Local Giving and the 500 Challenge

I recently secured a 25% discount for the Local Giving platform and wanted to promote the platform and an idea I have for community support for community radio, especially in light of the falling of income in the sector because of the economic response to Covid19.

Local Giving (localgiving.org) is a donation platform that has a few different options and opportunities for charities and not for profits, it can provide a platform for one off donations, regular donations or campaigns/appeals (similar to Just Giving etc).

For me, the two main differences between Local Giving and other platforms are:

  1. It’s a charity itself, with the mission to help groups generate income to support their organisations and projects, for me this means they are in it for the right reasons. They also receive other funding to run match funding campaigns, or their own grant programmes as well.
  2. Gift Aid! Because they are a charity, they are able to claim the Gift Aid on the donations. Even if you as an organisation are not a charity or are not separately eligible for Gift Aid, and this Gift Aid is returned to you. (Gift Aid is an extra donation from the government on behalf of the gifter IF they are a UK Taxpayer, and submit their full details.)
    details of how it works.

Now there are fees for using Local Giving, you have to have a membership fee which is normally £80+vat (although until June 2020 I’ve secured a 25% discount for Community Radio Station who use the promo code “RADIO25”). There are also payment transaction fees based on how people pay debit card, credit card, Paypal or even via direct debit. Details of their fees.

For me, the great opportunity for Local Giving is for regular donors, this could be “members” fees, volunteer donation system or supporter schemes. The platform can manage all of the details, have a place for you to track who has paid, and communicate with them, but with the Gift Aid its a great opportunity, there are already a couple of Community Radio stations who are using it.







The 500 Challenge

I’m setting the sector a challenge, and that’s to see if you can get your community to help fund you. The sector already receives £1.6million in donations every year, an average of about £6,500 per station (Ofcom Market Report 2018), and I wonder if we can generate more from our communities. This is in part inspired by the podcast sector that asks their audience to contribute, but also how media is paid for in other countries. But also by more and more print, journalism and hyperlocal news publishers going down a similar route. (Examples include The Guardian, local newspapers like the Sidmouth Herald and the Bedford Independent)

The premise is this, can you find 500 people in your local area to give you a minimum of £1 a month to help run your station?

It’s quite simple as a concept, but no doubt quite hard in delivery, with its message and positioning, on-air and online/social media. You don’t want to be seen to be begging, and there is always a conflict between local charitable organisations such as food banks, homeless shelters and hospices, and Community Radio which can generate income in many diverse ways, including advertising.

However, I truly believe that good, locally or interest-driven Community Radio needs to be valued by its community, and in such supported by that community as well.

But also the money can add up. Assume the £1 from 500 of your community per month, that’s £6,000 per year BEFORE you consider the Gift Aid (or the fees). For most stations that would cover Ofcom, PPL/PRS and other basic costs such as phone & internet etc. More importantly, it’s Off-Air income, which means it helps with your 50/50 split on commercial On-Air vs other income.

So my challenge to the sector is to engage with your community and see if you can encourage them to support you. This can have long term benefits and growth, as you can also have a list of people to develop that relationship with, they can become loyal listeners, you could offer them discounts or exclusive access, and you can also look to grow. Not only in the numbers, but in the value.

Please let me know if you want to take up this challenge, how you get on and if you need any help!


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