The online fundraising platform JustGiving has announced it will no longer charge fees on donations made to campaigns in response to major disasters or acts of terrorism in the UK.
The company, which charges a 5 per cent fee on the donations it processes, has faced criticism in recent years about the amount of money it makes when a major disaster or terror attack prompts a large-scale fundraising drive to help those affected.
The most recent negative comments about the company came from Neil Coyle, the Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, who last month said in a letter to Tracey Crouch, the Minister for Civil Society, that the money JustGiving had received in the wake of last year’s terrorist attack had been "picked from the pockets of terrorism victims".
In a statement issued today, the company said it would be dropping the platform fees for major incident donations in the coming weeks.
The change "will allow users to quickly and safely raise even more money for those most in need following major incidents", the statement said.
When asked what would qualify as a major incident, a JustGiving spokesman said: "We are currently reviewing how we deal with major incidents, working with the Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulator."
The company has also announced that it will no longer charge any platform fees on donations made to crowdfunding pages, where members of the public seek to raise funds for personal, non-charity causes. Instead, donors will have the option of giving an extra contribution to support the platform.
Jerry Needel, president of JustGiving, said the changes to major incident donations had been prompted by feedback from the site’s users.
"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," he said.
"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."
Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising, said: "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 also announced today that it was consulting with key charity partners to gather feedback on its approach to Gift Aid to ensure the platform continues to best support their needs.