I’m one of those people that always forgets to carry cash.
Which usually makes walking past a charity collection bucket (and buying a single pack of gum) slightly awkward.
But apparently, I’m not the only one.
Cash usage has declined by 14% in the past five years – a statistic that sparked Cancer Research’s ‘Tap to Beat Cancer’ campaign.
Last year, the charity placed ‘contactless giving’ windows in four of its UK shops, allowing passers-by to donate £2 with one tap. For World Cancer Day 2016, it’s taking things one-step further by using the technology in face-to-face campaigning.
Surpassing £1.5bn for the first time this March, the growth of contactless payment shows no danger of slowing down. Not surprisingly, a whole host of other charities have been experimenting with the trend.
The hospice and neurological care charity recently began a trial of two contactless payment options.
One, a portable device, allows people to donate £2 during sales events. The other, a static device, allows visitors to its Nettlebed hospice the opportunity to donate £16 – the price of one hour’s care.
— Sue Ryder Nettlebed (@SRNettlebed) June 14, 2016
Earlier this year, Scottish-based charity Mary’s Meals installed contactless donation boxes in cafes across England.
Allowing donations of just 30p (enough to provide some of the poorest children with five meals) – the campaign used the café environment as a powerful correlation to the cause.
Having received 1,500 taps in just six weeks, the initiative is set to be rolled out in further locations.
The Blue Cross created the world’s first team of canine fundraisers.
By embedding contactless technology into specially-designed jackets, it enabled the public to donate by patting dogs during charity events.
Art galleries with ‘optional’ entry donations often lose out to lack of cash.
The Barbican gallery is the first to try and counteract this, recently placing a contactless donation point at the entrance of its Curve Gallery.
Why it works
The problem with face-to-face fundraising is that people assume they are going to be asked to commit long-term.
The beauty of contactless donations is that it is a one-off, one-time action. Even easier than a text donation, it is something that can be done without too much thought or consideration.
As the Blue Cross example shows, contactless giving disrupts traditional notions about donating to charity.
Using the technology to create a fun and unexpected experience, it is more likely to pique interest and involvement.
The beauty of Cancer Research’s 2015 campaign was that it used digital technology in more ways than one.
When store windows were tapped, a screen was activated to show a scientist actively working in the fight against cancer. This immediate pay-off gives the experience an immersive, interactive element.
For charities, contactless technology could be a viable way to adapt to changing behaviours.
Fast, easy and practical, it is simple to install as well as use. What’s more, it is simple to roll out, and accessible enough for even smaller charities.
With more of us using contactless payments for everyday purchases, the charity sector could be next in line to embrace the technology.
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