Greg Clark from Childreach International talks about how BT mydonate changed the way the organisation fundraises online.
Tell us a bit about yourself. (Your job, organisation, and your technical ability!)
I used to work in the financial industry, and came to Childreach International eight years ago; first as a volunteer, then as Financial Controller and am now Director of Operations. Childreach International is an international development charity that believes all children should have the opportunity to unlock their full potential in life. We start where the world’s untapped potential is, working in partnership with local communities in the developing world. We address children’s most immediate needs, improving access to education, improved health, and greater child rights and protection.
Why did you look for this tool in the first place? What did you need help with?
Donations are our bread and butter, so making the move from our old donation systems to BT mydonate was actually a big leap. We had to sit down and really think about what we wanted to achieve, and all the pros and cons of changing. Ultimately it came down to value for money. With less money around, getting donations in is harder for all charities - and donors are getting far more savvy and far more interested in tracking the impact of their donation. We wanted our donors to know that as much of their money as possible was going where they wanted it to. When they’re running their sponsored marathon, every step they take should be raising money for the people who need it – with no steps or miles wasted on unnecessary admin fees. One of the things that particularly appealed to us about BT mydonate was that, as part of BT’s Corporate Social Responsibility work, there are no administrative charges.
How did you find out about the tool?
We stumbled across it completely by accident not long after it came out. We trusted BT had the corporate weight to make it work, and were one of the first organisations to use it. We’ve never looked back.
What is this tool mainly used for?
BT mydonate is a not-for-profit, online fundraising service for UK charities. It’s an easy way for people to raise money for the charity of their choice.
What do YOU use it for?
It’s now the main way we raise funds and collect donations for Childreach International.
What have been the benefits of using this tool?
Every penny of the money that donors raise (apart from credit and debit card charges) is paid to your charity. We know that not having an administration fee to pay for the MyDonate system has saved us around £100,000 in the first year – money that’s gone to the frontline instead. From our point of view, that’s made it well worth the move. Although changing your online fundraising portal is a big decision, the BT mydonate system follows industry standards, so it was reasonably easy to plug everything in, and the transition was smoothed by all the help and support the BT team provided. I’d also say that the reporting tools and data we get from the system is actually an improvement of what we had before.
Is there any cost attached to using this tool?
No, it is free to set-up and use. Internally there is some staff time needed to configure reporting and set up events etc, but in our case this was straightforward.
Are there any online tutorials available?
Although there are plenty online resources on the site, as early adopters, we mostly relied on the BT team directly to support us in setting up and transitioning all of our fundraising onto BT mydonate – they couldn’t have been more helpful.
Did this tool need much of your or a colleague’s time to set up at the beginning?
It took us a little bit of time assessing that everything was going to work as we wanted it to before we made the switch, but registering for the service actually only takes only a few minutes.
Are there any limitations to using this tool?
Not that we’ve found, I believe BT are investing in it for the long term as a way of unlocking charitable giving within the UK. There’s lots of bells and whistles available including some that we don’t use, but the basics are pretty comprehensive and simple.
Do you have any top tips for using this tool?
1. Work out what you really need from your fundraising system – the must-haves and the nice-to-haves. 2. Contact the BT mydonate team about what you want to achieve, and how, and they’ll give you the best possible advice to make it work for you. 3. Don’t be afraid to make a change – it’s easier than it looks, and it can be well worth the effort.
Do you have any other recommendations of digital tools you use, and what you use them for?
Justgiving.com is another alternative. It has good functionality but the costs are very different, so it’s worth doing your research before choosing a system.