We’re celebrating our first birthday

We're celebrating our first birthday and so far we've made charities £1 million better off
It’s been twelve months since we officially launched Virgin Money Giving, so today we’re celebrating our first birthday!

We’ve had an exciting first year, building some great relationships with the charities and event providers, as well as our first Virgin London Marathon, with our fundraisers breaking Guinness World Records.

Fundraisers using Virgin Money Giving

We’ve achieved so much in our first year:

  • Over 2,400 charities signed up to using Virgin Money Giving
  • Over 40,000 fundraisers supporting their charities through our website
  • And over £25 million raised for good causes to date

Our mission in launching Virgin Money Giving was to help charities raise money as cost-effectively as possible.

By only covering our running costs, and by offering a free Gift Aid reclaim service for charities, a staggering £1 million more has gone to charity because fundraisers used Virgin Money Giving rather than JustGiving.*

But our first year hasn’t just been about the numbers, we’ve also rolled up our sleeves and got stuck in too! In our first year our staff runners have completed more than 1500 miles for charity, a team drove to Italy in a £500 car, one of us went for an icy swim on Boxing Day, we’ve held a charity dating evening and fundraising gigs in local pubs.

Virgin Money Giving fundraising

We’ve also had some famous names fundraising with us too. Joe Mcelderry, Fearne Cotton, Denise Van Outen, Alexandra Burke, Gabriella Cilmi, Russell Howard, Princess Beatrice, Holly Branson, Natalie Imbruglia, Jenni Falconer, Michelle Heaton, Ricky Whittle, The Red Arrows, Jimmy White, Sam Fox, The Cat from Red Dwarf, and Big Brother 10 winner Sophie Reade to name just a few!

Fundraising Celebs

We’d just like to say a huge thank you to all the charities and fundraisers who’ve supported us this year. We’re looking forward to another year of fundraising and helping even more charities to raise more online.

*Based on donations made with Visa debit card and Gift Aid collected.

11 Responses to “We’re celebrating our first birthday”

  1. 1 David October 18, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    “By only covering our running costs, and by offering a free Gift Aid reclaim service for charities, a staggering £1 million more has gone to charity because fundraisers used Virgin Money Giving rather than JustGiving.*”

    Is that actually fair to say, given that not everyone (I assume) will have donated with a Visa debit card? Or are you only using info based on donations with a visa debit?

  2. 2 Antony (Virgin Money Giving) October 18, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Hi David

    We use Visa Debit to illustrate the comparison as it’s currently the payment card used the most by people donating through Virgin Money Giving. All of our card fees are shown on the main Virgin Money Giving website here http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving/about-us/fees.jsp

    Virgin Money Giving

  3. 3 Steven October 18, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Odd that you charge Visa Debit at variable rate when businesses are normally charged a flat fee per transaction. How do we know that this is the real transaction cost to you?

  4. 4 David October 19, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Not quite what I was getting at, sorry for not being clear.

    You say that you have helped make £1 million extra for charity. You have based this by a comparison with JustGiving and the relative fees used with a Visa debit.

    What I was wondering though is:

    When you say you have raised £1 million more, is this based on taking what you’ve raised through VMG so far, and then seeing if that same amount was put through JustGiving? If so, this is unfair, as not every one has used a Visa debit.

    Or, have you instead compared all your Visa debit transactions, and then looked at what would have been raised had that gone through JustGiving.

    Sorry to bang on, but I’m a numbers nerd and what you have said is ambiguous.

  5. 5 Antony (Virgin Money Giving) October 27, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Hi Steven

    Thanks for your question about our card fees.

    We’d like to explain our card fees a little more as we are transparent about our charges, and what that means to us as a not-for-profit business.

    Our card processing fees (shown here) are structured in a way that only covers our costs for taking secure payments online.

    There are several elements that make up the card processing fee we charge:

    • Card interchange fees – charged by Visa, Mastercard, and American Express
    • Transaction fees – charged by the bank that handles the payment
    • Costs of the Payment Processing provider completing the transaction

    As you mention in your comment, the Card interchange fees for some debit cards are a fixed amount, however the other fee elements are variable.
    In addition to the costs of processing a ‘physical’ donation there are costs associated with running a safe and secure online payment processing business, including compliance with Payment Card industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), and with the FSA Payment Services Directive (PSD).

    By passing these payment processing costs on, at cost, we don’t make any profit from processing card transactions, and as we’re a not-for-profit business in the event that we did, we would either reduce our charges or invest in new features for the Virgin Money Giving website.

    Virgin Money Giving

  6. 6 Antony (Virgin Money Giving) October 27, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Hi David

    Making a comparison to JustGiving and the amount charged in card processing fees is difficult without knowing the breakdown of the card types used by donors through the JustGving website.

    As this information isn’t published the basis used for the comparison is the profile of donations made through virginmoneygiving.com where the Visa Debit card is the most frequently used card type.

    The significant difference that drives the £1m more to charity is not the card fees, it’s the difference in commission charged by us and JustGiving. JustGiving charge a 5% +VAT commission on the donation amount, and charge an additional 5% +VAT on the Gift Aid that is reclaimed.
    Through Virgin Money Giving commission is only 2% of the donation amount. No fees are charged on Gift Aid, we pass it onto the charities in full, and no VAT is charged.

    We illustrate the comparison using a Visa Debit card, however the comparison still works with the distribution of different card types we’re seeing donations being made on through Virgin Money Giving.

    Virgin Money Giving

  7. 7 David October 27, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Thank you for your reply.

    So, just to be clear…

    You have:

    Taken everything that was donated through Virgin Money Giving, and compared the relative cost had that all gone into JustGiving, and a Visa Debit been used.

    You have not:

    Looked at *just* the donations made on your site with a Visa Debit, and compared the relative cost had that all gone into JustGiving, and a Visa Debit used.

    “The significant difference that drives the £1m more to charity is not the card fees” Really?

    Your fee example here:
    Has you charging 20p on a £10 donation, and debit card fees of 15p.

    Looking at JustGiving:
    Has them charging 75p on a £10 donation, and debit card fess of 16p.

    Granted, we’re looking at an extra penny, but if you consider, on average, that JustGiving are only charging 5.5p in the pound more than you, I’d say that the penny is important.

    This leads on to why I think your comparison is unfair. I know that the distributions of different cards used for payment are not published, nor would I expect them to be.

    The reason it’s unfair, as we can see, is that card fees are still an important factor.

    You could have looked simply at your fees relative to JustGiving’s fees, and ignored the card transaction fees altogether (especially as you say the “significant difference that drives the £1m more to charity is not the card fees”) but you did not. You included Visa debit fees, and I can understand why, it pushes the number up to one with seven digits. Seven digits in a number are always good. However, this is not a fair thing to do.

    Also, Ive been a bit busy and distracted, so haven’t even brought up the whole “How many people went in for gift aid? Are you assuming each donation ticked gift aid?” which surprise me, as that affects the VAT charges etc and is the more obvious choice (I may be a numbers nerd, but I’m not that brainy). The principle would be the same.

    I’d also like to say that JustGiving do use that extra 5.5p extraordinarily well with what they offer.

  8. 8 Steve McInerny November 18, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Well done guys!

    I looked at various online giving sites before settling on Virgin Money Giving for Ganet’s Adventure School Fund donation pages. I found many of the other sites’ fees unreasonable for a small charity such as ourselves – for example, Justgiving charges £15 per month + 5% of donations!

    It’s reassuring to know that virginmoneygiving is a not-for profit enterprise, so we know we’re getting the best possible deal from them. This is reassuring for donors because many of them are very concerned that as much as possible of their donations get to the cause itself.

    I have one request – can you set up a button generator, shopping cart and online postage payment system like Paypal has, so we don’t have to pay Paypal’s fees for our mail-order items?

  9. 9 Antony (Virgin Money Giving) November 22, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Hi David,

    Sorry for not coming back to you sooner.

    If we compare just fees and ignore card transaction fees, over £1m (£1,096,423) more would have gone to good causes between October 14th 2009 (our launch date) and 10th October 2010. This is based on our experience of Gift Aid reclaimed during this time.


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