From Wheelchairs, to Operations, to Refugees: How crowdfunding is driving a revolution in giving

Nesta and Cambridge University have today published their annual report into alternative finance. The report examines the full spectrum of financing models; from equity and reward-based crowdfunding models, which allow business to launch new products and services, to the donation-based crowdfunding model that help individuals raise money for personal causes.

Donation-based crowdfunding saw serious growth in 2015, with £12 million raised in the UK — 500% up on 2014. At JustGiving, we’re proud to have seen 82.5% of this activity take place on our platform: just under £9.9 million was crowdfunded on JustGiving in 2015. From buying new wheelchairs and funding life-changing operations that aren’t available on the NHS, to helping refugees and supporting communities affected by the UK floods, nearly 17,000 people used JustGiving Crowdfunding to make good things happen in 2015. It’s been really exciting to witness donation crowdfunding gain this momentum, and we believe this growth is a reflection our users’ increasing desire to take direct action to help those in need.

The most frequent reasons that people turned to JustGiving to crowdfund in 2015 were:

  • health and medical
  • children and youth
  • local community
  • emergencies
  • in memory of a loved one

Crowdfunding pages have also demonstrated their global reach. Over 22,000 people from 61 countries around the world donated to crowdfunding and charity pages in August and September in response to the refugee crisis.

Other major spikes in crowdfunding pages occurred in response to floods in both the UK and Chennai, India in December — a clear demonstration of the JustGiving community’s increasing desire to help those in need directly.

Here are our ten most successful crowdfunding pages from 2015:

  1. James Fischer and Jasmine O’Hara set out to raise £1,000 to provide food, clothing and shelter to refugees in Calais. Together with the Worldwide Tribe they raised a staggering £155,756 and have been able to widen their support to refugees in other parts of Europe, as well as the camps in Calais
  2. Angie Collinson raised more than £70,000 to allow her terminally ill sister to pay off the remainder of her mortgage so that her five children could stay together in their family home
  3. A crowdfunding page to get theatre star Louise Plowright pioneering treatment in South Korea for pancreatic cancer raised £52,995
  4. After returning from a supply trip to Calais where they delivered clothing, building materials and blankets, five friends from Kent were moved to launch a crowdfunding page, which raised £53,396
  5. Northampton Town Supporters’ Trust raised £40,000 as part of its fight to keep the club from sliding into liquidation in 2015
  6. £38,303 was raised for former footballer and World Cup winner Jimmy Greaves to continue his physiotherapy treatment following a serious stroke
  7. After the tragic death of five year old Lexi Brown in August, the local community rallied together for her family. Together they raised £31,845 to support the family financially at such a devastating time
  8. £27,815 was raised to fund life-saving treatment for Guernsey teenager who suffers from a rare blood disorder
  9. University lecturer and journalist Bethany Usher raised £25,177 to deliver “childhood bags” containing warm clothes, toys, books and other essentials to refugee children in Greece
  10. £23,322 was raised for the family of Mark Middlehurst who was seriously injured in a quad bike accident in Australia

JustGiving is a platform that allows anyone to raise money to make good things happen. Find out more.

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