Just Giving. But to whom?

by | Mar 27, 2017

Is it too late to question why we allowed something as toxic as the Daily Mail to exist?

I read the Third Sector piece about the DM’s article on JustGiving. I may be in the minority here, but I feel as if now they’ve sent the sector into a tailspin over Data Protection, telemarketing, wealth screening, asking for money or anything remotely fundraising-ey they’ve now set their sights on the next thing on their list, which happens to be JustGiving. Dear Lord above, when will they stop?

There are many online giving portals and they all have their devotees. For me it’s JG because, as a data person, the data they provide is polished and easy to manage. Other portals struggle with the level of simplicity and polish which brings its own problems. For one it can be really hard to get the data into the CRM which takes time, and as we know time is money. I’d rather pay the money up front to JG in an open and honest way than pay less to the portal owners, but shell out the cost of increased resource/time needed to sort the data out at the back end.

£20 million is a lot of money but it represents 4.5% of total raised. I don’t know about you – and my financial expertise is modest at best – but I would view this as being good value for money. Staff overhead is about half of that which leaves it at just over 2%. I can tell you now, my staff overhead is much more than 2% of my businesses turnover. Banking costs alone can range from 1% upwards on all transactions, more so for credit card transactions.

As a supporter of charities I feel OK about paying 4.5% to JustGiving, but maybe that’s because I understand what my money is paying for and the benefits of that cost. Did anyone think to ask the charities what they feel about paying JustGiving to administer their donations? How about we bow to the Daily Mail’s anger and remove JG from the fundraising equation. Then what?

We’ll start by every charity having to set up their own easy online donation portal. Then they’ll have to market and manage it. They’ll probably have to pay WorldPay or similar in order to accept credit and debit card payments, maybe they could use Stripe instead. Then we can just hope that John who’s fundraising for them can be arsed to negotiate another site with a different set up so that he can create his page. Then we have to transfer the data from the back end of the charities fundraising portal into their CRM so they’ll probably need an integration tool of some kind. Obviously if they are using Raiser’s Edge they could get Net Communities and Every Day Hero, but these are both fraught with issues, but don’t worry the Database person will spend two days every month sorting the data out from these so it’s correct, and they don’t send communications out to jOhn$ smitHj and cause him undue distress, which the Daily Mail will once again be honour bound to report on.

But we can’t see all of these costs can we?

Here’s the irony. The DM, who are the self-appointed guardians of our wellbeing, saving us from the scourge of immoral and unethical fundraising practices, believe that charities should be more transparent and open about how they trade. We must tell potential donors how much we are paying people to fundraise for us, we must tell people the depths we will go to in the pursuit of information about them, that we can then use to ask them for money. Yet the one organisation that is putting themselves out there and saying “This is what we do. We do it really well but there is going to be a cost for that.”, is now being lambasted for charging too much money.

Make your minds up. Do you want us to tell you or not?

When is this systematic dismantling of the sector by the Daily Mail and its sycophantic followers going to stop? Maybe it’ll stop when one of the significant elders within the DM cult needs to access some of the services that the sector offers. Bereavement support maybe, or how about support for the elderly. Nope, you’re right…surely they are more likely to need help from any of the myriad of mental health organisations that are picking up the pieces of a woefully underfunded area of the NHS – not the fault of the NHS, of whom I am, and always will be, a staunch supporter.

I won’t ever touch the Daily Mail. If I’m waiting somewhere and it’s all that is available to read, I still won’t touch it. That is how strong my hatred is of this publication. Likewise, I expect anyone who works for, reads or has any connection to this toxic vat of scaremongering to make no demands upon charities and the services they deliver, seeing as they so clearly despise us and everything we do.
No, I didn’t think so. Talk about cake and eat it.

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