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Justgiving scraps controversial donations charge

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By Vicky Shaw, Press Association Personal Finance Correspondent

JustGiving is scrapping a controversial 5% fee for donations - making it easier for people and communities to reach targets for the sums they need to raise.

The fundraising website said its 24 million customers will be able to use the personal crowdfunding service without paying "platform fees".

Its service allows people and communities to raise money for personal causes and receive funds directly.

The changes also mean the removal of fees for money being raised following major incidents including acts of terrorism and natural disasters.

Changes to crowdfunding will take effect immediately, with changes relating to major incidents to be put in place in the coming weeks. Third-party processing fees on card payments will still be charged.

People have previously pledged money to appeals through the website following major atrocities such as the Manchester Arena attack and Grenfell Tower fire.

JustGiving said the fee removals mean more funds raised via the crowdfunding platform will go to the people and communities who use it - making it easier to reach their targets.

So far, JustGiving Crowdfunding has raised more than £150 million - with 500,000 campaigns created for good causes, following the product launch three years ago.

Jerry Needel, JustGiving's president, said: "We are very proud to announce that, from today, people using JustGiving can crowdfund for free. These changes mean our users can raise money for personal causes, using our world-class technology, all without paying a platform fee."

He continued: "Following feedback from our amazing community of fundraisers, we are also announcing that JustGiving will now be free to use following major incidents, including acts of terrorism, catastrophes or natural disasters. We know people want to help those affected as quickly as possible after these events and we want to do everything we can to support that.

"We are excited about the significant changes we are making and look forward to continuing our work supporting thousands of charities and millions of individuals raising funds for the causes that matter to them the most."

JustGiving said that, as of January 1 2019, card processing fees for crowdfunding will be set at 2.9% plus 25p, "in line with other major crowdfunding platforms".

Peter Lewis, chief executive at the Institute of Fundraising, said: "We welcome today's announcement from JustGiving. We are pleased to see JustGiving continuing to develop its model and responding proactively to enable donors' money to go even further, especially at times of major incidents."

JustGiving is also starting a consultation period with charity partners to ensure effective collection of Gift Aid.

Richard Bray, vice chairman at the Charity Tax Group, said: "We are pleased to be working with JustGiving to consult with the charity sector about how to continue providing and funding a highly efficient Gift Aid service."

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Robert Jenrick tweeted: "Pleased to see JustGiving reduce charges for disaster funds.

"Fundraising websites are crucial but should ensure fair fees."

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