As readers of my previous articles will know, I have many years’ experience working alongside charities under my belt. I’ve been helping charities take donations and accept payments on card since 2008, but here’s the thing: the landscape is ever-changing and one thing is for sure: competition for the charity pound is as fierce as ever.
In my opinion, those charities wishing to stay on top of charitable giving from the public need to consider the three Cs:
In a recent YouGov report on charity giving, convenience was cited as the number one reason for not donating – this was mentioned by just under half (48%) of participants. This makes sense to me, as it’s as true for charitable payments as it is for commercial: nobody is going to part with money if you make it difficult for them. Collecting personal details in the street or fishing around for £1 coins in a shop or fundraising event is inconvenient, and it’s out of touch with the way payments are increasingly heading, which is contactless.
Whether contactless cards, mobile payments, or even ‘wearables’ (such as rings, watches, and bracelets that allow consumers to make payments simply by tapping on a reader) contactless payments are here to stay. In fact, the UK Cards Association reported a rise of over 180% in contactless payments over the previous year in 2016.
The same report notes that 60% of people are worried about what happens to cash once they donate it to charity. Along with fears that it could end up lining the pocket of the charity’s higher-ups rather than helping the needy, many people worry about cash simply being stolen. I think this is interesting for two reasons: number one, offering the public the ability to donate by card can help here.
It’s much harder to commit card-fraud than simply pocket a fistful of cash, and card-payments have the added security of a clear paper-trail from the banks should it come to any type of investigation or security breach. Secondly, and likely for the same security reasons, many people just don’t carry much cash, and this is particularly true of younger donors, those aged 16-34. Whilst it’s true that older people are more likely to donate to charity statistically speaking, I can’t help but wonder if that’s because charities don’t appeal enough to their younger counterparts.
A recent CAF report states that younger donors are more likely than average to use online or phone donations, with around a fifth of donors aged under 45 giving online in the last year compared to only six per cent of those aged 65 and over. For those used to conducting their lives online and via technology, those who refuse to engage with technology for money matters can be off-putting, even suspicious, to younger generations.
I read a report recently that stated only 14% of charitable donations were given via debit card (and 3% on credit card). For me, this means there’s a vast untapped market out there for charities willing to make the technological leap. CRUK are a fantastic example of exactly how to swoop in on this market ahead of the competition. Their use of ‘smart benches’ in the London boroughs of Islington and Lewisham (benches that offer the chance to charge mobile devices, free WiFi, and the ability to donate £2 to CRUK on contactless) are cutting-edge, and they tap into a youth/technology market where there is little competition to fight off. It’s my opinion that, rather than competing in an already saturated market of direct debits and cash-based giving, charities would do well to think outside the box – and I think card payments (particularly contactless) are the way forward.
As owner of a payments company with a natural affinity towards the charity sector, I’m pleased to report all our terminals are already contactless enabled (be it via card, mobile, or wearables). I’d hate to think of any charity missing the boat on donations simply for lack of knowledge or resource – so know that I’m here to help if you need me.