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Is contactless giving the future of fundraising?

We are fast becoming a cashless society, so charities must start thinking about how they can offer people more choice when it comes to cash collectionsÖ

In the next decade, the increasing use of contactless and mobile payments (particularly by younger people) will be a major source of growth for debit card payments, according to a new report by the UK Cards Association. Another study by Nationwide also revealed that British people give twice as much if they use their phones or cards to pay Ė they give an average of £5.47, with that figure falling to just £2.34 for those who give cash.

The British Legionís Poppy Appeal

Back in 2013 the Royal British Legion trialled contactless donations for its Poppy Appeal, giving people in Birmingham the option of giving by tapping their cards on posters and tins. At the time, they were an early adopter of using this technology for fundraising. They were looking to give people the ability to make a quick donation without even breaking their step. Fast forward four years and itís now been trialled across the country as more and more people are carrying less cash.

In 2017, the charity had 200 contactless devices, which were placed in a range of outlets, such as shopping centres, supermarkets and reception areas at The Royal British Legion pop-in centres. People could donate via their contactless bank card, Apple Pay or Android Pay and donation levels were set at £2, £3 and £5.

Proving the concept

There were almost 20,000 taps with £5 being the most popular option Ė it was 45% of all taps. The average donation was £3.57 and the charity raised £68,150 from contactless giving. Shane Crowhurst, Head of The Poppy Appeal, said, ďThis has a been a very exciting trial making excellent use of technology. The feedback from Poppy Appeal Collectors and the general public has been extremely positive, proving that this concept will grow and grow.Ē

The Poppy Appeal collectors who were selected to take part in the trial embraced the concept and feedback from the public was positive too. Whatís interesting is that it wasnít just younger people donating using contactless, as the charity thought it might be. This could mean potentially increasing the donation levels for 2018, especially as almost 50% of people chose the highest donation option of £5.

Lesson learned

Some lessons The Royal British Legion learnt for their Poppy Appeal contactless trial:

  • Make greater use of supermarkets because itís a prime area for people to donate via contactless
  • Advertise in advance that people can donate via contactless
  • Donít just think contactless and giving via Apple or Android Pay is just for young people

Although itís too early to know how successful this form of giving is compared to more traditional methods, it certainly is promising. Many charities, such as Sue Ryder, Cancer Research UK, Blue Cross, Imperial Health Charity and Shelter (to name a few) have all experimented with contactless giving, with varying degrees of success.

For charities, there are many benefits to using contactless devices, such as being able to set donation levels that are appropriate for your campaign. Sue Ryder, for example, tested a handheld and a static contactless device at their Nettlebed hospice. The static device was positioned in the reception area and the donation level was set to £16. This may seem high but it equates to the cost of one hour in a Sue Ryder hospice so itís actually a very tangible ask.

Another clear benefit to charities using contactless devices is the time is saves having to count and then bank cash. Not to mention itís obviously much safer too.

Setting up contactless giving

So how can you set up contactless giving for your charity? There are a number of options so choose which one is right for your organisation. If youíre a small charity and only looking to use it once a year for a specific campaign, then you would probably look at renting a device. If you are planning on using it more regularly, you will most likely want to buy your own devices. There are a few companies who offer both of these options. Also check with your bank if they provide contactless payment solutions.

So is contactless giving the future of fundraising? Well, it may not be THE future but itís certainly going to be a big part of it.

Kirsty Marrins is a Digital Communications Consultant

 

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