BT MyDonate

BT MyDonate Closing in June. Should you worry?

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Surprising news coming from BT MyDonate yesterday (21 Jan 19) as they announced they will be shutting down on June 30th 2019.


First of all, we must thank BT MyDonate (and BT as a whole) for the incredible opportunity they have given charities since their launch in April 2011. Raising millions for charity through their platform.

That being said, working closely with non-profits in the UK, I grew to cringe at the site of this website.

To me, BT MyDonate is a perfect example of what’s wrong with the charity sector when it comes to digital fundraising.

So while, again, a lot of respect is due, for allowing charities the ability to, at least, do something online; it created a notion that having a profile on the platform (or other any other of the crowdfunding platforms for that matter) counts as having a digital fundraising approach.

At least they were free to use, but the effects at this stage in 2019, are really destructive to the sector.

Let me tell you why…

Way too many small charities believe that by having a profile on the platform they have done their part in creating a system to allow them to collect donations from the public online.

More often than not, when it comes to small charities, they will even redirect the traffic from their own website to their donation page on the BT MyDonate platform.

BT MyDonate
How you should react to potential donors leaving your website.

Let’s put this in perspective for a minute.

Imagine you visit your local off license, you walk in, look around, decide to pick up a couple of snacks (because you earned it) and head on to the register.

Then! The cashier tells you “Thanks, but you can’t pay here… can you please go to the Tesco next door and pay for your snacks over there?

If that example didn’t stick for you, here’s another one, closer to home:

Let’s say, you put together a yearly gala for your charity.
You’ve been “slaving” away for 4 months, making sure you have the perfect location, the perfect promotion, you’re selling tickets and promoting it on social media, you speak to everyone you know and personally invite them to the event.

The night of the event is finally here, you’re excited and nervous but quickly see that everyone is having a good time. They appreciate you, your efforts and your cause, and make that decision, we’re all looking for, to make a donation.

He or she comes up to you and tells you, “Hey, beautiful cause, I want to donate”
And your reply is “Sure! Thank you! Listen, there’s a big charity conference running in the other room. There are 14,000 other charities in there but you can make your donation there. Do you want me to show you the door?”

Hardly makes any sense, right?

So here’s a 20 second video to show you what happens when you send Potential donors, that already told you they are interested in donating (Becuase the clicked the “Donate” button), from your own website, in your safe and guarded environment, to BT MyDonate (or any of the other providers):

How to lose donors in 20 seconds

So out of the 14,000+ charities registered on BT MyDonate’s index, how many are bigger than you? More known? Or maybe already had an initial relationship with your potential donor?

More than that, you have NO way of tracking where the person went when they left your website, so you can’t learn from it and improve your system for when the next potential donor clicks the “Donate” button.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting that you’ll go and cancel your JustGiving subscription and close your Virgin Money Giving account (OR BT MyDonate before they shut down).

These are tools you can still use for promoting your cause and help others fundraise on your behalf.

I’m a man of action, no good can come out of just complaining. So…

What should you do?

Do the work! You can easily install a donation form directly on your website, where you have control of the process, the tracking, the integrations, Gift Aid, the thank you page and so on.

It’s 2019 – It’s not a big deal to collect payments on your own website.

I prefer to build custom forms, to fit the cause and my clients’ donor journies. But if you’re not really Tech Savvy, here’s a free tool you can install on your WordPress website and embed on a donate page within minutes and gain back control over your environment:

Trusted by more than 50,000 other users, yet you won’t find a link from your own donation form showing your potential donor all of your competition!

You can even find a few demos on their website to get some inspiration:
demos on the Give website

Just to be clear, I am not associated in any shape or form to the “Give” team, I just think they created a great solution for a HUGE problem in our sector.

Phew! I’m glad I got this off my chest as this was weighing on me for a long time!

So to conclude, I’m not sad to see BT MyDonate close their gates.

I’m actually feeling very hopeful!

That at least some charities will take the opportunity to reconsider how a proper digital strategy should look like in 2019.

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