Category: Tool

by Adrian :: 23.07.12

Micropayments: please indulge me in a little experiment costing you 50p

Dear Friends

Please indulge me by reading this and donate 50p – I want you to be the first to experience a game changing service in the UK.

Up until now, taking micro payments online hasn’t been feasible from a cost point of view because of the high merchant fees charged by Visa, Mastercard and American Express to name but a few.

That’s now history with the advent of a very disruptive little UK startup called Go Cardless. It’s been funded by several stellar VCs like Accel Partners and YCombinator so rest assured of its credibility.

The amazing thing about GoCardless is it facilitates the collection of money through the direct debit system in the UK – therefore it does what it says on the tin – It is entirely cardless. You sign up to GoCardless much the same as creating an account with Paypal. When signing up you setup a direct debit authority which GoCardless will use to collect any money you authorise to be sent. You can use your GoCardless account at multiple merchants.

The cost to the merchant is a mere 1% of the transaction with a maximum of £2! The merchant can setup one-off payment requests or recurring payment requests and these requests can only be authorised by you in a secure environment.

Obviously this is a game changer for the UK market as it suddenly makes all sorts of business models feasible.

Let your mind go…. But before you do- Please help me out? Where I see some amazing value is in micro payments for charity. If I follow a link to donate £1 – the charity receives 99p! See what you could do with this?

Now, it’s no secret that we support The Suffolk Foundation – for those of you who don’t know the Charity – it funds grass roots organisations in Suffolk that are in desperate need of help – often too small to have their own charitable status. (read the Hidden Needs survey they commissioned a while ago).

So in the spirit of a fine cause please could each of you donate 50p by following this link setup by The Suffolk Foundation

Please comment on this post when you’ve followed the donation procedure – letting me know how easy it was to setup. If (for any reason) you decided against it, please let me know why.

Thank you for your time, your 50p and for indulging me! You can now call yourself an early adopter – one of the first few to use a truly disruptive technology.


PS – if you are a conservative, doubting Thomas, let me assure it’s totally safe. is governed by the direct debit guarantee and is registered with the FSA as a small payment provider – the payment partner is the Royal Bank of Scotland. Nothing can leave your bank account without your request and authorisation and is far safer than using your credit or debit card.

by Adrian :: 23.07.12

BT disrupts online giving market. Who would know?

BT a disrupter? Who would have thought it? And it seems to be a well guarded secret too! In this post I analyse three competitive online giving sites and BT comes up trumps.

Just Giving was the first to market and invested heavily to educate us and create the, now, much accepted culture of online fundraising. I take my hat off to them as, with any early adopter, they have funded the markets’ education and arguably need to recoup that investment. Their pace of innovation in very recent years has increased too and their offering is robust and very usable. But, it comes at a price compared to the two other products now on the market. I am willing to bet that most of you haven’t heard of BT myDonate whereas a see quite a bit of fundraising through Virgin Money Giving. This post compares the three offerings from a cost point of view.

I’ve chosen not to analyse the features of the online providers since I think the core offering is what people are most interested in and the core of all three remain consistent: If I’m promoting a fundraising event I can easily host a fundraising page online allowing me to have my supporters sponsor me using a debit or credit card.

Charity signup
All three offerings require the charity to sign up with the service in the first instance. Sadly this seems unavoidable since, amongst other things, the online provider needs to deal with the Gift Aid registration of the underlying charity and to collect bank details ensuring that they are able to remit the funds raised to the charity safely and securely.

Because the bulk of the small charities are not VAT registered I am quoting the VAT inclusive figures in my analysis as I’d prefer to track net cash cost. At the time of writing the VAT rate is 20%. So, if you can claim VAT back then adjust my figures please. BT doesn’t charge the charity to register or a monthly fee for membership. Just Giving charges £18 per month and Virgin £120 up front. If you’re a larger charity, you may argue this isn’t a barrier or significant cost. If you’re a small charity, then I’d argue it is!

Charity signup charges

Once Off


BT MyDonate

Virgin Giving


Just Giving


Merchant Fees Let’s first talk about the fees the payment processing costs us. BT is clear about what their payment provider charges: 1.3% for credit cards and 15p per transaction on a debit card (they don’t accept Paypal). Virgin charges 1.45% on all cards (even debit) and 1.6% for Amex and Paypal. Just Giving tell us Barclaycard charges 1.3% but doesn’t tell us what the charge for debit cards or Paypal.

Admin Fees
Some work is needed before you can compare apples with apples. Just Giving quotes a fee of 5% whereas Virgin Money charges 2%. But, Just Giving clearly discloses that it levies this charge on the donation plus the gift aid whereas Virgin only levies its 2% on the donation before Gift Aid. To make things easier I’ve assumed all the following scenario (please note that the

I run a 10k race for a small charity registered for Gift Aid. I use my online profile to raise £500 and all my supporters use a credit card rather than a debit card or paypal. This is what my charity receives:

Reconciliation of Gross Donation to net proceeds to the Charity.

Gross Donation

Gift Aid

Total Proceeds

Credit Card Chg

Admin Fee

Charity Receives















Just Giving







Of the £500 donated by my supporters- these are the % charges

Fees charges

Excl Merchant

Incl Merchant

BT MyDonate



Virgin Giving



Just Giving



When it comes to charity Every Little Bit Counts. I think the above numbers speak for themselves and the charities I advise will be moving over to BT myDonate. I’d be interested in your views.

BT mydonate launched in 2011 and was received quite a bit of press coverage

by Adrian :: 9.04.11

A picture is worth a thousand words

The power of visualising your story.

There’s a promising little startup being brewed. It’s called Generally,  I’m pretty excited about infographics. That’s the ‘technical’ term for a picture that tells a story and there have been fabulous examples – take the one above telling the story of the rise of Facebook.

So when I say the youtube video and read the Next Web story of a new startup called – I signed up immediately. You should watch it too and pre-register  quickly to grab an early release!



by Adrian :: 30.11.10

WordPress: the B-word and the deadly sin of website development

In the old days

I used to run a Digital Agency a few years ago and we built digital solutions for the WPP communications agencies. It was circa 2004 when I relied heavily on my team of developers in Sofia, Bulgaria as I wasn’t (and am still not) a developer or designer. It was at this time that we all became intrigued by the Blog and I remember taking Land Rover to task in a rather empowering chapter of Citizen Journalism. (After Land Rover sorted out their quality problems 4 years later, I decided to take the blog down)

A move from static to dynamic content

The good old blog was a fundamental milestone because, amongst several things,  it taught us about dynamic content: taught us the importance of self-publishing content at a touch of a button. No longer were we dependent on the web developers to refresh static content but we became empowered to create fresh, dynamic content as often as we needed to engage with our audience. The sites attracting the eye balls were those that offered a fresh stream of engaging content.

I have a theory – at least in the UK – I think the word blog has negative connotations? so I’m going to try not use it further in this post. Because I want you to continue reading this. Just bear with me.

You are in need of a website

So you have a business: either established or a startup. Why do you want a website? Naturally you want to engage with your target market. Engagement is about communication. You want to convince them to do business with you. Communication is no longer a one way street: it’s no longer about broadcasting a message, it’s about creating a two-way conversation. You need to be in control of your content – it has to be dynamic otherwise you don’t need a website: just post a PDF brochure online.

Creating content isn’t that onerous

You don’t always have to do all the hard work creating content – in this age of collaboration and information people share information – and there’s a good chance what you’re about to say has already been said by someone else – don’t copy it or rewrite it – rather add value to it by referencing it. You will create far more value for your existing and prospective customers by directing them to the content you think is relevant to them: by all means comment and interpret it but don’t feel pressured to always create your own content. The only etiquette you should always adhere to is link back and accredit the original author. Other writers will do the same for you and this strategy helps build incoming and outgoing links between your website and others and this is an important aspect of getting a better Google Ranking (this science is called SEO – search engine optimisation)

WordPress is a Content Management system for websites

Let’s talk about Wordpress and why its become the most popular platform on which to publish and create a website. I haven’t used the b-word here because its no longer a b-word platform. The good news about WordPress is it is free. It comes in two versions a version which is more designed for the b-word community and another version which you have to host. This is the one I’m going to talk about because it is one of the greatest enablers that the open-source community has given you: the entrepreneur.

The cardinal sin of website development

We recently pitched to a prospective client who already has a most beautiful website – only a year old. It evidently cost her a lot of money but the brand design work impressed me- it was beautiful. All I suggested on the website from was that she needed to keep her content up to date and fresh. She then told me something quite staggering: she had to go back to the agency who wanted to a material budget for the content refresh. When I asked her why she didn’t have a content management system she said she couldn’t afford to have one built and now the agency wanted to charge her thousands of pounds to turn the existing site into a dynamic.

There is no reason in the world why in 2010 you should not be in complete control of your website content.

There is no incremental cost involved in building a dynamic site over a static site. I’ll go further by saying you were ripped off if you purchased a static website in the last 3 years. It is a cardinal sin to build a static website in 2010.

Why am I confident enough to claim the above? Because you or your developer/designer could have built it on WordPress. WordPress may well have been built as a blogging platform  but those origins are incidental- WordPress was built to allow for communication on the web and has incorporated everything to allow you to do this in a dynamic, flexible and efficient way (this includes SEO too) You do not need to be a techie to manage it either.

Get away from misconception that a blog looks like a, well, bloggy- journal. This AoB site runs on WordPress. Have a look at a few other sites that run on WordPress: Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival is another or try the talented guys at Condiment who enjoy pushing WordPress to its limits. And remember I told you I wasn’t a developer or designer – I built my sister’s website on WordPress (admittedly a steepish learning curve).

From the above, hopefully you’ve learnt the following:

  • WordPress is a content management system that allows your website to be a dynamic communication tool that puts you in control
  • It is a cardinal sin to build or own a static website in this day and age.
  • You are being ripped off by anyone agency that charges you for the space that WordPress has now commoditised.

PS: Just so that you understand: AoB doesn’t build websites. We help you spend your money wisely. We’ll help you frame your brief and put you in the direction of the right agency. Equipped with the right team and brief: you’ll get it right first time!  If you haven’t got any money: then we’ll show you how to do it yourself. (future posts, keep your eye’s peeled)