Technology has made our lives too easy, to the point that we want instant gratification, and this has worn our patience very thin. Think about Amazon’s one day delivery service, saving us the time having to wait days for our shopping, or Netflix’s instant streaming on demand, which means trips to our local Blockbusters are no longer required – remember those?
With a resounding 99 per cent of 16-44 year olds in the UK using the internet, it’s surprising to see only a quarter of people donating online.
Are charities missing the opportunity to be disruptive?
It seems so. With more than half of UK charities not even having a digital strategy in place according to Fundraising UK. So how can those organisations that bear the responsibility in trying to make the world a better place make technology their sidekick?
An investment that is minimal – but worthwhile – for charities is to establish an online presence. This puts donors in charge of when and how much they donate and gives them the opportunity to be anonymous. There are plentiful options, you can have your own website, social media channels, or register your cause on fundraising platforms. Being online increases your visibility to a worldwide marketplace, and thus immeasurable potential to increase donations.
Whilst websites do appeal to part of the demographic, they are cumbersome to sign up to each time a person wants to donate and are generally more suited to use on computers rather than mobile.
Is open banking the future?
Going a step further is making use of smartphone applications, which can be used on the go and do the job in a just a couple of taps. We live in an app-driven society with almost 70 per cent of smartphone owners regularly using some sort of app. Apps can be used to empower people of any financial background with the ability to make regular donations to charities autonomously.
Charities should also begin to focus on models that enable small but regular donations. A great example of this is the Charitable Fund set up by Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL) who run a scheme for their staff that takes loose pennies off their payslip and donates it to charity. So, if somebody is paid £100.55, the 55p would be donated. It might not seem like much, but with a staff base of almost 7000, even if half the workforce donated 10p, which would be £350 going to charity per month, over £4000 a year. Such a model makes charity affordable to anyone, not only rich philanthropists.
This is exactly the type of system we should be working towards, and Pledjar is taking a leap in the right direction by creating a platform where the ability to give is assimilated with the lifestyle of today’s generation, specifically within their daily transactions.
An increasingly cashless society
Fewer Brits are carrying cash and coins in their pockets, and many when presented with a collection tin at a supermarket or train station, simply don’t have the cash to donate. As a result, charities are losing around £160m in donations.
With only about a quarter of charities accepting contactless donations, Pledjar is a smart phone app that uses the latest open banking technology to fill the void. The app is a centralised system that connects donors to their favourite charities, providing them with the option to round up their daily transactions and donate that spare change to a charity of their choice.
Pledjar represents convenience and automation, saving cash-strapped charities from spending money on technology, and encourages small and regular acts of kindness by reducing the effort required from donors and giving them ease of affordability.
People are innately geared to want to do good. It’s not a hard sell to get people to donate, and digital media is further increasing their motivation to do so by opening the eyes of many to the problems of the world. Fundraisers need not switch to online platforms overnight, yet, there needs to be a movement towards digital technologies with the obvious and apparent advantages it presents.
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