Amended Big Give Christmas Challenge opens to applications next week

Changes to the online match-funding scheme include alterations to the fees charged

The Big Give Christmas Challenge will open for applications on Monday after making what it calls "significant changes" to its fundraising model.

The online match-funding scheme says that each charity that participates will now have their match funding ring-fenced and that the campaign will run over 72 hours with no pausing. Reductions have also been made to the fees charged.

The match-funding is provided by philanthropic organisations called "champions", which in previous years have included The Reed Foundation, The Childhood Trust, Candis magazine and The Waterloo Foundation.

During the challenge, these organisations’ funds are combined with amounts pledged by charities’ own major donors to double donations given by individuals online.

Before now, charities had to pay the Big Give 4 per cent of the pledges they received from their major donors, but Alex Day, director of the Big Give, said these fees would no longer apply.

The scheme received substantial criticism from the sector between 2008 and 2012, with some charities complaining the match funding available ran out within minutes of the site opening each day.

Some also criticised the 4 per cent administration fee charged by the Charities Trust, which processes the donations. Day confirmed that this processing fee would still be charged.

He said the changes were made as a result of a consultation held with charities, donors and philanthropic partners as well as research commissioned by the Big Give, the Charities Trust and RBS.

Day said that the 2015 Christmas Challenge raised £7.2m for 258 charities and that he expected this year’s campaign to raise a similar amount for a similar number of charities.

The 2016 Christmas Challenge will run for 72 hours, launching at midday on Giving Tuesday, 29 November, and closing on 2 December.

Day also said in a statement: "We know from recent research that match-funding is an incredible way to incentivise donations. We hope this year’s Christmas Challenge will provide a fantastic opportunity for charities to engage with their donors in an innovative way and provide a boost to their fundraising efforts."

From Monday, charities will have three weeks to complete the first stage of the application process. To be eligible, they must be registered in the UK or have exempt status from HMRC and have an annual income of at least £25,000.

For more info on the scheme, click here.

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