JustGiving denies it cashed in on Stephen’s fund

Stephen for web

The fundraising website has denied accusations that it made £180,000 from Stephen Sutton's fundraising page

19th May 2014 by Robert Armour 1 Comment

Fundraising site JustGiving has defended its fee structure after claims it made £180,000 from the £4 million donated to the Stephen Sutton cancer appeal.

The Metro newspaper quoted tweets criticising JustGiving and calling for its fee to be donated to the Teenage Cancer Trust, the charity benefiting from Stephen's appeal. 

However the co-founder of JustGiving, Anne-Marie Huby, said the figure was “completely wrong”.

JustGiving has played a key role in enabling so many people to donate to Stephen’s Story – Siobhan Dunn

In a blog, Huby said the site took only a quarter of that amount, after the site made a £50,000 donation to Stephen’s fund.

Stephen became a social media phenomenon after he compiled a bucket list of things to do before he succumbed to terminal cancer.

Huby said the site has helped raise more than £1.8 billion since its launch nearly 14 years ago. That would not be possible without charging a fee on donations which is reinvested into making the site bigger and better. 

She said: "Claims that JustGiving stands to make £180,000 from the £3.7m fund is wide off the mark. Having made a donation of £50,000 to Stephen’s page earlier this month, and thanks to the volume discount that Teenage Cancer Trust benefits from, our fee is less than a quarter of this."

She quotes Siobhan Dunn, chief executive of the Teenage Cancer Trust, who said: “JustGiving has played a key role in enabling so many people to donate to Stephen’s Story. 

“To date, over 166,000 donations have been made with many thousands happening at the same time.JustGiving increased their server infrastructure to unprecedented levels to keep the site up and running. Our own online systems are not built to cope with such incredibly high volumes of donations.” 

Tributes and donations continue after the 19-year old lost his four-year fight with cancer last week. 

19th May 2014 by Roger Craven

At the heart of this "story" is a family that is now grieving. Stephen was an example to us all of how to make the most of life and what was inspiring was not simply the amount he raised - it was his attitude, courage and selflessness. I want to calm people's concerns. Anyone who texted STEPHEN to 70500 gave £5 to Teenage Cancer Trust in Stephen's memory through my company Vir2. Teenage Cancer Trust received 100% of every one of these text donations. Text donations made a substantial amount of the £4m raised. We make our money charging (in effect) £10 per month per keyword (and nothing hidden) I hope that helps clarify the situation and removes any doubt about what was an amazing achievement.