Tap-and-give: Charities Adopt Contactless

Now charities will be able to accept contactless donations on the street and in shops.

As we start to see contactless payments appearing for more and more uses, the charity sector has come up with one idea to both incorporate contactless payments and to help boost casual donations: contactless acceptance for donation tins.

The scheme, developed between members of the charity sector and acquirers, and facilitated by the UK Cards Association aims to revolutionise casual donations by allowing those, who have no change but still want to give, with the option to donate by using their contactless card on devices attached to the donation buckets or tins.

One of the first to sign on to the scheme was Cancer Research UK. The charity, which is the sixth biggest charity in the UK by total income according to the national regulator, the Charity Commission, launched its contactless collections systems across the UK on the 4th February, World Cancer Day.

“We launched it as part of our World Cancer Day fundraising campaign,” says Michael Docherty, director of digital and supporter experience at Cancer Research UK. “Supporters had the opportunity to donate £2 to the charity’s life-saving research to beat cancer sooner by simply tapping their contactless card on a specially designed reader, operated by our fundraising volunteers,” he added.

It marks a milestone in the digitisation of the sector and is a creative solution to a society that is, in many instances, fast becoming cashless, meaning fewer donations in stores and on the streets where volunteers regularly ask the public for donations and spare change.

“Cancer Research wants to be at the forefront of innovation in this space, to continue exploring new technology and trends that will help raise more money and continue to fund our life saving research,” says Docherty.

The charity is hoping that the new form of giving will increase steadily declining donations, and that it will encourage people to give in a way that is convenient for them.

“With the increasing use of contactless on the high street, along with the decline we’re seeing in cash usage, it seemed a natural next step.  We hope our supporters will be really excited and inspired by contactless donations,” explains Docherty.

According to Docherty though, the biggest challenge facing the scheme was not in applying the technology, but in creating awareness to the public that the option to use contactless was now in place for donations. He explained that, together with the UK Cards Association, Cancer Research UK is working with a number of other charities across the industry to ensure consistency and scale so as to help drive contactless donations throughout the sector.