Peer to peer fundraising platforms
A lot of the charities I am working with are debating the various merits of peer to peer fundraising platforms (sponsoring a friend online). Much of the debate focuses around which is better – a peer to peer fundraising platform that is integrated into a charity’s website (such as Artez, who THINK work with quite a bit) or separate stand-alone service such as JustGiving and now many others (BMyCharity, EveryClick, Virgin Money and soon to be MyGift)?
The advantages of an integrated solution are obvious. You can control the branding, integrate with your supporter database and if you’re really advanced try and sort out single sign on. This makes for a really smooth online user experience for your supporter/fundraiser. It could also save administration costs by making it easier for your internal business support teams, who have to spend their days importing all your random data from various digital channels. There is also the perception that it will save transaction costs but in my experience the percentage that each solution charges per donation is remarkably similar.
But are we all missing the point?
The stand-alone platforms have mainly focused on providing a great service to the end-user. The fundraiser. Your supporters. When I sponsor my friends (which is costing me a small fortune at the moment, like you I’m sure!) I am interested primarily in them. Not necessarily the charity they are supporting.
Do sponsors (as opposed to fundraisers) care which solution they use? No. What they do care about though is how easy and simple it is to give to their friends. Which is why having one JustGiving account that I can use for all the friends I’m sponsoring, is such a great service. It even remembers my credit card details.
It’s also worth noting the cost required to implement an integrated solution means that only a small percentage of charities will make the investment. For that reason, stand-alone solutions are always going to be used by the majority of charities, who will take advantage of the massive investment that has gone into these solutions. This is a key point. If many fundraisers and sponsors are still using a stand-alone service (because that’s what most charities use) then what is their incentive to use your integrated solution? Will they not be happier just using one system?
So for me trying to compare an integrated solution and a stand-alone solution is like comparing apples and pears. They’re different. If there is a clear business case and you can afford it, integrate peer to peer fundraising solutions into your website, but don’t loose focus on the stand-alone platforms many of your fundraisers will still be using!