As the Head of Business Development for Messenger Plus!, I am always interested in innovative uses for the Internet. JustGiving is a creative way to raise funds or donate to a favorite charity. Founded in 2000 by two British women, JustGiving also operates in Japan and the United States as FirstGiving. Its goal is to assist people and organizations in raising money more effectively than by other means. Whereas one fundraiser has described JustGiving’s method as “simple, trustworthy, [and] effective,” another has praised it for allowing donors to give at a time that is convenient to them.
Fundraisers can set up web pages for their charity at no cost, create their own text, add photos and videos, and select Facebook and other social media options. Participating charities pay a 5% fee on each donation and a monthly or yearly usage fee for access to online administrative tools. These charges, which JustGiving reinvests to improve its technology and add more tools, are much lower than the costs associated with direct mail and other more traditional methods of fundraising. In the United States, FirstGiving has benefitted over 8,000 nonprofit organizations, playing a critical role in raising over $1 billion from over 13 million donors, figures similar to those achieved by JustGiving in Great Britain.
Alex Shamash is part of the team that created and maintains Messenger Plus!, a customizable extension of Microsoft Messenger.