Close to $1 million in crowd funding has been donated to individuals, charities and projects based around the Bay of Plenty.

Online crowdfunding website Givealittle raised $956,939.53 of donations in 2017 for fundraising causes around the region.

Figures released to the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend showed 797 pages had been set up around the Bay last year with the top three fundraisers making more than $60,000 each.

Tauranga woman Tracey Pay's Givealittle page was used for her battle with breast cancer, raising money for the drug Kadcyla.


The Givealittle page was set up by Pay's friends last July and had raised more than $71,700.

"I'm so grateful," Pay said.

The mum-of-two knew first hand how important the treatment was after five more tumours grew in the space of seven weeks when she was without treatment.

Her Givealittle page was one form of fundraising that now allowed Pay to afford the drug "a lot of other women" could not afford, she said.

"This treatment is keeping me alive longer. Life would be pretty bleak if I couldn't have it."

Pay said she found it "very difficult" to take money from other people. However one of the best things about the crowdfunding page was that people could donate as much or as little as they wanted.

"People can choose if they want to donate or not. Even if it's $2, it all adds up," she said.

The only negative to using Givealittle was 5 per cent of the total amount was taken by the company, Pay said.


"I have had some people put money directly into my account so that I get the full amount," she said.

According to Givealittle, the 5 per cent service fee was to cover running costs such as payment processing, website hosting costs, customer service, website development, security and compliance.

Other pages included the Edgecumbe & Eastern Bay of Plenty (EBOP) Mayoral Flood Appeal that had raised the most amount of money in the region with $78,898.95 to help support to those affected by the April floods.

Givealittle was founded in 2007 by Nathalie Whitaker and was purchased in November 2012 by the Spark Foundation.

Spark Foundation general manager Lynne Le Gros said Givealittle had grown "significantly" over the last five years.

She said the website had gone from being a little-known site to a household name.

"In 2017 a total of $17m was donated by generous Kiwis on Givealittle," Le Gros said.

So why is the crowdfunding page so popular amongst New Zealanders?

Le Gros believed it was because the website was easy to use and Kiwis trusted it.

"People can make a donation of any size and donors get that together their donations add up. The power of the crowd."