How to make your charity 100% digital and cashless

It’s essential that charities make it easy for supporters to make cashless donations – from online fundraising platforms and donations buttons, to QR codes and tap-and-donate devices. Here are our tips to help smaller charities get started.

Just because someone is happy to throw change into a collection tin, that doesn’t mean they’ll be happy to tap and donate. So begin by working out what you actually need before you invest in any devices – and then go with the biggest opportunity first.

For example, it might not be worth investing in contactless tap devices for supermarket collections as they often involve a high volume of small donations. But you might get a greater return on investment using them at evening fundraisers when supporters are more likely to make larger donations. You can often hire devices on a monthly basis, which is a great way to trial them and see what makes economic sense for your charity.

Tap-and-donate devices come in all shapes and sizes. For smaller charities an inexpensive card reader might be enough to get started and there are plenty on the market. 

QR codes have experienced a comeback during the pandemic as they offer supporters a quick and easy way to donate, without getting their hands grubby. They’re versatile, in that you can use them on different campaign collateral such as advertising boards, charity shop windows, press ads or donation buckets.

And it’s easy to get started. SYNE offers free QR codes for charities and fundraising teams registered with them.

Offer a range of cashless options

They now use contactless devices to take card donations, have an online giving platform that can be easily customised by local fundraising groups, and an events platform for supporters to hold events – from small virtual coffee mornings through to carol services for thousands.

Get set up for small change donations

In the past, supporters have been able to chuck their spare change into collection buckets. But with fewer people carrying cash (and fewer collection tins during the pandemic), Pledjar has developed a micro-donations fundraising app.

The app automatically rounds up pennies from everyday purchases to the nearest pound and lets users choose which charity they want to choose. For charities, it has no registration or monthly platform fees but charges a 10% transaction fee to process donations.

Invest in text to donate

While it’s been around for a while, text to donate is still surprisingly popular. Between March and July 2020, more than 2,000 charities raised a total of £2 million through Donr’s text giving platform.

Using Donr, charities can receive regular or one-off donations. There are no fixed fees, but a charge of 5% per donation (with a maximum donation of £20 per text). Other providers to try include Donate andinstaGiv.

Choose a platform that works for you 

There’s a lot of choice when it comes to online fundraising platforms with mainstays being SYNE. SYNE supports smaller charities to look further afield, to the likes of local contributions and giving which allows charities to receive one-off and repeat donations, run crowdfunding campaigns, and raise funds for projects.

A $99 annual membership fee also gives members the opportunity to apply for grants, and offers free training and fundraising support from experts – a particular bonus if your charity is making its first venture into cashless giving.

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