The future of the charity sector and the rise of cashless payments
Despite the hurdles of this year, Alex Coleridge, founder of TapSimple thinks that charities can leverage cashless payments to improve the donor experience, cut costs and improve efficiency. He shares his thoughts on the future for charities.
With the relentless rise of contactless and online payments, cash was already in terminal decline at the start of this year, but the pandemic has accelerated this transformative shift. Since the World Health Organisation warned that bank notes may transmit the virus, cash is being avoided, even as technological innovations allow people to cut cash entirely.
The implications for the charity sector are enormous, disrupting traditional fundraising methods such as bucket collections or cash donations at charity events. However, this disruption also presents major opportunities for charities – cashless donations reduce the cost of reporting and reconciliation, reduce the risk of missing funds, and enable fundraisers to analyse and optimise their campaigns.
It is important that charities continue to adapt and embrace this new technology, as society’s reliance on the voluntary sector will be larger than ever. Climate change, inequality, ageing populations, as well as the prospect of recovering from a global pandemic all continue to pose major challenges. Charities will have a vital role to play in our future, serving those in need, and there are a variety of ways technology will be used to help them operate more effectively, build better engagement with supporters and ultimately, find better ways to fundraise.
Contactless payment solutions
The first key investment charities must make is in contactless payment solutions that cater specifically to the charity sector- only 4% of charities presently make use of these systems, but 73% find street giving is failing due to the decline of cash.
The charities that have embraced contactless and chip & pin technology, for example the NSPCC and Christian Aid, are witnessing a significant positive impact on their face-to-face donations, typically experiencing donation amounts on average three or four times higher.
Meanwhile, advancements in some Contactless and Chip & Pin systems are now enabling Gift Aid, helping to make the donation process more effective by helping fundraisers to collect Gift Aid declarations, and the corresponding 25% boost, at the moment of taking a donation.
Virtual events are an opportunity for charities to engage their supporters around the world from the comfort and safety of their own homes – particularly important now during the pandemic, but also with major implications for the future of fundraising.
Many charities are embracing this technology and realising the benefits - reaching large and disparate donor audiences, reducing the cost of holding events and raising more money. The best virtual event platforms combine ticketing, video conferencing and the ability to accept donations directly from the page.
It is fantastic to see charities experimenting with a wide range of entertaining and engaging experiences, including coffee mornings, cocktail-making classes, virtual dog-grooming and duck racing, to live Q&As and pub quizzes.
The good news for donors
Innovations like these and their implementation in the charity sector, are not just improving the fundraising experience but the donor experience too, which has never been easier for both individuals and for corporates.
With donations being facilitated via apps, through web pages and even at shopping checkouts, individuals have a huge range of quick and sometimes entertaining options for supporting their favourite causes.
Meanwhile, corporate social responsibility is more vital than ever, and companies are getting involved as employees increasingly look for organisations who share their values and give back to society on some level. With more charities able to receive donations online, businesses can easily form partnerships with their chosen charities and make donations when appropriate or encourage their employees to do so.
As the fundraising environment changes, charities have demonstrated their ability to adapt and innovate, taking advantage of the many technologies emerging to solve inefficiencies, increase donations and connect with a global audience. It has never been easier for individuals and corporates to donate at the touch of a button, and for charities to supercharge their fundraising. Despite the hurdles of the last year, the future of the voluntary sector is full of opportunities.
Alex Coleridge is the Founder of TapSimple, which creates smart, contactless campaigns inspired by data, and supported by custom hardware and software to empower people to give more - helping charities fund-raise in an increasingly cashless world.