How can charities prosper now that fundraising has changed forever?

Whenever we used to speak to charities about cashless fundraising their stance was often the same; they’ve already invested in technology, but donor uptake has been mixed. With Covid-19 accelerating the move to both an online and cashless society, we’re now being asked to look at how change can be embraced in tough times.

When talking about cashless fundraising it can mean any form of donation that doesn’t require physical cash. In recent years this has mainly been driven by contactless card payment, but there are currently many other ways to donate — especially online. 

Contactless payment itself is now ubiquitous, yet the third sector has struggled with its implementation. For charities the location and design of a contactless point plays a greater role in engagement. For instance free, high-footfall public attractions like museums have found them to be a great tool. However, if you’ve already paid for something in a charity shop, you may be less inclined to tap again on a contactless donation box.

If we look at the psychology of cash vs cashless donation there are obvious differences that need to be overcome. Many people don’t even bother to count the loose change in their pocket when they donate. But a cashless donation is seen on-screen as a defined amount of money, making people think harder about the donation. 

Now that Covid-19’s hygiene restraints have made physical cash problematic, charities need to seize the opportunity to rethink how they are using technology. Here are some ways to make this happen.

Apply creative ideas

Some charities have found it hard to get the most out of technologies like contactless donation boxes. In order to drive engagement around anything new, charities need to apply creative thinking and decide how the technology fits into their wider campaigns. Ask yourself how can your charity do something new and unseen with this technology? 

We worked with the National Brain Appeal to embed contactless donation chips into posters around their hospital. When users tapped their smartphones on them they could donate and explore secret content, as part of a bigger campaign.

B+C National Brain Appeal contactless point

Reward your donors

Tapping on a box that beeps a thank-you tone is all well and good, but if you really want to entice donors then give them a special ‘thank you’ back in return. We were the first to deliver an instant video reward on a device, as a thank you to donors giving to Blue Cross for Pets. Cue the many ‘awwws’. 

What thank you will you give your donors? Depending on the technology and location the possibilities are endless. Inside a charity shop it could be as simple as a pin badge being given out to encourage more contactless donations. Or for a landmark location you could create something more ambitious, like the animated Oxford Street window we built for Topshop and Breast Cancer Now.

Bond and Coyne Topshop contactless window

Keep an eye on pre-built solutions

You don’t always need to spend money on equipment to embrace fundraising technology. Social platforms like Instagram and TikTok have made it easy to add a donation sticker to a fundraiser’s story, trying to follow in the success of Facebook’s popular birthday fundraising feature. 

The past few months have led to people spending a lot more time online. Find out how your audience is spending this time and explore the different ways fundraising can potentially plug into these platforms.

© Instagram 
Build physical and digital experiences

Lockdown has meant all kinds of mass events went from being entirely physical to entirely digital. This was a real period of experimentation and led to charities having to innovate. For example, we helped Ovarian Cancer Action to rapidly move their biggest annual event to an online format

Eventually mass events will come back in some form or another, but it’s important that we take the lessons learnt from lockdown and continue to make great digital experiences. As well as improving overall stewardship, this will allow charities to improve accessibility by tapping into support from a growing army of keyboard warriors; many of whom are unable to join a physical event. 

What does a design agency know about fundraising technology?

Bond and Coyne were early adopters of cashless fundraising technologies, helping charities to get the most out of them and even developing them along the way. There’s a lot to consider from the big creative idea, to messaging and technical know-how. 

Get a 30 min expert review

It’s still a tough time right now and it’s essential to understand what new approaches might be available to benefit your fundraising efforts. Our Campaign and Digital Director, Dan Ridge has years of experience building campaigns inside and outside of charities. 

Please complete the form below and we will be in touch.


Rob Watts


August 21, 2020