Thinking creatively about contactless fundraising

Many charities’ traditional revenue streams have been constricted or completely lost altogether due to the coronavirus outbreak.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. According to Charities Aid Foundation research, 26% of donors said they’re willing to donate more than usual. In fact, the intention to donate to both local and national charities is high. This is a real opportunity for charities to engage with supporters in new ways.

In 2020 many charities accelerated their digital transformation and embraced new technologies such as cashless fundraising, which has given them a head start in 2021. The good news is, it’s never too late to get started with cashless fundraising.

Here are some contactless ways charities can get creative this year to keep those all-important donations coming and potentially reach completely new audiences online.

INTERACTIVE CORPORATE ZOOM BACKGROUNDS. Brighten up your corporate Zoom with a virtual background featuring a unique QR (Quick Response matrix barcode), which is then displayed to all other meeting participants. This smart addition to your video calls will help generate the extra support you need from those you engage with. All a participant has to do is scan the QR code using their smartphone, triggering a simple and quick donation in seconds.

With millions of people now using video platforms like Zoom every day, an interactive background is a great way to ramp up donations.

ENGAGING SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS. 55% of people who engage with charities on social media end up taking some sort of action. At its core, fundraising is about building relationships with individuals or groups who want to give - so it’s no surprise that charities have pivoted their communications online, resulting in social media becoming an essential tool.

Higher conversions

Social media is a powerful way for charities to create eye-catching and engaging content using a variety of different channels to convey vital messages, reach a diverse audience, and raise muchneeded funds amid the pandemic. By using a mobile optimised contactless fundraising experience on social media, you can achieve higher conversions than a website link.

ONLINE AUCTIONS OR VIRTUAL ADOPTIONS. Online auctions are an exciting and fun way for charities to engage donors, raise money and boost awareness of your mission and profile. While online auctions require a lot of planning and foresight, they can prove to be one of the more lucrative charity fundraising events.

By allowing guests and donors to bid straight from their smartphones, you can drastically enhance engagement with your auction. Mobile bidding that's fast and easy opens up your auction to much wider audiences, grows your support base and is essential for engaging with supporters.

Similar ideas that generate additional and long term revenue streams, without event planning, are virtual adoptions. Charities such as the RAF Museum are engaging donors in new ways online with its Adopt an Artefact project accessible on their website. With a collection of more than 1.3 million items, donors are able to adopt a piece of history by making a quick and secure donation. It’s given donors the unique opportunity to be a part of the RAF’s story, whilst raising contact-free funds for the museum.

STAND OUT EMAIL SIGNATURES. Utilising email signatures is a trick not to go amiss. Using a QR code in the design will help you say more, without creating a busy signature. Align the email signatures with specific campaigns and messaging, and use a QR code to drive outcomes and track conversions. Interactive features can be a great way for you to showcase new videos and present a way to donate, at the same time.

Business card

Think of them as a business card where the recipient of your email will be able to find out exactly who you are, what you do, how they can contact you and how they can donate.

TAPPABLE MERCHANDISE. Something exciting for charities is they can now turn almost any piece of merchandise into a safe and secure cashless donation point using technology - and there is no need for a specific app to read the QR code either. Using inexpensive hardware, you can update your merchandise and collect cashless donations beyond the initial purchase.

By transforming your merchandise’s pulling power, donors can give a donation whilst they’re at home, whenever they feel like it. The quick and simple donor experience puts the supporter in complete control of how much they give, whether to add Gift Aid, and share contact details.

INTERACTIVE TRADITIONAL FLYERS THAT GIVE YOU DATA. Have a special event, new fundraising campaign or an exciting offer that your charity needs to boost awareness of? The good news is, traditional printed flyers can now engage donors better, drive higher conversions, and be made trackable.

Combining experiences

Target your offline audience with a well designed flyer and lead them with a well placed QR code to your online networking platforms. By combining traditional marketing with digital experiences, charities have the new opportunity to enhance the effectiveness of their messaging, increase donor engagement and collect unique data. All of which hasn’t been possible before.

This means that traditional marketing can continue, but in new and exciting ways. With smart QR codes, charities will be able to secure higher conversions and ROI. This is because readers will be able to act on their in-the-moment impulses, without having to open a computer (at this point you’ve lost their attention).

The data will enable you to better understand your offline marketing campaigns, as well as your individual audiences. The insights can be as granular as reflecting a location or the impact of an individual booklet - a game changer for traditional marketing.

FUN SELFIE CAMPAIGNS. By now, you’ve most likely been nominated to participate in a selfie fundraising campaign - in recent years, they have become the hallmark of a charity strategy and a great way for donors to show their support for a cause. From the #NoMakeUpSelfie to the #NoOrdinaryTash, there is an abundance of creativity for charities to have fun with, plus a selfie campaign boosts a charity's appeal to a younger audience.

FAMILY FUN COLLECTIVE TRAILS. Trails are a great way for families to get fit, have fun, and for the charity to raise funds! There are lots of different ways to achieve donations and engage donors using collective trails. For example, donation QR codes could be embedded with character designs. Scatter them across the local town for families to collect, similar to a digital loyalty stamp. These could be posters or window shop stickers.

A variety of QR codes could unlock maps, showcase a bespoke selfie, give clues and more. The list is endless. The all-important thing to remember is to encourage families to share their photos on social media to help boost awareness and create engagement.

VIRTUAL FUNDRAISING EVENTS. Virtual concerts, gala dinners, competitions or workshops. Whatever you want to do, virtual fundraising is a way for charities - large or small - to raise funds in a variety of ways whilst the lockdown measures continue in the UK.

There are so many benefits of doing virtual fundraising events: less overheads, stress, investment and volunteer resources, plus guests can dress up or dress down without the pressure. With virtual events, you’ve taken away friction for attendees, such as transport and distance. In turn, they’re a real opportunity to reach a far wider audience and potentially introduce your cause to new people.

ONLINE COFFEE MORNINGS. The Macmillan Coffee Morning is an annual event which started over 30 years ago and has seen more than 200,000 people participate. Hosting a coffee morning is now one of the most popular ways to raise money for charities. Even in a time of lockdown restrictions or social distancing measures, it is possible for charities to create a fun and memorable event - with cake!

Online group chat

How does a virtual coffee morning raise funds? Ask people to donate a fee in return for attending an online group chat and share a meaningful cuppa online. When lockdown restrictions allow, pop a “Scan to Donate” QR code on fundraising merchandise and cake-aways. Additionally, why not send donors a fundraising pack with QR code stickers. They can stick them wherever they like to collect funds, and the QR code will scan at-distance.

Why not encourage a walk with a QR sticker on a coffee flask, and take advantage of the safe exercise measures. The opportunities of a coffee morning are still there, if you approach it at fresh angles.

INNOVATIVE THANK YOU CARDS. One of the simplest ways to thank your donors and give them recognition for their generous donation or gift is to send a thank you card. Make them bespoke by including a QR code and hidden NFC sticker which recipients can tap on for an exclusive video showing appreciation and encouraging future support. (Near Field Communication enables short range interaction between compatible devices.)

If time and resource allow, ensure this thank you is made as personable as possible; for example, mentioning the donor’s name in the video. Analytics platforms will enable you to track and allocate funds, so that you can thank donors accurately.

DONATION STICKERS TO PUT ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE. Transform passive objects or locations into smart, connected experiences that are more engaging, rewarding and memorable with QR and NFC enabled stickers. Customers, staff, visitors or supporters can simply tap or scan them with a smartphone to access content, provide data, or make payments or donations (including Gift Aid) - the possibilities are endless.

Fundraising contactlessly is a real opportunity for charities right now and there are so many possibilities for it to be done successfully and within budget. The key is for charities to be open to innovation, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Pilots can be a great way to try new ideas and, in turn, make the investment best for achieving your fundraising goals. Good luck in your future fundraising!


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