Digital generosity

We are pleased to feature a guest blog from Card Industry Professionals and focus on digital generosity by taking a look at the shift to online and contactless donations

Card Industry Professionals are trusted providers of Card Payment facilities for UK based businesses. With a number of unique benefits, including No PCI Compliance Fees, No Authorisation Fees, No Minimum Monthly Service Charges and Next Day Payments coupled with experienced 24/7 365 customer support teams, more and more business owners are getting advice and guidance from the CIP Sales Professionals every day.


Digital generosity – a look at the shift to online and contactless donations

Regular giving based on the standing order and direct debit payment systems have long supported many charities and organisations as well as for normal business subscription and regular payment use.

From paper-based systems from the 1960s, moving to electronic exchange of data in processing new instructions through to complete set up via online instructions is now firmly embedded.

Similarly raising individual sponsorship historically meant long forms, collecting cheques and cash, queuing and paying in and similarly complex reconciliation for charities to process on receipt. This was transformed way before the pandemic by individual giving pages – processing individual donations directly linked to the charity avoiding all the associated manual processes and transforming the sponsorship process.

Thus, electronic donations are not a new phenomenon, but it is hard to miss the increasing prevalence of contactless and card-based online giving particularly given the need for a creative response to the pandemic which left many charities unable to raise funds through gathered events.

Pre-Covid, the collection plate or tin and physical collection of cash had perhaps been the more visible go to and easiestmethod for street collections or donations from those passing by or visitors with limited time to complete even relatively straightforward payment instructions.

This was changing prior to the pandemic but with passing trade effectively cut off and many now returning without cash in their pocket a sizeable shift towards digital platforms has been seen for the larger charities and it is perhaps time for a similar digital revolution for those smaller charities and organisations given the technology now available.

Although usage is growing, it is perhaps a largely untapped sector – a reminder recently in seeing carol singers collecting for their chosen charity with just a cash collection tin which excluded many of those passing by who would willingly have donated by card but were unable to do so as they were not carrying any cash. Much has been said in the press lately in ensuring that cash is accessible where it is needed but the reverse is true in ensuring that those wishing to pay by card are able to do so easily and effectively. This is particularly relevant for the younger generations widely reported to be more altruistic but also expecting that digital payment channels will be available for them.

For a charity or organisation of any size, this should mean having digital donations as part of their strategy. Excluding this could cap donations at a lower level and including it would simply switch on a source of new income – sorelyneeded at the present time.

The findings in the Northey Point blog https://northeypoint.com/2021/06/10/have-digital- options-even-replaced-the-petty-cash-tin/ could therefore also be true of the collecting tin. It perhaps hasn’t had the same dramatic effectbut there has certainly been an impact.

Many organisations have embraced digital communications for a number of years but have stopped short of usingthose means to generate income.

For example, many will have a website, they post on facebook, including often quite digitally technical videorecordings, Instagram and many other social media platforms.

All these could be used to include giving and yet in many cases this is just limited to legacy standing order forms andcash collection plates.

So what should or could be considered?

In many ways these are the same decisions as for a business. A restaurant or café for example would have a standalone website or facebook page simply to advertise their products. Those wishing to purchase would visit the premises. During the pandemic when this was not possible many sought to develop their websites to add click and collect or delivery services.

Integrated, simple to set up and cost-effective solutions link the order to the payment to the logistics of preparation and the kitchen. Full integration streamlines the accounting process removing the need to re-key information.

This was explored in the blog – . https://cardindustryprofessionals.co.uk/integrated- payment-systems-digital-solutions-where-size-no-longer-matters/ 

 Perhaps those in the charitable and community organisation sector could learn something from businesses – there is certainly a similar gap to be filled as regards payment solutions.

In the same way that a standalone website is converted into a shop window by integrating a payment system behind the site, a charity or organisation can do the same by including an opportunity to donate or give via their site or page.

One option is to add a QR code – at its most simple this would be a QR code to link to a giving or payments page. QR codes are not new – they were first invented in the 1990s but through smart phones and more recently to enable contactless exchange of information there has been a resurgence in their use.

For example, as a way to add contactless donations to street advertising the Air Ambulance week added this to their street advertising boards. They can also be used as stickers on collection buckets or in the window of charity shops so that even people who are in a hurry or not carrying cash can donate. The Salvation Army have included these on their donation buckets in recent years. The QR code will link to a payment page enabling donations to be made.

The QR code can then be used on all websites, on facebook and on leaflets and flyers to give another option fordonations.

A second is to link directly to a giving page – specialist giving or stewardship organisations can enable a charity or organisation to set up their own page and incorporate a link to this via their website or social media page. The link takes a donor to the giving page from where they can make their donation. This perhaps works best online as a direct link or “Donate” button.

In many ways this is simpler than a business – for a business to include a payment option this needs to link to an order and supply of goods or services. Donations are one way – all the organisation needs to do is to set up the link for a payment to be made. An acknowledgement or thank you, generated automatically is all that is required.

Of course, many also would raise funds by the sale of merchandise and for this the same considerations are needed with similar payment solutions. Assistance can be provided by professional advisors such as Card Industry Professionals who would be able to advise on the best solutions available. Many smaller organisations do not have access to technical advice and thus perhaps more importantly they can also assist through the set-up process.

For organisations historically reliant on those passing the availability of cost-effective contactless payment systems has led to an increase in sales. For example, the Big Issue Group reported a major increase in sales following a roll out of contactless payment systems. Initial results showed that the sellers offering contactless options sold up to 30%more magazines than those only accepting cash.

Similar findings are likely for those organisations who offer the opportunity of a digital giving option (which canalso include regular giving) as well as a collection plate. 

The ability to integrate systems and simplify accounting requirements will also be a welcome boost to most busy Treasurers and finance teams.


Card Industry Professionals are trusted providers of Card Payment facilities for UK based businesses. With a number of unique benefits, including No PCI Compliance Fees, No Authorisation Fees, No Minimum Monthly Service Charges and Next Day Payments coupled with our experienced 24/7 365 customer support teams, more and more business owners are getting advice and guidance from the CIP Sales Professionals every day.

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