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Change for charities

As the use of cash for everyday purchases diminishes, and the use of contactless cards and mobile pay tools become the norm, it is becoming clear that charities will need to adapt and move away from traditional fundraising techniques.

Interestingly, in their March 2018 report the Charities Aid Foundation also found that although the amount of money donated to charities in 2017 increased to £10.3b, the money received was actually donated by fewer people; with the majority of donations made as ‘one off gifts’ rather than ongoing weekly or monthly payments. This included donations given by cash, online, and text.

The report also found a decrease in:

  • The amount of people who provided sponsorship
  • The total funds for each sponsorship

Fresh ideas

Online tools such as Justgiving allow people to provide sponsorship in a safe manner without the use of any cash.

In Bristol, The Grand Appeal Arts Trail trialled the use of contactless donation points throughout their walks to allow people to donate funds when they had no cash available.

The contactless donation points allowed people to donate £2, £5 or £10 towards Bristol Children’s Hospital. Although this was a success for them, the installation of donation points will not be an appropriate tool for all charities (especially smaller ones).

However many charities, both large and small, have started to use online systems such as tapforchange which provide contactless card readers to charities to help them fundraise.

The card readers offer flexibility by allowing charities to use the readers at various locations and fundraising events such as on the streets, commercial and social events.

In 2017 Facebook launched an initiative which allowed people to fundraise for different charities on their birthday through a direct donation on their Facebook page instead of a card or birthday present.

This allowed charities to connect with people who might not usually have donated through the normal platforms. It also provided another platform for charities to spread information about their work without the need to spend money on marketing fees.

A word of warning

With all online tools, there is an administration fee deducted from each donation.

This means that charities will not receive the full amount which has been donated, in comparison to when cash was fundraised.

This begs the question as to whether this move away from the use of change will actually be more beneficial for charities, or whether they will lose out by incurring large fees from third parties to access the donated funds.


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Annie Beaumont

Trainee Solicitor
0113 227 9269
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Annie Beaumont Blacks Solicitors LLP