“Tap to donate”—The rise of contactless charity


On the high street of Bath, United Kingdom, there’s a new poster asking for donations to end rough sleeping in the city (in the area of Bath and North East Somerset the number of rough sleepers has quadrupled since 2010).

But one can’t get away with the usual excuses (“sorry, I don’t have cash”) because the poster is a “smart window” accepting contactless payments. All you need to do is take out your bank card, tap it on the poster and you will have donated £ 3 to Julian House, a homeless charity that wants to eradicate rough sleeping in Bath. Wanna donate more than £ 3? Just tap again. It’s as easy as it gets.

The nifty initiative, which is installed at a local branch of British building society Nationwide, has raised £ 400 in its first week.

“A contactless point in the window of the branch has bridged the gap at a time when many people don’t have spare change or may not wish to hand it directly to someone who is homeless,” commented Nationwide branch manager Stephanie Pritchard.

As for how the money raised will be used, Julian House operations director Roanne Wootten says that “tapping could fund welcome packs [...] which include toiletries and sanitary products in crisis accommodation, new bedding and essentials when moving into supported housing, a birth certificate, a passport or a driving license.”

“Fundamentally it is about the person and what they need to help them to come off the streets — it will be different for everyone,” she added.

This is certainly not the first time that contactless technology is employed to raise donations. As highlighted by Charity Digital News, digital fundraising “hotspots” are on the rise in the United Kingdom.

Just to mention two examples, since September 2019, sellers of the Big Issue, a street newspaper, can join a scheme allowing them to accept contactless payments, while, already in December 2018, international charity Save the Children came up with the quirky idea of “contactless” Christmas jumpers which accepted donations “on the go”.

Credit header image: Pexels

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