Charity donation platform startup, Believe.in, whose investors include Index Ventures and Greylock Partners, has expanded its reach outside the U.K. — and beyond its own fee-less charity donation social network — with the launch of a white label product aimed at charities seeking donation processing tools.
The tools are being offered initially in five countries (all English-speaking): the U.K., the U.S., Canada, Ireland and Australia, targeting the 2.3 million charities operating across this region.
Believe.in names Blackbaud as its main competitor, although co-founder and CEO Matthias Metternich notes that each of the markets it is now targeting has “nuances” — “where either there are no players, or there are players who are focused on being consumer facing giving platforms, rather than the nuts and bolts that power non-profits wherever they are”.
Believe.in’s white label product consists of fundraising, donation, events and appeal pages that can be customised to match a charity’s branding and integrated into their existing website. The product is designed to work across different device types, from desktop to mobile, and to easily hook into social media site to help campaigns expand their reach.
The tools also include data analytics dashboards — to enable charities to track the performance of donation drives, marketing efforts and ongoing donor outreach — and support for backoffice functions. Pricing starts at free (plus flat card fees) so charities can kick its tyres; to £95pm for a Pro account; or more for bespoke enterprise price plans.
Believe.in’s own U.K.-specific donation social network — which recently had a Pinterest-style makeover — has now become a charity, it said today. The platform has differentiated itself from the online charity giving competition by not taking a cut of donations. Believe.in hands the entire donation amount to the charity, with only card charges deducted.
But with zero fees, there’s zero profit from donations. Previously Believe.in had said it planned to monetise the platform via add-on services that charities could sign up for, namely the analytics and backoffice functions it’s now offering via its white label product.
Metternich confirmed to TechCrunch that it’s changed its monetisation strategy, and has now split it out entirely as the new white label play. He confirmed that Believe.in’s own social network platform will do away with all fees for ProServices.
“The [Believe.in] social network was not a charity… The reason for the change is that introducing the breadth of our enterprise technology within the context of our social network stopped making sense once this started to go beyond engagement, building community and increasing awareness,” said Metternich via email.
“We like to break formats, but even for us and our customers, talking about CRM and big data through the lens of a social network was complex. We decided to therefore split these initiatives out from one another.”
Centralising all charity activity onto its own platform also appears to have been a push too far for the third sector.
“While charities have the appetite to use both [their own websites and our donation platform], they really need our technology within their own digital touch-points, e.g websites,” he added. “Hiving off their audiences to intermediary, consumer-facing platform brands means they are forfeiting direct relationships and ultimately ownership for short-term potential monetary gains.”
By splitting out its donation platform and processing tools as a white label offering, Believe.in can give charities the ability to take advantage of new technology to ramp up their donations without requiring they become dependent on a secondary platform, he added.
“We want to de-risk the prospect of leveraging new technologies and help break dependencies by providing the nuts and bolts that powers charities wherever they are,” he said. “This also means upgrading our infrastructure, rapid roll-out and increasing functionality to address pain-points on non-profit websites. To that end, we have upgraded our white-label solution’s feature sets and now handle multi-currency donations.”
Believe.in’s own charitable donation social network platform now has nearly 1,000 U.K. charities using it, according to Metternich. It will presumably be using that base to gather data on what charities are after to feed back into its white label tools, and for cross-marketing those paid b2b products.