Categories: The Latest in Charity

Five Tips for Digital Fundraising

Guest blog from by William Makower, digital and fundraising evangelist at DONATE.

Recent figures from Payments UK illustrate the change in the UK’s payment habits with a 300% increase in contactless expenditure between 2014 and 2015 and a projected 900% increase up to 2025.

At the same time cash is predicted to drop from 25% of our purchases to 14%. Our survey with YouGov adds to this picture showing that 75% of us carry less than £30 and 60% of us carry less than £20.

Removing cash reduces the risk and cost of cash handling, average basket values are consistently higher online than offline, Gift Aid is easier to apply digitally and GDPR compliant data simpler to verify. All good reasons for celebrating a move to non-cash giving but charities will need to grab the opportunity now and then adapt their processes over the coming years to maximise such changing habits.

Below we identify five tips for successful non-cash fundraising.

1. Make it personal

Digital giving provides additional opportunities to identify specific causes that donors can give to (and careful legal wording avoids creating restricted funds). Donors consistently state that they would rather give to identified projects rather than the general charity coffers.

Learning: Choose a platform that allows you to create, and donors to select, a range of causes and campaigns to give to be that by text, web or contactless. See an example on our platform for Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew here.

2. Asking is the key

Again and again research and consultants point out that however developed the case for support, however impactful the need, donors are many times more likely to give if asked directly. Asking could be one-2-one for major donors or one-2-many from a stage, podium or rugby field but however it is done you can be sure that an audience will react positively to an emotional, personal ask. Relying on printed material, social media or emails never has the same impact. Time and again we have seen significant increases in immediate donations though when individuals make a personal appeal to an audience or gathering. At Sheffield Theatres the director asked the audience to give from the stage. Over three evenings 600 donations were made to support the refurbishment campaign.

Learning: Decide how, who and when a personal appeal should be made to your audience.

3. Donor data

Donor data is invaluable in building long term relationships and individual donations provide the key to gaining supporter data. Under incoming GDPR rules donors must make a positive choice to opt-in but we have found that donors are more likely to opt-in to ongoing communication when giving to a specific project that they care passionately about (relates back to Point 1, Making it Personal). We recommend careful attention is made to the wording of the post-gift thank-you and explaining the benefits of keeping the donor in touch as the campaign develops. Remember at all times to respect the donor data, do not share it (unless permission is sought) and always offer the donor the option to opt-out at any time.

DONATE was used to raise funds following a fire at an arts centre in south London.

Over three thousand donations were made over four days with 98% of the donors leaving contact details for the arts centre to communicate with over the coming months and years.

Learning: Donor data should be seen as the ongoing and long term goal of all fundraising. Provide reasons for the donor to stay in touch rather than a simple opt-in box.

4. Age is not a barrier

Whilst it is the 55+ age group that give most to charity, the 2016/7 data from the Institute of Fundraising shows that 22% of 25-44 year olds give monthly.

Equally don’t assume that those over 55+ are not using contactless. In the same way that the grandparent generation is comfortable using Skype to talk to their children and grandchildren overseas so too are 55+ adults using contactless. Indeed, the older generation adoption of contactless to make payments under £30 may well catch up as contactless is seen as a means to avoid being mugged and avoiding a recall of PIN numbers.

Our case studies consistently show a wide spread of donor profiles including 48% of those giving to the Richard III Leicester appeal being 55+

Learning: Avoid assumptions and personal beliefs and adopt an ‘all for all’ approach

5. Different channels; different advantages

Text giving provides a simpler, easily understood mechanic though has more transactional than emotive appeal. Text giving also has financial limits (£30/day) and collecting Gift Aid and opted-in data is tricky. Mobile-web giving has greater emotional appeal, no upper limit and greater Gift Aid and data completion rates but needs more consideration when communicating to donors. Contactless provides the easiest giving of all but Gift Aid and data are (so far) hard to attain.

For example, since DONATE’s launch in 2013, 47% of donations by volume have been made through the web channel but by value this grows to 95%. In other words, your donors are more generous if giving by mobile-web.

Learning: Think hard about the occasion, how an ask is best made and which giving channel provides the best option. Prioritise the main channel but also offer a full range of giving mechanisms to enable your supporters to give the way they prefer.

About the National Funding Scheme

The National Funding Scheme (NFS), operating under the DONATE brand, provides a range of free mobile fundraising tools for charitable organisations to maximise fundraising campaigns.

Launched in 2013, DONATE™ ( is a platform that allows the UK public to conveniently and effortlessly donate to charitable organisations and campaigns via SMS text, contactless or online. It is so simple to use that case studies show increases of 17x the amount raised. As a charity itself, all NFS’s costs are covered by the Government’s Gift Aid scheme. When no Gift Aid is available NFS charges 4.5% to cover transaction and administration costs.

Charities wishing to register with DONATE should go to… or for further information see for full terms and fees.


William Makower, Founder Trustee,, 020 3174 2276

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