March 16, 2021

Lockdown giving: Have contactless donations risen?

For the past year, some of our most ingrained habits and customs have changed in response to the pandemic.

Hands have gone unshaken, and the idea of a warm embrace for a family member almost entirely forgotten. As we’ve become accustomed to wearing face coverings and the regular application of hand sanitiser, one other custom, entrenched for millennia, has also fallen by the wayside. We may have been exchanging coins for goods since 600 BC, but Covid-19 has seen contactless payments skyrocket.

The growth of contactless payment

Of course, the simplicity of contactless payments meant that it already made up 21% of payments in the UK in 2019. But when Covid-19 forced us all to rethink the way we live, more people ditched cash in favour of debit, credit, and smartphone payments.

Across Europe, cash accounted for around 44 per cent of in-store payments before the pandemic. This fell by around 10 per cent within just a few weeks of the pandemic outbreak and as much as 50 per cent in the UK.

UK Finance, in fact, reported a new record for contactless payments last August just as the country was coming out of lockdown. Contactless made up 62 per cent of all debit card payments, and statistics from Mastercard show that 85 per cent of people believed it to be cleaner. Even the World Health Organisation recommended contactless payments to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

The change hasn’t just been significant, it has also been global, with contactless payments expected to triple by 2024, from the current $2 trillion to around $6 trillion. 

Changes for charities

While contactless payments are becoming more popular due to both the ease and hygiene benefits associated with them, some sectors that have traditionally depended on the public having change in their pockets have suffered.

Key sectors include charities and non-profits as well as religious organisations, which often rely on cash collections and the generosity of the public. A lack of cash donations isn’t necessarily down to a lack of willingness, but people simply not having cash on them at the time. 

However, the challenge has also created exciting opportunities for charities to move with the times and look to new ways to encourage the public to donate.

London’s Natural History Museum has placed tap-to-donate podiums in key locations and has managed to raise an additional £1million in funding. The Church of England has also turned to more technological methods, offering congregations contactless payments alongside traditional cash collections and has even created a contactless church collection plate. 

This new way of giving has become so popular that before the pandemic, the average return on investment per device was 340%, with 84% of organisations seeing their tech pay for itself within 12 months of instalment. As lockdown eases and in-person charity events recommence, these figures are set to rise even faster. 


A wealth of benefits

Charities and nonprofits enjoy endless benefits by making the switch to contactless giving. Purpose-built devices for donations can capture attention with attractive designs that stand out. These devices offer an even higher return on investment than the standard contactless devices, with an average ROI of 1,384 per cent.

These methods also make it easier to encourage ongoing donations. Simply add the option to the user transaction process, and people can easily sign up for a recurring monthly donation. When donating to charity is as simple as tapping to pay, people are much more likely to opt in.

And charities enjoy more benefits than an increase in donations alone. Contactless payment makes donations and donor behaviour easier to track and monitor. Nonprofits can use data like engagement and donation location to inform future marketing campaigns, benefiting even more from this method in the future. 

A gift that keeps on giving

The rapid growth of contactless payments may be a result of the pandemic, but it’s one that’s likely to continue into the future. Charities that invest in tap-to-give technology are future-proofing their fundraising efforts, and paving the way for a wider, more engaged donor base. 


GoodBox is here to serve the needs of charities. We make contactless ‘tap-to-donate’ technology that helps charities move away from a reliance on cash, and towards a more profitable, data-driven way of fundraising. So far, we’ve helped organisations like The Church of England and The National History Museum boost their donation revenue to fund their causes. If you’re interested in finding out more, please get in contact

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