Podcast: Damian Simor from GiveToView

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what is give to view?

What is GiveToView?

  • A new way of raising money through using videos
  • By uploading a video to GiveToView.com and sharing it among your friends, you can get donations for the charity of your choice
  • Videos stop at a point designated by you, with the view having to give in order to see the remaining footage
  • Popular videos have included skydives and white water rafting.

Who is Damian Simor?

  • The founder of GiveToView
  • Damian produced the project and pitched it to charities across the UK, as well as troubleshooting issues related to the launch.
  • He has previously worked with companies including The Guardian and Volkswagen
  • His own GiveToView video was of him eating a chili pepper, and raised a couple of hundred pounds for charity.
give to view logo

What can I learn?

  • The importance of data and information to larger charities
  • The problems involved with the launch of any new fundraising site
  • How the needs of charities are of the utmost importance to everyone involved in the third sector – and how not knowing those needs can cause issues
  • How to fundraise by using GiveToView


For anyone who is unaware, could you tell us a little bit about GiveToView and what it is you do?

So basically, GiveToView is exclusively a video fundraising site, so we’ve been set up in order to enable people to raise money by making videos and sharing them with their friends, family, fans and followers.

I suppose then the simplest way to describe it is as a combination of YouTube and JustGiving and the objective of this is to change the way in which people can raise money for charity – we’re very interested in the idea of making fundraising a lot more accessible, so we’re taking a view that not everyone can run marathons or do extremely physically demanding challenges and so on and this is an opportunity for us to open up the ability to fundraise to a much broader audience which doesn’t exclude active fundraisers because we’re very active in the whole area of people using GiveToView as as means of supporting traditional ways to raise money.

To give you an example, if you raise sponsorship money for a skydive, you can also make a video of your skydive, and then you can use that raise additional money – and we’ve had people do that quite successfully.

GivetoView stallAs you said, it is quite nice to do something a little bit different really isn’t it? Because as you mentioned then about someone doing a sponsored skydive – it’s all great, you go and get the sponsorship beforehand, and you go for it and then you do the event and there’s a picture of you maybe jumping out of the plane and maybe at the bottom with your thumbs up, but with this you can see the whole video of this, you can see the whole journey. 

That’s exactly right […] you do get something in return, i suppose that is one of the sort of bonuses of this, there’s a sort of sense of anticipation. I mentioned that probably the sort of thing that wows people the most about the tech that we have is that you have the ability to choose when in the timeline of the video when you ask for your money, and this is the key feature as it means you can tell people why you’re supporting a cause, what the charity does and then most importantly of all you can kind of tease the content of the video.

So in the case of the skydiving video you’d be sitting on the ledge of the door of the plane when you stop the video and you ask for the donations. People who know you are going to want to see beyond that and in order to do that they’ll have to make that donation. So yeah, that’s the sort of thing that we’re interested in – and as I said, it is conceivable that you can raise money in ways that you just couldn’t otherwise. Personally speaking, I raised a couple of hundred pounds by eating a really hot chili pepper. You couldn’t really do that any other way.

So we’re about opening up the talent or lack of talent and just making fundraising a lot more accessible to people. We’re just trying to do something a little bit different and put a new spin on – and I haven’t even really touched on the whole celebrity idea. We haven’t actually had any celebrities use the site yet but obviously it is something that we are hoping for in the future because people like that often have huge online followings and huge fanbases. So you can imagine that they might release a single early on the site, put it out on Twitter and raise lots of money for the causes that they care about.

There was some initial discussion with a few of the larger charities about what they thought of the idea and they embraced it and they thought it was a fantastic idea

So have that intro of the song and stop it at that point and say now you pay for this and have to donate to charity with this purchase?

Well, you could certainly do it like that, but there are lots of different ways in which you could use that pause point and it is up to people how to decide how they want to do that. In the past we’ve just had performers introduce themselves and say that they’re about to go on stage and at that stage the video stops, so if you want to see beyond that, then you have to donate, or you can show half the song as you suggest.

So going back to when you founded GiveToView, what you to launch this alternative fundraising website?

Well, my background is as an advertising creative, I’ve been involved in getting brands online quite a bit over the last few years, but if I am honest I have always been quite frustrated by how much you’re allowed to stretch your wings in that world, and there are quite a number of restrictions on – well, frankly it is very difficult to get very interesting work out. So when I had this idea, I was motivated partly by that, partially by doing something socially positive with my life. I think that was another factor. And the final factor was that I feel GiveToView has something to give, and that is it’s purpose is for the purpose to creativity, and to give people a means of channeling their creativity in a positive way.

Your website is still quite young and you’re still quite new – what have been your successes in your eyes so far?

I think the main successes, as you’ll see, are a terrific membership base. there’s been a really good reception and, as a result, charities like Macmillan Cancer Support, Medicine San Frontiers, BBC Children in Need, Barnardos, Battersea Dogs Home, Save the Children [have all signed up].

In terms of the successes, I’ve been really pleased to see people using the site in interesting ways as I mentioned and raising money in ways that you just couldn’t otherwise. Just the other day actually, we had an old lady doing some white water rafting. She used that to raise a few hundred pounds for Medicine Sans Frontiers. That was a really good example of where we want to take what we’re up to. 

The main thing I think is to go and speak to [charities], to show them the thinking and review it with them [and] find out if it is something that would be useful

Have there been any particular kinds of videos that have been more of a success than others? 

That’s a good question. As of yet, I would struggle to pull out some detailed information on that. I can tell you that […] the videos that tend to have done better are the ones that have introduced themselves properly. When there’s been a proper introduction of why somebody is doing something, and what it is about and what they’re passionate about – I suppose it doesn’t differ from normal fundraising in that you have to work quite hard to get your video in front of people. So in that  respect I suppose it is no different from more traditional forms of fundraising.

Now, when charities put a promotional video together, do you think that there’s something that they’re doing wrong?

I can’t tell you that I have a strong opinion on that because we don’t really see the site as being used for that sort of thing. We’re much more about user-generated content. We’re much more about the whole idea of charities getting their supporters involved in GiveToView and using [the site] to raise more for them and using their own creativity. I suppose one of the things that i would say is that my personal reaction is that they spend too much money on them. but that isn’t really the sort of thing that we have on the site.

Do you think that there’s any of them that you’ve seen that you think “maybe you could have done something a little bit different to make this more appealing to make someone donate”?

That would boil down to probably […] the use again of the pause point. I think if you just put it right at the beginning, without a sort of soft-landing then I don’t think that those tend to perform that well. I think that the main thing is that you’re active in sharing it with people that you know. It’s no different from other fundraising in that respect. By and large, people are donating to support people that they know. There’s plenty of entertainment out there free for people who wouldn’t be connected with the original creator.

Have you come up against any difficulties when getting GiveToView going? Is there anything that you would do differently?

Yeah, definitely. There’s always going to be lessons that you learn and I think the biggest one – I’m not, as I mentioned, from a charity background – [is that] I didn’t have quite a handle on certain requirements that charities needed before I could set up the site. We kind of ploughed ahead without that much consultation from charities.

Now, there was some initial discussion with a few of the larger charities about what they thought of the idea and they embraced it and they thought it was a fantastic idea – but what I didn’t realise was just quite how much data charities are interested in acquiring and in fact need. When we did the spec for the original site, it was quite limited. It was more or less just ‘here’s the money’, and [it didn’t give] all of the associated information that now goes with it. So we had to go back and put all of that in.

Obviously, that was a set-back in terms of how long it took us to build it. It was a greater expense in terms of constructing it, but I wasn’t aware at the time – perhaps rather naively – that these things were really important.

So if somebody was looking to set up another alternative fundraising site – not in a similar vain, but something a little bit different […], what advice would you give to that person?

My main advice would be to make sure that you have a point of difference. That would be a really key thing, because charities are quite well catered for in a number of different sectors. I think charities have quite limited resources, and therefore managing multiple sources of revenue is a complication for them.

GivetoView Turn your talents into good deedsBut the main thing I think is to go and speak to [charities], to show them the thinking and review it with them [and] find out if it is something that would be useful. Or for that matter, talk to me – I’ll see if I can help you.

Finally, what can we expect from GiveToView in the future? Is there anything coming up?

We’ve got a lot of things going on. the most exciting things that are happening are with various youth organisations who are interested in using us – but I don’t feel ready to tell you too much about it.

I would love to tell you that Beyonce is about to do something on the site, but she’s not. We just need to find somebody with a lot of celebrity friends who will introduce the site to them because we’re really excited about that aspect of things and seeing how they use it. In fact, the most fun thing about running this site is seeing how people apply their creativity to it.

So, things for the future – there are all sorts of events going on at the moment. Firewalks, things like that that we are getting involved in [and a] skydiving company that we’re talking to, they’re going to help us with producing videos on behalf of jumpers. So there’s things like that that we’re doing, but we probably can’t say much more than that.

My main advice would be to make sure that you have a point of difference. That would be a really key thing