by Bank' No No
Total Giving* No 1.3% + 20p (card payments, Apple Pay) / 1.4% + 20p (PayPal) / 1% direct debit No No
The Big Give No 1.5% + 20p No 12.5% optional
Local Giving £80/yr 5% on donations ≥£200, 1.0% + 16p (UK debit cards) / 1.4% + 16p (UK credit cards) / 1.4% + 20p (PayPal) 5% 10% optional
Crowdfunder No 1.9% + 23p No 15% optional
CAF Donate No 3.6% 3.6% No
Virgin Money Giving £150 set-up fee 4.5% (2% platform + 2.5% processing fee) No 4.5% optional
GoFundMe No 2.9% + 20p No 12% optional
The Good Exchange No 5% No 5% optional
Enthuse £34.99/mth for direct donations, £19.99-£400/mth for fundraising/ events pages None for direct donations, 1.9% + 20p on fundraising/event pages, 5.4% + 95p on ticketed events None for direct donations 5% on fundraising/event pages 12.5% optional
Just Giving £15/mth, £39/mth if you raise over £15k/yr 1.9% + 20p 5% 15% optional
Global Giving No 8% (5% platform + 3% processing fee) 8% 15% optional

*Total Giving itself does not charge any fees, but uses third-party payment providers to handle donations. For comparison purposes, we've listed these payment options and the fees the charity pays for them.

Fees, or 'smoke and mirrors'?

Today, there are so many platforms to choose from and so many different types of fees that it can all feel a bit like 'smoke and mirrors'. Of course, it costs money to run a fundraising platform, but why do fees vary so much? Surely each platform broadly does the same thing, and should have roughly the same fees?

In a great podcast by the Third Sector publication, Jo Barnett of Virgin Money Giving succinctly sums up what's required of a platform:

"The reality is, it should be as low cost as possible, it should be about getting the money to charities as quickly as possible, it should be about making that money safe, and it should be about having a really brilliant customer experience - for the donors, for the charities and for the fundraisers."

Looking at the platform summary, these requirements are broadly achieved by all platforms, some better than others. Some do this whilst passing on 100% of the donation (including Gift Aid) and without having to ask the donor for a tip. Of course, each platform has a different focus and slightly different features, so charities need to do some research to decide which platform(s) to sign up to.

Listen to the podcast mentioned above:

FAQs

What is a charity fundraising platform?

A platform for charities and their supporters to raise donations as part of an ongoing campaign, appeal, challenge or public/corporate fundraising event. Individual fundraising pages/donation pages can be shared on social media, in emails or linked from printed fundraising materials to maximise reach and engagement. Online platforms replicate and build upon traditional cash-based 'sponsorship forms' and bring fundraising into the digital era. All charities should utilise at least one online platform to ensure they support online giving as well as in-person/cash donations.

Which is the best platform overall?

This, of course, depends on the charities/fundraisers goals and priorities. Platforms like Enthuse bring lots of features to the table, but at cost. Other platforms like Wonderful.org are 100% free, but don't offer as many features. Think about how you wish to fundraise and what's most important to your cause. The platform summaries above will give you a good idea of what's available.

What's the cheapest/lowest cost fundraising platform?

Sadly, only a tiny number charity fundraising platforms are genuinely free. Wonderful.org is is a great option for general fundraising. Investors in Community is also 100% free with additional focus on corporate fundraising. Cost is one important factor to consider. See the fee comparison above for a like-for-like breakdown.

Which platform is best for team fundraising?

On most platforms, any group of people can set up a single fundraising page and collectively promote it to friends and family. Some platforms like GoFundMe and Just Giving allow teams of individual fundraising pages to be grouped together underneath a team page. This adds a level of competition between team members which can help boost donations.

Which fundraising platform is best for virtual events?

Many charities use one of the fundraising platforms above to collect donations whilst linking to an external live streaming platform to host a virtual event. Popular live streaming platforms include Twitch, YouTube Live and Facebook Live. Fundraising platforms that integrate with running/activity tracking apps like Wonderful.org and Just Giving allow charities to run virtual running/challenge style events where participants can work together to cover miles and raise money. Enthuse also offers a 'virtual journeys' feature with unique map-based challenges.

Which fundraising platform is best for UK schools?

Schools with a registered UK charity arm can use almost any of the platforms listed above. Schools are often on tight budgets and sometimes receive large one-off donations, making the small number of fee-free platforms a good option. If your school isn't a registered charity you can still use some of the platforms - see  platform summary.

Which platform is best for fundraising quickly?

Some platforms including Total Giving and Wonderful.org transfer donated funds immediately to the charity as soon as they're received. Others send funds to charities on a weekly or monthly basis (see platform summary above). Another option is for charities to integrate directly with a payment provider via their website to cut out the middle man and receive donations more quickly.

Direct donations / donate buttons

The services below allow charities to take direct payments from donors on their websites or in-person. Many of the fundraising platforms listed above offer one-off and regular direct giving as part of the service, but if charities simply want to place a donation button on their website or build a bespoke donation solution, they can use one of the online payment providers below.

PayPal

PayPal is one of the most well-known online payment providers in the world, and UK charities can take advantage of a discounted transaction fee  of 1.4% +20p when receiving one-off or recurring donations. A simple donate button or a donation checkout panel can be placed on the charity's website. In-person donations are also available via a Zettle card reader.

Many of the fundraising platforms listed on this page also allow donors to give via PayPal.  Approved charities with PayPal accounts can also take advantage of the PayPal Giving Fund, which allows them to receive donations via popular websites like eBay and and Facebook. GoFundMe integrates with the PayPal Giving Fund but charges its own fees on donations.

Notable features

Familiarity | One-off and regular donations | In-person/contactless donations | Product sales | Automated Gift Aid

Fees

  • No set-up fees
  • No subscription fees
  • Donation fees: 1.4% + 20p (online donations) / 1.5% + 20p (offline donations)
  • No donor tips
  • No deductions from Gift Aid

Best for

Charities happy to pay fees for a robust, familiar payment solution on their websites. Those looking to tap into large platforms like eBay and Facebook.

Wonderful Payments

Wonderful Payments is the underlying donation payment service that powers the Wonderful.org fundraising platform mentioned above. With Wonderful Payments, charities benefit from direct, super-secure donations authorised by the donor's own online banking/mobile banking app. There are no fees, subject to fair use, and charities can embed donate buttons on their websites or link to their dedicated donation page. Gift Aid can be added on donations and claimed by the charity using full donation report data.

Notable features

No fees, subject to fair use | Super-secure, instant donations | Donate buttons

Fees

  • No set-up fees
  • No subscription fees
  • Donation fees: None, subject to fair use
  • No donor tips
  • No deductions from Gift Aid

Best for

Charities happy to pay fees for a robust, familiar payment solution on their websites. Those looking to tap into large platforms like eBay and Facebook.

Evershare

Like Wonderful Payments, Evershare uses Open Banking to offer a direct donation service for charities who wish to receive payments via their own websites or in-person via QR codes. Unlike Wonderful Payments, there is a fee on every donation, but this fee is still vastly cheaper than more traditional payment services like PayPal or Stripe. The platform has also partnered with SwiftAid to allow charities to automatically claim Gift Aid on Enthuse donations.

Notable features

Secure 'Pay by Bank' donations | Low transaction fees | QR codes

Fees

  • No set-up fees
  • None in first year, £15 / mth thereafter
  • Donation fees: 1.5% + 10p (if Gift Aid is applied) / 0.5% + 5p (offline donations)
  • No donor tips
  • Deductions from Gift Aid: see above

Best for

Low-cost, contactless, in-person donations.

Stripe

Second only to PayPal, Stripe is one of the biggest payment processing services available. It primarily provides highly customisable payment solutions to businesses, but charities and non-profits can apply for a discounted transaction fee of 1.2% + 20p (reduced from 1.4% + 20p). Charities with skilled technical teams can use Stripe's comprehensive API to build complex and bespoke donation/product sales/event ticketing systems on their own websites. However, like PayPal, fees are much higher when compared to charity-specific services like Wonderful Payments and Evershare.

Notable features

Credit/debit card donation processing | Customisability / APIs | Detailed reporting

Fees

  • No set-up fees
  • No subscription fees
  • Donation fees: 1.4% + 20p
  • No donor tips

Best for

Technically capable charities wishing to build their own donation/fundraising systems.

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