Is online fundraising for local charities and community groups?


Conor Kelly from Localgiving makes the case for online giving for small, local charities and grassroots groups


Local charities and community groups are an essential part of the fabric of Lewisham’s society. With an acute understanding of the facilities, demographics and social dynamics of an area they provide tailored services that directly address local issues. Many grassroots groups are deeply embedded in their communities and this enables them to build positive, trusting bonds with people who other groups may have difficulty reaching.

But, as Localgiving’s October 2015 report into the sustainability of the local charity sector revealed 73 per cent of these groups expect their annual income to either decrease or remain stagnant over the coming financial year. And 53 per cent of respondents knew of at least one charity in their area that had closed for financial reasons in the previous year.

With grants and contracts diminishing and increasingly ring-fenced, the key to survival for many small charities is to diversify their funding sources without losing the essence of what they do and why they are unique.

A key part of the answer lies in campaigning online. 

So, why should you be fundraising online?

  1. The internet is used daily or almost daily by 82% of adults
  2. 77% of adults buy goods or services online
  3. In the last five years, the percentage of adults accessing the internet ‘on the go’ using a mobile phone or smartphone has doubled to 70%
  4. In the last five years, the percentage of recent internet users aged 75 and over has doubled, with 39% now accessing the internet in the last 3 months
  5. £2.4 billion is now being donated online and by mobile annually in the UK (That’s over ¼ of all donations made in the UK!)
  6. The average online donation is double that of an offline donation and the average online donation jumped 13% between 2013 - 14 to £78.59
  7. Online donations are not just for Millennials. Forty per cent of UK consumers said that online giving either is, or will one day be, their main way of donating to a cause

Support needed

Online fundraising and digital marketing, previously the preserve of larger charities, are becoming increasingly accessible to small charities and community groups. However, many local charities and community groups lack the capacity, skills and confidence to fully engage with this technology. They need targeted support to help them to make the most of these for their causes, which is why Localgiving is teaming up with Voluntary Action Lewisham to offer this support through our London Development programme. If you want to start benefiting from this support contact Lillian Brown at VAL at


Need support?

As part of VAL’s fundraising and income generation support to members, we're partnering with Localgiving in 2017 to enable Lewisham VCSE groups to benefit from a year’s free membership, with access to one-to-one support and £300 of match funding for donations received online, through their London Development programme.

If you’d like to find out more about this or other forms of digital fundraising, book your place on our next fundraising event designed to help your organisation maximise its support from individuals via online giving on Tuesday 29 November. For further information contact Lillian on