This is one of the main reasons we started this initiative. Make sure you don’t involuntarily make a voluntary contribution: Online giving platforms are making fortunes as they cash in on Britain’s generosity.

Making contributions to charities are discretionary, but with recent mentions of ‘voluntary tips’ at the check-outs of platforms like JustGiving and GoFundMe, donations of as much as 15% are featured as automatic add-ons.

It is reported that that Britons have been using their extra time — and savings — to raise millions of pounds for charity. Leading the pack, JustGiving alone reported a 157 per cent increase in the number of crowdfunding appeals since March 2020 compared to the previous year. 

But just how much of our donations do they pocket themselves? And why is there still so little transparency around fees? 

It has been several years since Just­Giving and GoFundMe dropped their platform charges, which saw them take huge slices of fundraising totals. However, more recently, the websites have added ‘voluntary tips’ at the check-out that are set between 10 per cent and 15 per cent and go directly to the website. 

One small charity CEO, who did not want to be named for fear of damaging her relationship with the site, says: ‘We pay £46.80 a month in total to JustGiving. 

‘I think it’s very misleading that they then ask for an extra 15 per cent from donors, who probably think that’s the only way the websites generate money. It’s not very transparent and it does frustrate us.’ 

Who is cashing in?

JustGiving was taken over by U.S. software giant Blackbaud in a £95million deal in 2017. The company is one of the world’s largest providers of education, administration, fundraising and financial management software. 

Blackbaud’s chief executive Mike Gianoni made £6.6million from the company last year. This included a £433,136 salary, £6.2million in company shares and £20,610 in other benefits including pension contributions. 

GoFundMe was founded in May 2010 by Brad Damphousse and Andrew Ballester in San Diego, California. It was reportedly sold for around $600million (£424million) in 2015. It is now owned by American venture capital firm Accel and investment firm Technology Crossover Ventures. While it has offices around the world including in the UK, no details of its accounts can be found online. 

Read more about the rising numbers in charity fraud and what these online giving platforms have to say here: