BT MyDonate charity website to be iPhone app too

Yesterday saw the launch of BT MyDonate, an online fundraising portal for registered charities in the UK, and there are plans to bring it to iPhone and other mobile devices in the form of an app.

"It's something we're definitely going to look at," Caroline Sheridan, BT's director of Corporate Responsibilty BT, exclusively told pocket-lint. "What we didn't want to do, from day one, is delay [the website] and develop everything we could possibly ever develop. But, in terms of an iPhone app, absolutely! We definitely want to do that."

Currently, MyDonate is a website that allows those who wish to donate to a UK charity online, and for those who want to take part in a fundraising activity or sponsor someone who is. It is a service run and maintained by a dedicated team at BT, who takes no money from either the hosted charities or the donations given. Not a single penny.

"We cover all the costs," said Sheridan. "If you think about what BT's done, we've been supporting charities for 30 years - from the very first Children in Need telethon. And for the last nine years, behind the scenes, we've been supporting, with our technical ability, online donations for telethons and disaster appeals. So, actually, [MyDonate] is a natural place for BT to extend what we currently do and build on.

"Also, the overall charitable giving market is growing. The statistics from the Charities Aid Foundation say that last year the market is worth £10.6 billion, and the year before it was worth £10.2 billion, so it's growing. But of the people who give, only seven per cent give online. Which is still tiny, so the most people are still using cash."

Hence the need for a site such as MyDonate.

One area that does put people off of giving online, though, is that, often, other administration fees are taken from a donation before it gets to the chosen charity. And while it is admirable that BT is taking nothing, surely credit card companies will take a fee?

"That's their business," Sheridan told us. "But we've negotiated really good rates. For a credit card, it's 1.3 per cent, so on a £10 donation, that's 13p. And, on a debit card, it's 15p.

"We've also made sure that at the end of the week, when we've collected donations and we pass them all to charities, if there's any interest on that money in the bank accounts, at the end of the year we pass that on as well. So we are funding everything."

And you can't say fairer than that.

There are, currently, 15 charities on MyDonate, including Cancer Research UK, Children in Need, and Scope, and the site is now open to all other UK registered charitable organisations to apply for inclusion. Each charity gets the same online exposure and aesthetic - no single one is given preferential treatment.

If you run a charity, visit www.btplc.com/mydonate for information on how to apply for your own space on the portal, or if you want to donate to one that's already present.