Hi Lynn

Here is Just Giving’s response to an email I sent them regarding whether Save our Town complies with Just Giving’s crowd funding guidelines. As you can see Just Giving have not addressed this matter as yet.

However, the email contains information about how Just Giving collects and distributes money raised for a cause. It appears that Save our Town has chosen to use Just Giving’s crowdfunding option rather than an option that applies to charities who want to raise donations. I have drawn this conclusion because I can find no evidence that Save our Town are a charity, or have they answered my direct questions about whether they are a charity or a business.

The crowdfunding option is of less benefit to Save our Town than the charity option because crowdfunding donations are not eligible for gift aid. Additionally, the crowdfunding option incurs a 5% processing fee that is deducted by Just Giving at the time it sends funds to Save our Town. Also, if the donor pays by debit card, credit card or PayPal the donor incurs card fees of either 1.25% or 1.45%. Therefore a £10 Pay Pal donation will cost the donor 14.5 pence.

Most donors will donate through Save our Town’s website as Save our Town publicity posters direct potential donors to this site to get more information about their cause and to access their crowdfunding page. Further, if Save our Town were to request all of their declared funding target i.e. £10000 from their crowd funding account they would only receive £9500 to spend on their cause.

Save our Town and its supporters seem overly sensitive to any inquiry into their operations and are becoming increasingly irrational and disproportionate in their response to criticism intended to assist Save our Town, their donors and potential donors, in their understanding of how donations are being used, and the financial consequences for the donor and the cause to which they are donating.

For example, as you will be aware through social media, Save our Town supporters are asking the public not to buy the Luton News. As for Luton Town FC supporters and Save our Town followers, these groups both seem to think anyone criticising Save our Town is against a football stadium at Power Court, retail development at Newlands Road and are receiving back handed payments form Capital and Regional and thus they respond abusively to the critic.

Thanks, Mike

To: Michael Sep 8, 14:52 BST

Hi Michael,

Thanks for getting in touch.
Here at JustGiving we have two platforms that were built to help raise money for good causes.
Our charity fundraising platform allows you to raise funds for a registered charity. These fundraising pages can be open indefinitely, and all donations made to the page from UK taxpayers are eligible for 25% additional gift aid at no extra cost to the donor. Furthermore, the donations are transferred across to the charity on a weekly basis.
Setting up a charity fundraising page on JustGiving is quick and easy, just click on the link below and follow the instructions:

http://just.ly/create_page_video

Our Crowdfunding platform allows you to raise funds for a good cause that isn’t necessarily covered by a registered charity. The pages work a little differently to charity fundraising on JustGiving, as we’ll be sending the funds directly to a UK bank account of your choice, rather than directly to a registered charity. You will have up to one year to raise the funds you need (you can start withdrawing funds after 2 weeks), and we’ll send the funds to you minus our 5% fee and processing costs. For more information on Crowdfunding fees you can follow this link: http://just.ly/CrowdfundingFees

To get started, all you need to do is head to https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com click the ‘Get started’ button and then follow the steps through.
I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any further questions at all.

Thanks, Hannah

From: Michael Stonnell Aug 31, 16:22 BST

Hi Hannah

I am considering donating to Save Our Town via their crowdfunding page.

Save our Town’s about page www.saveourtownluton.co.uk/about connects through embedded links to their crowdfunding page  https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/saveourtownluton<https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/saveourtownluton>. These pages appear to set out different aims/purposes.

Also according to Luton Borough Council’s planning application webpages planning permission for a football stadium at Power Court.  https://planning.luton.gov.uk/online-applications/simpleSearchResults.do?action=firstPage    and planning permission for Newlands Road.  https://planning.luton.gov.uk/online-applications/simpleSearchResults.do?action=firstPage are imminent.  The regeneration of Luton Town Centre is about to start as it has been designated as a Business Improvement District http://lutonbid.org. Therefore, Save our Town’s aims/ purposes have in effect been achieved. Also, their website presents a biased view of Capital and Regional.

Further, Save our Town as yet have failed to answer these questions which I put to them on the 22nd August.

1) Do you have management structure?

2) Do you publish your accounts?

3) Do you return any unspent donations in the event of winding up?

4) Do you publish a calendar of meetings that donors can attend?

5) Are you a charity or a company?

I have visited the Charity Commission’s and Companies House websites. Save Our Town do not appear to be a charity or a company.

On reviewing these pages and the Save our Town website; Do you think that Save our Town have breached your guidelines?

Thanks, Mike