Christmas Challenge 2017 Charity FAQs

Click on the headings below for answers to all your questions about the Christmas Challenge 2017.

General
Stage One Application
Stage Two Application: Pledge Collection
Notification
Marketing
The Christmas Challenge
Post-Challenge
More questions?

Glossary

IMF – Invitation Match Fund (where online donations are matched 100% by a Big Give Champion)

PMF – Private Match Fund (where donations are matched 100% by a charity’s Pledgers i.e. key supporters)


General

What is the Christmas Challenge?

The Christmas Challenge is the UK’s largest online match funding campaign. The campaign is run by the Big Give online donation platform.

It offers supporters of participating charities the opportunity to double their donations. For example, an online donation of £100 is doubled to £200. If Gift Aid is claimed, it could be worth £225. Donations are doubled whilst matching funds last.

Who is involved?

Champions

Champions are partners of the Big Give. They are external funders who contribute to the matching pots and can be trusts, foundations, corporations or philanthropists. Champion funds are ring-fenced for the charities they are supporting.

Pledgers

Pledgers are key supporters of participating charities. They contribute to the matching pots by providing promises of funding. Pledgers can be major donors, trustees, or any other significant supporter of the charity. A pledge must be a minimum of £100. Pledge funds are ring-fenced for the charities they are supporting.

Online donors

Online donors are also supporters of participating charities. They make donations online to participating charities when the campaign goes live on theBigGive.org.uk. An online donor can be anyone who would like to donate to the charity but cannot be someone who has also acted as a Pledger to the same charity. An online donation is a maximum of £5,000 per donor per project. All donations must be made using a debit or credit card.

How are online donations matched?

Each charity’s matching pot is made up of “ring-fenced” funds. Charity fundraisers will know exactly how much they have in their matching pot to double online donations during the campaign before it goes live on #GivingTuesday.

What are the benefits of taking part?
  • Incentivise your donors by offering to double donations.
  • Optimise your fundraising by running this campaign at Christmas time when donors are at their most generous.
  • Reap the rewards offered by match funding: Research has shown that 84% of donors are more likely to give in a match funding campaign; 36% of donors are likely to give more (Walker, 2016).
  • Bring together fundraising streams by running a campaign which can include trusts/foundations, corporates & individuals.
  • Secure new major donors who can act as Pledgers and have their donation leveraged up to 4 times.
  • Chance to secure additional funds via a Champion procured by the Big Give.
  • Increase your income through Gift Aid: 86% of donations made in the Christmas Challenge are Gift Aided.
  • Receive tools and support from the Big Give team to help you run a successful campaign.
  • Join an international movement of giving as the campaign launches on #GivingTuesday.

In the Christmas Challenge 2016, 95% of charities reported receiving donations from new supporters.

What are the costs?
  • No fee to join the campaign.
  • 4% administration fee on all donations & Gift Aid made on the Big Give. This covers the operating costs of the Big Give’s external payments processor, Charities Trust.

The Christmas Challenge will require time and work from you and your team. You will need to ensure that you follow all of the communications sent by the Big Give team. You will need to be prepared to secure pledges (promises of funding) from key supporters, and to market the campaign to online donors. The Big Give will be on hand to support you and provide a variety of resources to help you have a successful Christmas Challenge campaign.

What are the key dates for the campaign?

The campaign runs for 7 days consecutively from midday on #GivingTuesday 28th November to midday on Tuesday 5th December 2017.


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Stage One Application (5th June - 7th July 2017)

Is my charity eligible to apply?

To be eligible to apply to the Christmas Challenge, your charity must be:

  • Registered in the UK with at least one year of accounts and an annual income of £25,000 or more (as per last filed accounts).
  • Registered on theBigGive.org.uk (free to register, sign up here).
  • Looking to raise between £4,000 and £100,000.
How do I register on the Big Give?

To register your charity on the Big Give, sign up here.

Where do I apply for the Christmas Challenge?

Once registered, or if you already have a Big Give charity account, log in to find the APPLY FOR THE CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE button on the right hand side. Applications for 2017 closed in July. 

APPLY FOR THE CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE

What does Stage One Application involve?

For stage one of your application, you need to complete the following steps:

  • Confirm you understanding of the campaign by reading the essential documents.
  • Pass a short quiz on the key areas of the campaign.
  • Submit the project for which you wish to raise funds through the campaign.
  • Enter details on your charity’s finances (annual income as per your last filed accounts which have been submitted to the Charity Commission or other regulator; reserves policy and amount held in reserves).
  • Set your Christmas Challenge target.
  • Enter the contact details for the person responsible for your Christmas Challenge application.
What happens if I fail the quiz?

If you answer three questions incorrectly in a row, your application will be disabled. In this instance, please ensure you have read all the guidance documents fully before contacting the Big Give. After you contact the Big Give, we will discuss your application with you. This is to ensure that you are confident you understand how the Christmas Challenge works before you proceed with your application.

What happens if I make a mistake in my application, can I go back?

No. Before you submit each section of your application, you must ensure that the information you have entered is accurate as you will not be able to edit this at a later stage.

What information do I need to provide about the project I am submitting?

You will be required to enter information for each of the areas listed below to successfully upload your project.

  • Overview
  • Need
  • Aims
  • Success
  • Communication
  • Budget
  • Background
  • Why your charity?

*When you have uploaded your new project, you must go back to your Christmas Challenge application and select it from the list to proceed.*

What is the minimum/maximum Christmas Challenge target?

Minimum = £4,000

Maximum = £100,000

What is the minimum/maximum pledge target?

Minimum = £1,000

Maximum = £25,000 and no more than 10% of a charity’s annual income (as per accounts last filed with the Charity Commission or other regulator).

How much can I receive from a Big Give Champion?

A Champion can respond to your Christmas Challenge application in the following ways:

  • Offer the full amount of Champion funding (equal to the amount you have secured in pledges)
  • Offer a partial amount of Champion funding (your pledge target remains the same)
  • No Champion funds offered

Charities that are not allocated any Champion funds will be able to participate in the Private Match Fund where they will use their pledge funds to match online donations only. They will be able to top up their matching pot by securing additional pledge funds.

How high should I set my target?

For charities with both pledge and Champion match funds, online donations made to your project will be initially matched by your pledge funds. Once the pledge funds have been exhausted, online donations will be matched by Champion funds. It is therefore essential to set a realistic target to ensure you are able to access the Champion funds. If you don’t reach your target, you only receive a proportion of your matching pot.

Donations beyond your target: Exceeding your target could help you win a Christmas Challenge Award!

Where can I find more guidance on Stage One Application?

There is a Stage One Application guide and video available in the Christmas Challenge section of the Big Give website under resources for charities.


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Stage Two Application: Pledge Collection (5th June - 1st September 2017)

What does Stage Two Application involve?

Stage Two of your Christmas Challenge application involves collecting pledge promises from your charity’s key supporters.

What is a pledge promise?

Pledge promises are commitments of funding made by your charity’s key supporters. They form part of you charity’s matching pot for the Christmas Challenge.

By pledging, your Pledgers are promising to match online donations received by your charity via theBigGive.org.uk when the campaign is live. Therefore, their funding is conditional upon you receiving online donations.

Who can pledge to my charity?

Pledge promises can be made by an individual or organisation (e.g. a key supporter, a trust or foundation, a company).

Can we use funds our charity has already received as a pledge?

No. If you have held, or are planning to hold, a fundraising event you are not allowed to ‘pledge’ these funds for the Christmas Challenge.

Equally, grants or money from other funding sources that have already been received or confirmed cannot be used as pledges.

Why are we not allowed to use funds we have already secured as pledges?

This is because pledges are promises of funding. Pledgers are only required to fulfill their promise and pay your charity the funds if you receive online donations during the live campaign.

How do supporters make a pledge to my charity?

Your supporters can pledge to your charity by completing the online form available in your Christmas Challenge dashboard.

The online form must be completed by the Pledger him/herself. Organisations can also make a pledge to your charity for the campaign. If this is the case, the online form must be completed by a suitable representative of the organisation.

NB: A charity must not complete the online form on behalf of their Pledgers.

When is the deadline for Stage Two Application i.e. to have secured all pledges?

5pm on Friday 1st September 2017.

Can I collect pledges after the deadline of 1st September, as long as I receive the minimum of £1,000?

No, the deadline to secure all of your pledges and hit your pledge target is 1st September.

Is Gift Aid included in the pledges we secure in stage two of the application?

No, you must hit your pledge target not including Gift Aid (that is redeemed in addition and does not make up any of your target).

Can a Pledger donate online to my charity when the Christmas Challenge is live?

No, because they would effectively be doubling their own donation. Pledgers can donate to a DIFFERENT charity online if they wish.

When do Pledgers fulfill their promise of funding to the charity?

All of your pledge promises must be fulfilled i.e. paid to your charity, between 5th December 2017 and 12th January 2018.

When the live phase of the campaign has ended, you should email your Pledgers to inform them of the amount they owe your charity.

If you have not used all of your pledges to match online donations, your Pledgers will only be required to pay a pro rata amount of their pledge. The Big Give may contact your Pledgers to chase payments.

Can a Pledger fulfill their promise of funding to the charity directly?

Yes, pledges can be paid to your charity after the campaign in any way that is convenient for the Pledger (e.g. via cheque, BACs transfer, on the Big Give).

You will need to upload proof that you have received your pledges to your Christmas Challenge dashboard, for example a screenshot of your bank account or a scan of a cheque.

What happens if I don’t use up all of my pledge funds in the Challenge? (Not applicable to IMF)

If you do not use all of your pledges to double online donations by the end of the Christmas Challenge, your Pledgers will only be required to pay a pro rata amount. For example, if you use 50% of your pledges to double online donations, each Pledger will only be required to pay 50% of their pledged amount. The Pledger may choose to pay the full amount, but this is not compulsory.

Where can I find more guidance on the Stage Two Application?

There is a Stage Two Application Guide available in your Christmas Challenge dashboard.


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Notification (18th September - 6th October 2017)

What does the Notification stage involve?

Charities are notified whether or not they have been selected to receive matching funds from a Champion. You may be offered the same amount of Champion match funds as you have secured in pledges or a lower amount. Please note that if you are offered a lower amount, your pledges will remain the same and they will still be used first to double donations during the live campaign.

If your charity is not selected by a Champion, you have the opportunity to take part in the Christmas Challenge Private Match Fund. In this instance, you will have the opportunity to top up your matching pot by securing additional pledges.

You must accept or reject the offer you receive within 5 days.

What are the dates for the Notification stage?

You will be notified whether or not you have received Champion match funding and if so, how much, between 18th September and 6th October 2017.

 

How long do I have to respond to a Champion offer?

You must accept or reject the Champion offer within 5 days.

What happens if my charity is not offered any Champion funds?

Charities that are not allocated any Champion funds will be able to participate in the Private Match Fund where they will use their pledge funds to match online donations only. They will have the opportunity to top up their matching pot by securing additional pledges.


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Marketing (6th October - 28th November 2017)

Where can I find tips on marketing the campaign to my charity’s supporters?

The Big Give will provide a package of marketing support including an online webinar and guidebook outlining communication channels and creative ideas. This will be available from the start of the Marketing phase (6th October) in your Christmas Challenge dashboard.


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The Christmas Challenge (28th November - 5th December 2017)

When does the campaign go live?

The campaign goes live at midday on 28th November (#GivingTuesday) and runs until midday on Tuesday 5th December.

Donations to your project will be doubled during this time or until you hit your target, whichever comes first.

How are online donations matched?

When the Christmas Challenge goes live, donations made to participating charities are doubled. Charities have matching pots made up of funds either from their own supporters (pledges) or from a Big Give Champion, or both, to double online donations made via theBigGive.org.uk.

Can Pledgers donate during the live phase? (Not applicable to IMF)

Pledgers must not donate to the project they have pledged to because they would effectively be doubling their own donation. Pledgers can donate to a DIFFERENT charity project online if they wish.

Is there a limit to matching online donations?

Yes, the maximum amount that can be matched per donor per project is £5,000.

Can donations made directly to the charity i.e. not via theBigGive.org.uk be matched?

No, all donations must be made online through the donation button on your charity’s project page on the Big Give website to access the match funding.

Can matching funds run out while a donor is making their donation?

We have a ‘reservation system’ which means that, if there are funds available at the point when your donor begins their donation, these funds will be reserved for 10 minutes to give them time to make their donation. There will be clear messaging at every stage of the donation process to notify donors of when their donation will or will not be doubled.

Will I be able to see our supporters’ donation details?

Yes, you can view the names of all your donors in your charity account area under the ‘Your donations’ tab. You will also see their contact details unless they have asked not to be contacted.

What happens when I hit my Challenge target? (For charities with pledge and Champion funds)

Any donations made to your charity after your matching pot is exhausted will not be doubled. However, charities that hit their targets will be eligible for the Christmas Challenge Awards and could win additional funding. The prize funds will be unrestricted.

What happens when I hit my Challenge target? (For IMF and PMF)

Any donations made to your charity after your matching pot is exhausted will not be doubled. However, supporters are still welcome to make an unmatched donation to your charity.

What happens if I fail to hit my Christmas Challenge target?

You will not be penalised for not hitting your target and will still receive all donations made to your project and any match funds secured. Any online donations you do receive will be doubled as per the matching model.

This means that you will receive a pro rata amount of funding. For example, if you achieve 50% of your target, you will redeem 50% of the funds in your matching pot.

Can a charity process payments on behalf of its supporters?

No, this is not allowed and is in breach of the Christmas Challenge Terms and Conditions. Doing so could result in your organisation being removed from the Challenge with matching funds withheld.

Is Gift Aid claimed on behalf of charities for donations received online?

Charities Trust, our payments processor, will do this on your behalf where donors have indicated that they are eligible. All Gift Aid payments will be made as soon as they have been received from HMRC (approx. 8 weeks).

What happens if I don’t use up all of my pledge funds in the Challenge? (Not applicable to IMF)

If you do not use all of your pledges to double online donations by the end of the Christmas Challenge, your Pledgers will only be required to pay a pro rata amount. For example, if you use 50% of your pledges to double online donations, each Pledger will only be required to pay 50% of their pledged amount. The Pledger may choose to pay the full amount, but this is not compulsory.

Is Gift Aid also matched?

No, Gift Aid is not matched.

What payment methods are accepted?

Our payments processor, Charities Trust, require donations to be made online using a debit/credit card. The following card types are accepted: Mastercard / Visa / Maestro / Switch / Solo / Delta / American Express.

Can supporters make a donation from abroad?

Yes, as long as they have one of the accepted card types. Please ensure they are aware that the Christmas Challenge begins at 12pm (midday) GMT on Tuesday 28th November. All donations must be made in GBP.

Will there be any ‘pauses’ after the campaign is launched on #GivingTuesday?

No, the campaign will run continuously for 7 days hours without pausing. Your donors can donate at any time during those 7 days and have their donation doubled providing you have match funds remaining.

Is there a processing fee for donations made via theBigGive.org.uk?

All donations (including Gift Aid) made on the Big Give website are subject to a 4% fee. This fee is charged by our payments processor, Charities Trust (a registered charity No: 327489), to cover their administrative costs.

Are the funds received during the campaign restricted to our Christmas Challenge project?

Funds received during the campaign are restricted to your Christmas Challenge project until you hit your target. If you receive additional online donations after hitting your target, these funds may be unrestricted.You would have been asked to indicate how you would use these additional funds in your Christmas Challenge application.

 

If you win a Christmas Challenge Award, the prize money is unrestricted.


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Post-Challenge (5th December 2017 - 12th January 2018)

What happens when the Christmas Challenge closes at midday on Tuesday 5th December?

You will be required to take steps following the live phase of the campaign in order to complete the Christmas Challenge. Crucially, you will need to collect your pledge payments and upload proof of receipt to your Christmas Challenge dashboard (not applicable to IMF). Once this has been completed, you will receive the Champion matching funds owed to you.

When and how does my charity receive the funds raised through the Christmas Challenge?

Pledges (not applicable to IMF)

Pledges can be paid directly to your charity after the Challenge officially ends (5th December 2017) or via the Big Give website between 5th December 2017 and 12th January 2018.

You will need to contact your Pledgers to collect these funds after your charity has completed the Challenge. The Big Give may also email your Pledger(s) to remind them about paying. You are required to upload proof to your Christmas Challenge dashboard to show when a pledge has been fulfilled. Satisfactory proof is one of the following:

  • A scanned copy/ photo of the cheque.
  • A scanned copy of your bank statement showing the funds have been transferred.
  • A screenshot of the payment made via the Big Give.

Please note the following:

  • Pledges made online via theBigGive.org.uk will be subject to an additional 4% fee.  Any pledges collected via the Big Give will have Gift Aid automatically processed where applicable.
  • You are responsible for claiming Gift Aid on any pledges received directly to your organisation.

Online donations

Online donations will be paid into your bank account within 4 weeks, and Gift Aid 8-10 weeks. The Big Give works with a partner payments processor, Charities Trust, and so payments will come from Charities Trust or ‘CT’ on your bank statement.

Champion funds (not applicable to PMF)

Champion funds will be paid to charities approximately two months after the completion of the Christmas Challenge. You will receive these funds by cheque in February (subject to satisfactory pledge due diligence).

What due diligence does the Big Give carry out?

The Big Give carries out due diligence on pledges (not applicable to IMF) to ensure that these have been paid. Donors have made donations on the basis that they are being matched so you must ensure that you receive your pledges to honour this commitment to donors.

Satisfactory proof is one of the following:

  • A scanned copy/photo of the cheque.
  • A scanned copy of your bank statement showing the funds have been transferred.
  • A screenshot of the payment made via the Big Give.

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More questions?

Get in touch at info@thebiggive.org.uk