Charities warned: embrace new technology or miss out on donations

Claranet has warned that fewer people are carrying cash due to the rise of mobile devices, so charities must adapt and think ‘digital-first’ if they are to sustain their income streams.

| 13th Feb 15

Claranet has warned that fewer people are carrying cash due to the rise of mobile devices, so charities must adapt to this and think ‘digital-first’ if they are to sustain their income streams.

According to the latest figures from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) cash remains the most common method of charitable giving, used by 52% of donors in 2012/13, accounting for 15% of the total value of donations.

However, research suggests that the use of cash has declined by 14% in the last five years, so it is time for charities to look to new cashless methods to collect donations.

Claranet’s Managing Director, Michel Robert, said: “Cash remains the most common way that people donate to charities but with coins and notes gradually disappearing from our back pockets, potential donors will begin to expect to handle their donations digitally – in the same way as many of their other financial transactions. With not-for-profit organisations already facing a funding shortfall of around £1.7 billion a year , a failure to address the move away from cash could have grave consequences for the sector, creating a new imperative for charities to take a digital-first approach.”

“Apps, SMS and micropayments, and personal charity fundraising sites have made it easier than ever for charities to engage with their donors, campaigners and fundraisers in ways not previously possible. Used properly, technology can transform relations with activists and donors, allowing charities to provide regular streams of news and information, video footage and forum updates from networks of campaigners direct to the devices of the increasingly tech-savvy support base.

“There is no doubt that mobile engagement is becoming more strategically important, but making the move to digital poses a challenge to many in the sector. The primary area of development for charities will be to find new ways to integrate donations and payment mechanisms with fundraising content available on mobile devices.