Contactless donations and targeted advertising: read our personal examples of how digital is changing the way charities fundraise

I have been reading a lot recently about the need for digital transformation in the charity sector.  Over half of UK charities surveyed by TechTrust said they don’t have a defined digital strategy.  And those that do, the large majority expected to increase their measurable impact in 2018[1].  With this in mind, I wanted to celebrate some recent examples of digital technology that our team have experienced.

My local Church goes digital with ‘tap and go’ donation

I recently attended a church service. At the end, the vicar stated very politely that we could make a donation in the box on the way out.  And if we had no cash? No problem! There was a ‘contactless’ machine alongside the donation box.  Therefore, we could simply decide if we wanted to make a £3, £5 or £10 donation and ‘tap and go’.

I thought this was brilliant.  I have been in many situations where I have been asked to make a donation and the one and only reason I didn’t, was because I didn’t have any cash.  This is a great demonstration of how technology is used to help both the donor and beneficiary.

Going digital must be linked back to the customer journey

On a separate occasion I was stopped by a friendly individual in London promoting the homeless charity, Centrepoint.

The representative ran through the reasons why and how my donation would make a difference to this youth homelessness charity.  She then asked if I would be happy to sign up and make monthly donations.  Whilst what she said resonated with me, I wasn’t keen to make a regular donation, complete forms or provide my contact details there and then.  However, I would have had no hesitation in using my contactless card to make a one-off donation, had that been an option.

For me, this comes back to the customer journey.  I was engaged, believed in the cause but didn’t want to make a long-term financial commitment, so they lost me at the last hurdle. However, I wouldn’t have thought twice about a quick tap of my card to donate on the spot.

Targeted advertising to donate to a cause close to you

On speaking about my experience in the office, my colleague told me how she had been cleverly targeted on Facebook by The British Heart Foundation.  She received a targeted ad inviting her to make a donation of £20 to place a name on the Heart of Steel.  The heart is to be a monumental sculpture with space to engrave 150,000 names.  By using targeted advertising on Facebook, the charity reached my colleague who has a strong personal connection with the charity.  As a result, she felt inclined to donate instantaneously to a cause that she believed in.

My colleague also said that had she been notified of the Heart of Steel via another medium; post or poster, she wouldn’t have donated as quickly and of course there would have been a chance that donating to the cause would have slipped off her radar completely.

In short, these are just a couple of examples of how embracing digital technology is increasing charitable donations.  The landscape of fundraising is changing, and charities need to ensure they have the talent and skills in place to continue to make an impact.  Read our blog on how charities can compete for digital talent in this challenging market.

[1] No Charity Left Behind: The Need for a Digital Third Sector, Tech Trust, January 2018

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