Philanthropy | For Goodness’ Sake

Gearing up for world’s biggest annual fundraising event

Charity is always the winner of the London Marathon

Gearing up for world’s biggest annual fundraising event

Image: London Marathon Ltd

February 15 2010
Lindsay Macpherson

As Britain’s fleetest of foot ramp up their training and fundraising plans for the London Marathon on Sunday April 25 – the biggest annual fundraising event in the world, having garnered more than £450m for charities since 1981 – many among them will be exploring the online-sponsorship options., founded in 2001, has been until now the favourite, having facilitated £86m in Marathon-associated giving. However, the privately owned site takes a five per cent commission. Alternative websites include the not-for-profit, which launched in October last year and is the Marathon’s official fundraising site (Virgin is the event’s sponsor through to 2015); it takes a two per cent commission from each donation to cover operating costs, and any excess, says Virgin, will go directly towards fee reduction. Another site,, recently dispensed with the commission-based model and is offsetting costs through advertising, so the whole of each donation (minus fees charged by banks to process payments) makes its way to the designated charity.

Whichever website edges ahead in the popularity stakes, charities win; both Bmycharity and Virgin Money Giving report an 89 per cent Gift Aid uptake on their websites, compared with the 40 per cent that is typical on giving as a whole.