News & Views - Savantor

Contactless and the future of donations

Monday, 16 October 2017

A nationwide survey undertaken by Consumer Intelligence shows that over a third of people who regularly donate money to street charity collectors admit they have cut back in the past year, on average estimating they have donated £14 less, as a result of the rise in popularity of contactless credit and debit cards which means that they do not carry as much cash as previously.

Consumer Intelligence’s research shows 58% of adults to be using less cash than a year ago, with just a third of those questioned preferring to use cash for purchases worth less than £30 (the limit for contactless cards).

As cash remains an important source of donations for charities – according to the Charities Aid Foundation, cash is still the most popular method of donating to charity with 55% of donations coming in notes and coins – it must be a concern that this is impacting charities.

However, it is good to see that the new technology is also proving to be a mechanism which can be utilised to collect charity donations in other ways. Previously in MartketEye we have mentioned charity initiatives such as Pennies and contactless collection for Poppies. Now the Church of England is also apparently undertaking trials using contactless technology for collections.

Even the NHS is embracing contactless technology for collecting funds: the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is introducing wheelchairs, ‘smart’ posters, ID cards, and vinyl stickers that allow visitors to donate with a simple tap of a smartphone. The vinyl stickers are being applied to the charity-funded portering chairs used by patients and their families.

A trial undertaken by the Dutch bank ING has also proved a success, apparently resulting in the value of average donations more than doubling that collected by traditional cash collection tins.

ING teamed up with 19 charities for the three month pilot, which involves using a box with a touch screen where people can choose the organisation they wish to donate to, before picking one of a range of options for the amount to give and finally tapping their contactless device.

According to ING the system not only made donating quicker but also helped boost the average contribution amount to more than double. The intention is to invest in many more of the devices and roll the technology out to the rest of Europe.

So whilst in one area contactless can be seen to be having a negative impact on donations, the technology is nevertheless also likely to be providing a future way forward for charities and their fund raising endeavours.

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