Donor choice on the web

Emma Maier

Donors will be able to choose charities according to their own personal preferences at the click of a button when a new website launches this autumn. will include a tick-box 'charity picker' facility that will allow donors to include or exclude charities according to their particular concerns, such as high levels of reserves or whether a charity receives a lot of government funding.

"It is almost a guide to GuideStar," said the site's creator, David Pitchford, a journalist, IT consultant and student at the School for Social Entrepreneurs.

"There will be a lot of articles and links to every other site that is of any use to donors. There will be some comparison, but it will be strictly between charities in the same sector and often in the same income bracket."

The entry for each charity that appears on the site will be created by Pitchford or other independent researchers.

Among the provisional criteria for inclusion are whether the charity's annual review is available on its website, whether the review includes the economic value of volunteers and whether or not a fundraising ratio is available.

"We are concentrating on getting the criteria right, with the help of the sector," said Pitchford.

"I've had very useful and interesting conversations with a number of people including Joel Joffe, Stephen Ainger, Luke FitzHerbert, Cathy Pharoah and Geoff Mulgan."

Charities can view and comment on the criteria through a questionnaire, available on the Intelligent Giving website.

Pitchford plans to prepare reviews of at least 500 charities in time for the site's launch in the autumn.

The site, which will cost an estimated £25,000 to develop, will also include a bulletin board for discussions about giving, information about charities that have received awards in the past three years and articles from voluntary sector experts and journalists.

Start-up funding has been provided by one wealthy private benefactor and a number of smaller grants.

- See feature, page 26.

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