Virgin Money Giving claims it will undercut rival JustGiving


Caroline Hartnell


Caroline Hartnell

Caroline Hartnell

The launch on 25 August of Virgin Money Giving, the new not-for-profit online donation service of Virgin Money, the finance arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, shows just how the competition is hotting up in the area of online donations. Virgin Money Giving is upfront with its claim that it will offer a better deal than other UK-based online donations sites, claiming that it will reduce the cost of raising money online by up to 60 per cent.

What I found particularly interesting is the emphasis on the fact that it is a non-profit company. If you click on the link that says ‘The best deal for charities’, the first of ten points is ‘We’re 100 per cent non-profit’. If you click on ‘How we compare with other online donation websites’, you will find a 12-point comparison with two other online donation sites, JustGiving and Bmycharity. The top line is ‘Not for profit’, for which Virgin Money Giving gets a tick and the other two get a damning cross. The press release quotes Richard Branson as saying: ‘As a not-for-profit business, charities can be confident that Virgin Money Giving’s fees are as low as we can possibly make them so they receive the maximum amount possible from every donation.’

How much does it matter? In an article entitled ‘Lessons from the online giving industry – Profit taboo in social enterprise country?’ published in Alliance in September 2006, Rod Schwartz argued that it doesn’t and that ‘the for-profit model can be an important producer of social benefit’. Clearly this argument is still very much a live one.

Tagged in: JustGiving Online donation Virgin Money

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