Local volunteers launch innovative new way to donate to charity

A group of volunteers based in Leeds have today (1 December 2021) launched ‘Givto’ a new online charity donation service. It’s the first of its kind in the world and allows people to give to a different charity each month with one simple Direct Debit.

Givto was piloted with a small number of people, and national and Yorkshire charities during 2020-2021 raising more than £9,000 for 48 charities including Brake, Sense, Yorkshire Dance and Age UK Leeds.

Following overwhelmingly positive feedback from users and charities Givto is now being rolled out to people nationwide with plans to expand to local charities in regions right across the UK soon.

The service has been described as the online version of the charity token scheme in supermarkets. Users set up a regular Direct Debit for an amount of their choice through the Givto website at www.givto.org and then are offered three good causes to donate to each month, giving them an opportunity to support the causes close to their hearts and discover new ones they have never heard of.

Givto is run by the Better Giving Partnership, a registered charity founded by a group of friends in Leeds and run entirely by volunteers who share a passion for making it easier to learn about and support charities that provide invaluable services and advice. Even more incredibly, they set the service up during the pandemic, working remotely during the first lockdown, and have yet to all meet in person.

Alex Ellis-White, Founder and Chief Executive said: “I have always been passionate about supporting local causes and I set up Givto when I realised there wasn’t a service out there that gave you the flexibility and choice to support a different cause each month.

“I was very lucky to be joined by a small team of like-minded and hugely talented volunteers to help me get the service up and running who come from a range of backgrounds, from working in the NHS to big finance, and have generously donated their time and skills.

“Givto is run by charity for charity. We don’t make a profit from the service - we are here to bring people and causes together. I am delighted to roll the service out more widely and encourage people and charities across the country to sign up and join the Givto community.”

Sunshine & Smiles was one of the first charities to sign up to the Givto pilot. Based in Leeds, they provide life-changing help and activities for young people with Down Syndrome and their families.

They found the support they received through Givto invaluable given the impact the pandemic had on fundraising, with popular events that would traditionally attract their supporters like the Great North Run and the Leeds Half Marathon being cancelled.

Service Manager Ailith Harley-Roberts said: “We heard about Givto through one of our families and I immediately thought it sounded really positive. It was very straightforward for us. After the initial sign-up there was nothing else we had to do, which for a small charity is really helpful.

Givto is a great idea because rather than sending donations to the same charity each month, you get to learn about and give to different causes. It’s just a really lovely idea. For us, being featured on Givto paid for activities that directly benefit people - the money goes to a small charity helping people in really practical ways.”

The beauty of this service is it gives people the opportunity to support well known charities that are close to their hearts and introduces them to small local causes they may never have heard of before who desperately need support and donations.

The way that people choose the charity they are going to support each month on Givto varies. Some people choose on their own and then compare notes with friends, others make it a joint decision, sitting down with partners or the entire family to look through the options and decide which charity they want to support this month.

Givto user, Alice Ford, said: "I've had such a positive experience using Givto. It's really easy to set up an account in the first place, then you get a prompt every month to choose your charity and all the information you need is right there for you.

“I also really love that it introduces me to new charities and causes that I would never have known about otherwise, and as a result. wouldn't have supported. I have recommended it to all my friends because it just makes giving easy."

It’s simple to set up an account and choose how much to donate each month on the Givto website at www.givto.org. The Better Giving Partnership claims Gift Aid on the donations, if eligible, and then pass the donation and Gift Aid on to the chosen charity. They take a small fee to cover costs, but they don’t make a profit and are committed to keeping the fee as low as possible.

Personal information is not released or passed onto any charities or third parties by Givto so users can feel reassured that their data is secure and they won’t receive unwanted calls, emails, or post.

Each month users get an email telling them to log in to the Givto website to choose a worthy cause for the month. The site provides all the information people need to know about the three charities to help them decide who to support. Once they’ve made their decision, users see a short thank you message from the charity they’ve chosen.

If they forget or run out of time to choose then the money doesn’t go to waste. Givto chooses one of the three charities at random and notifies the user, so they can be as involved as they want to in the process.

It’s just as easy for charities to register their organisation free of charge on the website. Currently, only charities who operate in the Leeds area, across Yorkshire or nationally are featured on Givto but the team is encouraging charities outside Leeds to email help@givto.org to register their interest for when the service expands further.

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