Contactless donations are rapidly gaining ground in the UK, but what does this mean for charities?

Contactless donations are rapidly gaining ground in the UK, but what does this mean for charities?

Institute of Fundraising | 3 July 2019

On the second day of Fundraising Convention 2019, fintech startup GoodBox launched a paper to help fundraisers navigate the payments landscape and make informed, evidence-based decisions for their fundraising strategies. We take a look at what the paper shows us about the future of contactless technology.

Advancing technology has played a key role at this year’s #IoFFC, with 15 sessions on the digital track of the Fundraising Convention programme and sector-wide recognition of the shift to digitise not only the way charities ask for funds, but how the public chooses to donate.

Alongside the launch of Rapidata’s Direct Debit Tracking Report, which reports that supporters are increasingly signing up to Direct Debits online, a white paper on contactless technology was launched at Convention yesterday by the tech for good company, GoodBox.

Contactless donations are rapidly gaining ground in the UK. Our own research shows that 70% of charities are reporting a decrease in the percentage of donations given in cash and 72% expect to use contactless payment systems in the near future, but that more than half (56%) are deterred by the cost of buying the necessary equipment.


Exploring the investment returns on contactless technology, the paper reports various levels of success. On a long-term basis, the returns were significantly higher for charities that purchased contactless devices through GoodBox than for those that rented them, however rentals were – as you might expect – more effective for shorter-term campaigns and events.

Among the 25 charities that purchased contactless devices, an average 340% return on investment (ROI) was recorded over the year, with 21 of those organisations (84%) recouping the cost of their investment. Those that rented devices from (based on 35 charities in the study) were lower at 212%, while purpose-built devices for museums and faith-based organisations, produced the best overall ROI at 1,384%. The report highlights that the museum sector is performing particularly well in relation to contactless technology.

It is estimated that the charities featured in the paper will have made a return on their investment of 2,485% within 5 years; the expected lifespan of a GoodBox device.

However, not all charities have experienced the same high returns or have actively used their devices throughout the period; a finding that GoodBox has also explored within the report.

Andrew O’Brien, Chief Executive of GoodBox, says: "GoodBox is founded on the belief that in order to prosper, charities must have equal access to cutting-edge technologies. However, for charities to put their trust in innovation, is it essential that we increase access to relevant data.

"This white paper provides ground-breaking and honest insight into the effectiveness of contactless fundraising. I hope that it will enable more charities to thrive in an increasingly cashless society, and to do so with confidence.

"This report is the first in a two-part series, which seeks to inform the sector about the different ways and success rates for charities using contactless payment devices. The next paper will examine the approaches taken by those most successful in their use of contactless devices, identifying replicable techniques."

Adam Bryan, Director of Partnerships and Innovation at the Institute of Fundraising, says: "I have no doubt that this paper will help to clear some of the confusion around contactless; helping fundraisers make more effective decisions and enabling them to address the rapidly evolving contactless landscape with greater confidence."

Digital copies of the white paper are available from



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