Charity ChoiceThe Giving Platform
Charity Choice, part of Wilmington Publishing & Information, publishes the UK’s largest charity contact directory. The brief given to Digital Marmalade was to relaunch charitychoice.co.uk as a full service ‘giving-platform’ that enables users to give to all UK registered charities in anyway they choose.
Put simply Charity Choice aims to become to charities what Facebook is to friends and LinkedIn is to business. It allows people to raise money, donate goods, volunteer time and make legacy gifts to over 160,000 charities.
The backbone of the website is a well categorised directory of 160,000 UK registered charities. Website visitors seeking to pledge support, donate time or money or who are looking to get involved in fundraising events can search or browse through the most comprehensive listings of charitable organisations available on the internet.
A subscription engine provides each charity with the option to enhance its listing position, create banner ads and even generate its own microsite within the platform.
A primary goal of the website was to create online communities around each charity and sector. Visitors can create an account and ‘follow’ their favoured charities, engage with other like minded followers, be notified of new appeals and events, volunteer time, donate goods and services and even leave legacies to charities in their wills.
Fundraising and Direct Donations
The platform allows users to browse through the charities, find specific appeals that resonate with them and then choose to donate directly to the charity or to a specific appeal. They can also set up their own fundraising event or sponsor another user’s event
WorldPay’s online payment gateway solution has been seamlessly integrated into the Charity Choice website, adding to the wide range of payment options it offers its users. Charity Choice also provides the functionality to embed the site’s 'donate' button on other websites, providing charities with the possibility of additional income streams.
If a user qualifies, they can also include Gift Aid to boost donations by a further 20%. In the background Gift Aid is automatically processed and reconciled with HMRC on a monthly basis. Digital Marmalade worked in partnership with HM Revenue & Customs to integrate the ‘Charities Online‘ GovTalk service and API with the Charity Choice platform.
In effect, Charity Choice acts as a ‘donations’ holding bank for all the charities. On a weekly basis all donations and fundraised monies are automatically paid to each charity. Payments are made through Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services (BACS). At the end of each month, after HMRC authorisation, Gift Aid is also processed and paid to each charity through BACS payments.
Charity Choice Revenue
To allow Charity Choice to develop and operate the site and to ensure payment fees remain competitively priced the website generates funds through three main revenue streams:
- Primarily, charities can upgrade their listing within the directory through banner adverts, improved directory weighting, and entries into multiple charity categories.
- A subscription engine allows the charities to upgrade their directory profile to a fully functional branded microsite.
- An advertising and category sponsorship engine also provides an additional revenue stream.
The Charity Choice platform provides each charity with numerous real-time financial reports. These reports breakdown and categorise each donation (and associated Gift Aid) by appeal, fundraising activity, and direct donations. Reports can be exported alongside contact details of the fundraiser and donors to assist in targeted email campaigns.
On a platform level, the same reports are aggregated to provide an extremely useful dataset of the world of charity giving across each charity category, region and fundraising event type.