How Nonprofits Can Get the Most Out of Contactless Fundraising Technology

How Nonprofits Can Get the Most Out of Contactless Fundraising Technology

Technology is undoubtedly one of the most exciting areas of growth for nonprofits and charities. Rather than simply shaking a plastic bucket, fundraisers have the tools at their disposal to engage donors and ensure the most returns on their initial investment. A fantastic example of these kinds of tools is contactless payment technology. While it’s taken a little while for the sector as a whole to catch up, more charities and nonprofits are realizing the potential of contactless technology. Here’s a practical guide on how to build a business case for contactless fundraising technology, and how to overcome challenges to make fundraising more engaging, effortless, and rewarding.

Beef up your case for contactless fundraising technology

Making big changes – especially tech-driven ones – is an exciting way to keep your charity’s operations moving and shaking. But it’s important to invest in the right tech at the right time. And, if you are interested in adding this new digital donation channel to your fundraising model, you need to make sure your organization’s decision-makers are as motivated and enthusiastic as you are. That means being able to solidly demonstrate how contactless payment technology will benefit your NPO. By understanding these benefits, you can build your case, engage your trustees, and future-proof your fundraising!

What makes contactless fundraising technology a no-brainer for NPOs?

Charities, like all organizations, are on a going on journey. However, there still may be some old-school stakeholders who are dragging their heels on organizational change. Since there often isn’t a lot of money to throw around, there can be an attitude of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” That’s why it’s so important to make a compelling business case for investing in new technology. So, if you feel your non-profit is ready to embrace contactless fundraising technology, here are some points on how it can give you an edge.

Consumers love it!

Since contactless payments were introduced in 2007, more and more consumers have been getting on board with this incredibly convenient technology. In 2020, it was estimated that 51% of Americans are now using some form of contactless payment. More often than not people want to donate, but they simply don’t have the spare change. Now they can with just a tap of their card.

Cashless is king

Charities and NPOs traditionally rely on a flow of small cash donations, but cash usage has been plummeting worldwide. We seen this more often, especially in the wake of COVID-19. In the UK, for example, cash accounted for just 17% of all payments in 2020. With less cash in our pockets and purses, 70% of charities are reporting a drop in cash donations. Contactless payment technology is a natural way forward, replacing the need for pocket change.

Contactless is safe, convenient, and easy for collectors

Using a contactless payments system makes door-to-door and community fundraising simpler and safer. This is because there’s no need to carry or sort change, and no need to physically take large amounts of cash to the bank. All a person needs to do is tell you how much they want to donate and then tap their card or smartphone. It can take just 15 seconds or less to complete the entire transaction! Let’s face it, it’s nicer to tap a quick donation than sifting through the usual detritus the average person collects in their pockets!

Contactless is clean

These days, we’re all washing our hands and sanitizing like it’s no one’s business. And, if you haven’t realized it yet, cash is about as gross as your toilet bowl. Contactless payment systems are an easy way to keep bacteria and viruses at bay because the user doesn’t have any physical contact with the device and no one other than the user needs to handle the card. 85% of consumers feel that this is much healthier and more sanitary than handling cash and using other payment techniques. In addition, the World Health Organization also promoted it as a way to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Secure, admin-free transactions

Contactless technology is very fast and secure – more so than traditional card payment methods. This is because there is a strong physical limitation on the machines that ensures they can only detect cards or virtual cards that are held close to the sensor. These terminals also use cutting-edge encryption to perform the transaction between the device and the bank. What this comes down to is that donations are processed quickly and safely while reflecting much faster on your records. This makes recording and tracking transactions much easier too. That way, you can keep abreast of donation trends and patterns without the excessive admin.

Pump up donation and subscription revenue

Charitable giving has taken a hard knock in recent years. A survey by CAF America found that nearly 68% of charitable organizations saw a decrease in funding. Bringing in secure, consumer-friendly channels for fundraising is a great way to offset this. You can even significantly increase revenue. Campaigns such as VISA’s ‘Tap to Give’ are trying to emanate the success of efforts in the UK, where contactless payments have long been the norm. For example, The Natural History Museum in London has raised over £1 million through the installation of contactless donation terminals.

Tackling the challenges of contactless fundraising

Although the benefits of this technology are impressive, digital transformation isn’t always easy. At the same time, making this investment is not as simple for NPOs as it is for businesses and corporations. Here are some of the challenges you may face and how to solve them.

Buying devices

While these fundraising devices are becoming more affordable, purchasing them outright can be out of reach for many NPOs, especially if you want enough to cater for events. To solve this, consider working with an organization that lets you affordably rent contactless fundraising devices. This is much more cost-effective and gives you the ability to easily scale up or down the number of devices as needed.

Donation transaction limits

The limits on contactless payments are entirely at the discretion of each bank. For instance, American Express sets a limit of $200 but this goes down to $100 for Visa, Mastercard and Discover. While this easily accommodates the average donation amount, donors will need alternative channels if they want to give larger amounts. When you are doing a big-ticket fundraising event like a silent auction or charity dinner, it’s better to have cheque or EFT facilities rather than contactless payment devices. We also recommend programming your devices with standard donation options. Using smaller options like $1, $5, and $10 can encourage people to donate more while staying within the limitation.

Capturing donor information

Contactless payments usually don’t involve the transmission of personal information. This is somewhat of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it could encourage donations from people who are tentative to have their data in the hands of an organization (even a charitable one). On the other hand, most charities thrive on repeated engagement and donations. Therefore, one of the risks of relying fully on contactless technology is that you may see an initial uplift that then peters out over time. For this reason, try to be discerning about when and where you use contactless technology. This means segmenting your approach to donor engagement. For some events, you can focus on raising money whereas for others you’re looking to expand your network of committed patrons.

Training staff and volunteers

A lot of people have a good idea of how these devices work. But that’s as a consumer – not as someone gathering donations. A staff training program is important because these terminals work a little different to regular card terminals. Staff need to know where to place the card. They also need to know how to identify when the transaction has been successful. And lastly, they should understand how to deal with basic error messages. Fortunately, they are simple to master, and your provider should be able to supply training information for you to upskill your team. This will minimize errors and ensure the safest, quickest service for donors, and a stress-free time for staff and volunteers.

Tech support

As with all tech, it’s only as good as the support the vendor offers. If you don’t want to spend hours listening to “your call is important to us” and canned music, you need a partner that has cutting-edge tech, not to mention great service. A solid provider will make sure you get tech support and training, supply you with high quality and user-friendly devices and keep your software updated. They should have a proven track record and specialize in working with NPOs, recognizing that your values, practices, and requirements are very different to a business, and providing customized service as a result.

Final thoughts on going contactless for fundraising

Ultimately, we’re living in a world that is becoming more and more digitized every day. For NPOs and charities, digital transformation gives you that all-important connection with donors, making them feel comfortable and secure. Contactless payments are surging worldwide because they are fast, convenient, and safe – and your organization can reap these rewards and increase revenue through this investment.



Jenna Mae Young

Jenna-Mae has spent over 5 years championing customers and advocating on their behalf. Now the head of the GoodBox Marketing Team, she is passionate about collaborating with GoodBox clients and turning them into fundraising superstars.

June 30, 2022

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