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Online giving

Many charitable fundraisers promote their cause through a webpage on an online giving platform. These pages can be a cost effective way to raise public awareness quickly and make a cause visible to a large audience. They can also provide international exposure, allowing overseas donors to engage with causes they would otherwise not know about.
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I want to go straight to the code and read what it says about online giving

Read the Code

I want to go straight to the code and read what it says about online giving

I have a concern about a particular online giving platform issue

Make a complaint

I have a concern about a particular online giving platform issue

For fundraisers and online platforms

Online giving platforms can help you to collect income. This may come directly into your charity’s bank account, or through fundraisers who collect donations before passing them on.

Campaigns with regular updates provide donors with a sense of impact, increasing engagement with the cause. Online giving also allows donors to donate to emergency and disaster appeals as they unfold. This helps to get money where it is needed as quickly as possible.

For this reason, it is important that fundraising platforms and fundraisers are clear about where the money is going so that donors have all the facts they need to make an informed decision to give.

Charities working with volunteers fundraising online should be aware of the rules about volunteer fundraisers to minimise risk. Definitions of ‘in aid of’ and ‘on behalf of’ fundraisers are important in managing online fundraisers.

For the public

Donors can support a range of causes through online giving platforms. Campaigns may be linked to a charity directly or support the personal causes of individuals. Online giving provides a way of quickly getting money where it is needed in a national disaster or emergency.

Sometimes money raised goes to an individual rather than a registered charity. While the majority of these personal campaigns are legitimate, only give to causes you trust.

Platforms often charge fees for processing donations to cover their costs. The platform should be transparent about fees and tell you what they are before you donate.

If you are concerned about the legitimacy of a campaign, you should report it to the online giving platform in the first instance. If you are in any doubt about a campaign for a registered charity, you can also contact the charity directly to confirm legitimacy or donate directly.

For more information about donating online, please see our online guidance.

Online giving resources

Opinion
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People, process and technology: how GoFundMe keeps users safe

A blog by Meghan Luther at GoFundMe for Charity Fraud Awareness week 2018, explaining how the fundraising platform protects donors and beneficiaries against the risk of fraud.
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Guidance
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Online fundraising - advice and guidance for the public

Guidance designed to highlight the key things you need to know about online fundraising platforms whether you are setting up an appeal of your own, or donating to an existing one.
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Guidance
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Guidance for fundraising platforms: 5 focus areas for donor transparency

The Fundraising Regulator analysed information provided to donors across eighteen well-known platforms. This guidance represents the minimum standard of information we would expect to see for donors to be able to make an informed decision to donate.
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Consultation on the Code February 2018

The Fundraising Regulator's latest consultation on the Code of Fundraising Practice
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Related investigations

Investigation
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Decision: Brain Tumour Research

The final decision following an investigation by the Fundraising Regulator into the fundraising practices of Brain Tumour Research.
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Investigation
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A complaint about volunteer fundraising: Mr W

Mr W used an online giving platform to organise a race to raise money for a town in Africa. His intention was to organise the race every year until the local people could organise it instead.
He agreed with a charity that the money raised would be given to them, and that the charity would then pass money to him each year as needed. But he’s now in a disagreement with the charity about what should happen to the money raised.
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