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Getting started with cashless giving: what to consider before diving in

Updated: Nov 18, 2021



With many retailers currently choosing to accept only contactless payments, and rising transaction limits making this payment method ever more convenient, post-pandemic few of us expect to return to carrying coins and notes in the same way as before.

For charities, it means many more are now looking at cashless giving methods to keep donations coming in, from contactless and online donations, to text giving, QR codes, and NFC tags.

The good news is people were already embracing these methods as a way of supporting good causes pre-pandemic, and the past year has only seen this increase.


Samantha Lade, Senior Project Manager at Donr says:

“People aren’t carrying cash, but everyone carries a mobile phone or contactless card. Wherever they are, your supporters have a donation tool right there in their pocket.”

The National Funding Scheme’s DONATE™ platform, for example which integrates text, web and contactless giving, saw donation revenue soar to £1.2 million last year, up from around £215,000 pounds in 2019.

William Makower, its Founder-Trustee says:

“We’re finding text by far the most popular giving option at about 80% of all donations by volume. We had four and a half times as many donations in 2020 by text as we did in 2019. There has also been a very large increase in web donations where the pound amount is much, much higher.”

Developments in technology are further increasing the advantages of digital payment technology for charities, as Elliot Green, Communications Director at Wonderful explains:

“One exciting development, open banking, is changing what’s possible when it comes to cashless donations. Cashless donation solutions are now starting to allow charities to receive instant, direct payments authorised by the donor’s existing mobile banking app. The whole process can be initiated on the move, by tapping or scanning with a mobile device. These ‘Pay by Bank’ solutions help improve donor confidence, as well as offering significant cost savings for charities when it comes to transaction fees.”

For the best chances of success however, there are a few key points to consider before diving in.

Address the practicalities

For one, the practicalities of getting up and running, from finance to solution requirements, require very careful thought.

Joe Geary, Marketing Manager at GoodBox advises:

“Define the budget you’re comfortable investing and ensure you can meet any requirements like having a reliable internet connection, especially if the device doesn’t accept offline donations. Consider your overall strategy and decide which digital fundraising method would complement it best.”

TAP London: one of a number of contactless giving points rolled out across the capital with GoodBox

Contactless terminals for example come in all shapes and sizes, from handheld readers to tabletop and freestanding devices, and can even be integrated into a wall or a window. They generally let charities include branding and messaging and set a variety of donation amounts and many still collect donations when offline.

Tap London for example has placed 100 contactless giving points around the capital, and has received over 58,000 taps since launch, each one a £3 donation, with the technology for the contactless donation points provided by its partner GoodBox.

With many venues and events closed over the past year, many charities have turned to text giving.

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