Contactless Donation Gives Reason for Optimism in the Cost of Giving Crisis

Helping non-profits deal with difficulties raising funds and adapting to cashless donations

Project features

26 June 2023

  • Contactless Donation
  • Digital Transformation
  • Charity
  • Cost of Giving

Non-Profits Struggle with Funding Drop and Cashless Donations

RNLI's modern donation box by Solder Creative

40% of non-profits are reporting a drop in funding in the last 12 months, according to a survey by industry publication Third Sector mag and Sage. Government, corporate and individual funding is all down, with consumers and corporations more cautious about spending than ever.

Against this backdrop, charities are struggling to differentiate their cause from hundreds that are in increasing need of funds. With everyday supporters carrying less and less cash, some of the most popular charities are seeing spare change donations plummet.

“Historically in community fundraising, a large percentage of income comes from donation boxes,” says Ben Black, National Donation Development Manager at RNLI. He says that most charity donations come from supporters loyal to a particular charity. “When someone has an affiliation with the RNLI, they tend to want to donate, and the easiest way for someone to donate is to put a pound in a pot.”

But increasing numbers of donors are no longer carrying cash, and those that are ready to donate by card, aren’t feeling that connection to the cause. This is especially crucial for unattended donation points, where maintaining that essential relationship with supporters is so much harder. Traditional contactless donation points are soulless and uninspiring. In response, Solder has created a range of donation-triggered technology that elevate the contactless donation to something truly meaningful.

Donation-Triggered Technology Enhances Engagement and Performance for Charities

“Our donation-triggered technology has three states,” says Victoria Burroughes, Senior Account Manager at creative technology studio, Solder Creative. “Idle mode, to attract passers-by, with an LED animation or a video. Plea mode, to shout about your cause and help supporters connect their donation to the great work your charity does. And a thank you mode after donation, so you can express your gratitude to supporters and maintain that relationship and affiliation with your charity.”

The video unit has replaced a donation plinth and is outperforming by 73%

Ben Black, National Donation Development Manager, RNLI

This is about making a transaction less transactional. Solder’s proximity and donation triggered boxes can prompt a far more immersive, emotive kind of engagement from the supporter than a faceless plinth. The idea was inspired by the RNLI’s reputation for engaging donation experiences, like their latest donation box, which launches a miniature lifeboat into a stormy sea after a donation.

“I’m all about creating things that create that immersive experience and bring the work of the RNLI to life to our supporters,” says Ben. “What we’ve needed to do is develop and create something enabling people to donate in the same way, with the same ease, but with their card. So we’re really hoping that this is not only going to increase our income, but plug that gap that we’re slowly losing as people obviously start using card instead of cash.”

The units have already proved hugely successful, says Ben. “The video unit has replaced a donation plinth and is outperforming by 73%. This year to date, two of our video units feature in their regions’ top 10 performing contactless units - and this includes handheld units.” And they’re affordable for ever more cash-strapped charities. A plug and play device can cost as little as £499.

“And it’s great, it’s really fulfilling seeing these things come to life,” says Ben. “That wouldn’t be possible without working with Solder.”

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