May 17, 2019

Digital Fundraising: How Charities Can Embrace Fundraising Technology

You’re standing on a busy pavement, proudly wearing your charities logo and hoping to catch the eyes of passing commuters and visitors who pass by. Some people have time to stop, others don’t. But so often, even those you do engage with aren’t able to donate there and then. Why? Because the way we pay and donate is changing – fewer of us than ever before carry cash.

Thankfully, fundraising is changing too. Soon, the days of shaking collection boxes and encouraging friends and family to give loose change will be distant memories. The rise of digital fundraising is creating new and exciting ways for organisations to raise money, all by embracing the latest tech. And it’s coming around fast.

It all began in the 1990s when the World Wide Web was invented. Since then, how we operate and communicate has changed drastically. The world of digital technology is fast-paced and the new ideas it generates often take off rapidly. While some may be fleeting trends, others completely change how we live, work and communicate – think Uber, Spotify and Monzo. New technologies and ways of communicating have completely transformed how businesses engage with their consumers, making transactions and interactions swifter and easier. But while the world of business used technology to become ever more advanced, the charity sector stayed somewhat behind the curve.

Currently, the charity and volunteering industry is estimated to be operating around 5-10 years behind the commercial sector when it comes to embracing digital transformation. As consumer behaviours, needs and expectations change with the digital revolution, charities can’t afford to lag behind.

The exciting news is, there are lots of charities who are already embracing the digital age, and there’s plenty of ways that other organisations can also get up to speed. To help out, we’ve outlined the digital fundraising technology which could have the most impact on your charity’s fundraising success.

Contactless donations

We’ve all noticed the growth of cashless payments over the last few years. From contactless cards to mobile payment technology using Apple Pay and the like, it’s now a rarity to use cash in everyday payments. Back in 2006 – the year when James Blunt’s ‘You’re Beautiful’ hit No.1 and the first ever tweet was sent – 62% of payments were made using cash. Now, only 34% of payments are made using cash, and it won’t be long before the cost of maintaining the traditional infrastructure that supports cash transactions is no longer viable. You’ve already begun to see this start to happen, with branches closing up and down the country, making it harder to take out money from your local bank.

If charities don’t start embracing the full potential of cashless donations and payments now, they’ll soon be playing catch up as cash payments become a non-existent part of our economy. Making a contactless donation isn’t complex or time-consuming. The customer simply taps their bank card or smartphone, and then they can get on with their day. The good news is, there’s plenty of contactless donation technologies out there ready to help charities adjust to how times are changing. Take our GBx Mini for example. Small, efficient, and affordable, it allows even the smallest charities to embrace cashless donations.

Contactless fundraising technology can even help on the ground with street collecting. With portable, contactless donation devices, you can replace traditional and cumbersome collection buckets, fundraising through cashless giving. No longer will potential donors have to walk past a charity collection bucket feeling guilty because all they’ve got in their pockets is a phone and some chewing gum. Cashless fundraising technology makes donating easy and convenient, increasing the chance of customers donating in the first place.

Mobile giving

It should be no surprise that smartphones now reign supreme when it comes to digital devices. People spend more time online on their mobiles than on desktops or tablets. But mobiles are useful for more than just scrolling through Instagram and watching cat videos on YouTube.

Smartphone users are also, on average, the biggest source of traffic to charity websites and when it comes to donor behaviour, young donors are twice as likely to give to charity via their smartphones than previous generations. 92% of Millennials and Generation Z said they would donate via their smartphone compared to only 44% of Baby Boomers. Studies have also found that the youngest donors are the most generous when it comes to giving.

Targeting these donor channels and younger audiences is, therefore, a brilliant strategy. Making the most of mobile donations to its fullest potential could help charities to tap into the most generous generation, through the devices that they’re most likely to donate through. As mobile usage increases year on year, utilising mobile giving and digital donation technology lets you reach this audience of potential givers.

Charities can look to mobile donation apps like Coin up, Givelify and Thinking Of You for ideas on how to create a platform that combines ease of donation with causes that their donors care about.

Thinking digitally

There are lots of ways to go about creating a digital fundraising strategy, but one area charities should not neglect is crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a brilliant way for the public to donate and provide collaborative support a cause they believe in, without having to make a hefty financial contribution themselves or sign up to a long-term commitment. They can also be extremely effective in a short space of time. Thanks to crowdfunding pages, £2 million was raised for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in London in just two days. While donations to rebuild Notre-Dame hit the $1 billion mark through over 50 crowdfunding campaigns.

Through digital fundraising platforms such as VirginMoney, as well as connecting to supporters online, you can also create an online community around your cause, and deliver personalised campaigns. In addition, they help individual fundraisers and volunteers collect donations on your behalf, saving you valuable resources.

This goes hand in hand with social media promotion and activity, which can help raise awareness about your organisation – building your brand identity, spreading your message quickly and increase the total reach of campaigns, slogans or ideas. In the best scenarios, they could go viral. Think about some of the most iconic fundraising campaigns of the past five years, such as the #icebucketchallenge and #nomakeupselfie. Why not aim for your charity to achieve this same kind of response online.

‘Alexa, make a donation…’

Nearly 25% of people in the UK now own one or more smart home devices, the most popular being smart speakers like the Amazon Echo – this percentage is predicted to double in 2019. Engaging with smart speaker users opens up a whole new channel for engaging with new audiences and modernising donations. Some of the larger names in the charity world have already jumped on the bandwagon, including the British Heart Foundation and Breast Cancer Care. It won’t be long before smaller charities begin to follow them down this digital path.

GoodBox started with the aim of helping the charity sector connect with donors and fundraisers in the modern world. We’ve helped charities such as the National History Museum, Teenage Cancer Trust and Great Ormond Street Hospital join the digital age. We can help you too. To find out more about how we can help, get in touch today.