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JustGiving takes £390,000 in fees from London, Manchester attacks and Grenfell fire

Laura Suter
Donations to JustGiving raised  online  - Dave Hogan For One Love Manchester

Website JustGiving will pocket at least £390,000 in fees as a result of charitable donations following recent terrorist attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire.

More than £7.8m has been raised  via the website following the attacks in Manchester, London Bridge and Westminster, and the Grenfell Tower fire. The latter catastrophe resulted in the website breaking its one-day record for donations received.

JustGiving takes 5pc of any fee donated - more than twice the fees of some rival donor sites - meaning it will take at least £390,000 in fees from these four incidents.

Following the Manchester bombings a JustGiving page set up by the Red Cross raised £1.5m and one from the Manchester Evening News raised £2.5m. After the Westminster attacks £736,000 was raised for PC Keith Palmer, killed in the terrorist attack.

Just over £230,000 was raised for the London Bridge victims, after the terrorist attacks earlier this month. So far £2.9m has been raised for the Grenfell Tower fire from various fundraising pages on JustGiving - and this sum is still rising. 

The site is growing rapidly.

Last year £443m was donated on JustGiving, generating around £28m fees.

The sums generated for the firm from the disasters this year could be far higher than £390,000, as JustGiving applies that 5pc fee to GiftAid donations too. GiftAid enables UK taxpayers to get tax relief on any charitable donations, with this sum going to the charity. For every £1 you give 25p can be reclaimed. 

On top of its 5pc fee the website also charges a 1.25pc "payment processing fee", reducing donations on these four attacks so far by at least £97,500. This payment fee increases to 1.45pc for anyone paying through PayPal, and is even more for those donating from overseas.

The charges together means that for a £100 donation, with Gift Aid added, JustGiving will take £7.60 in fees.

JustGiving, a privately-owned business, has staunchly defended the fees it takes, and said that it uses the 5pc charge on all donations to maintain the website and process GiftAid tax relief. It has repeatedly said it will not cap or waive its fees, regardless of the size of sums raised. It maintains that it offers a "low cost" way for charities to raise funds.

The company makes significant profits. Company accounts show that last year the UK company generated more than £1m in profit, after tax all costs.

In addition, Zarine Kharas and Anne-Marie Huby, co-founders of JustGiving and the only directors of the UK company, were paid a joint £442,724 last year. In total the company spent £9.3m on wages in 2016, which across its 141 staff gives an average wage of £66,000. Pension contributions are made on top.

A JustGiving spokesman said: “We exist to enable good causes to raise much more than they could on their own. Without our continuous investment, the charities and individuals helping those in need wouldn’t raise as much. That is why millions of people and thousands of charities turn to JustGiving every year at times of crisis.”

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