How can we take technology
-enabled giving to a new level? 4˚
0.3pt 0.3pt 0
Andy Hamflett, Sarah Hughes, Joe Saxton & Sally Yorke
90mm 60mm 30
Contents > Foreword
Steve Moore, Chief Executive
The Big Society Network
Web-based and mobile technologies have already begun to offer a taste
of their potentially transformative impact on giving and donor behaviour.
We believe that the next two decades will see an opening up of philanthropy
– enabled by networks, informed by data, and motivated by the values of
sharing and open participation.
It is clear that donors are increasingly migrating online and mobile phones
and the web have proven successful in allowing donors to respond rapidly
to calls for giving. The next generation of young people is driving the future
of charitable donations through this increasing emphasis on technology.
New online tools are offering people the ability to mobilise their social
networks around peer-to-peer portfolio lending and other forms of
contribution. A key element of our programme of research and action
will be to find alternatives that tap the power of networks not only to
bring in money, but also to power community.
Please join us in discussing and shaping all of these possibilities.
We would like to thank everyone who has contributed
to this report (a list of contributors can be found at the
end of the report).
We are also grateful to Nominet Trust and Nesta for
funding this research, and to the Spring Giving Advisory
Board for their strategic support.
Many thanks also go to Steve Bridger for his assistance
and energy in helping to shape and create the Spring
Contents > Authors & Funders
Andy Hamflett Nesta
Andy is Programme Director for Spring Giving. He has Nesta is the UK’s innovation foundation. We help people
worked in the political and community empowerment and organisations bring great ideas to life. We do this
field for over 15 years, both in the public and voluntary by providing investments and grants and mobilising
sectors. Andy has spoken regularly to the media and research, networks and skills.
at conferences on a range of democracy and policy
We are an independent charity and our work is enabled
issues, and has provided written and verbal evidence
by an endowment from the National Lottery.
to Parliamentary Select Committees on related matters.
Nesta Operating Company is a registered charity in
England and Wales with a company number 7706036
and charity number 1144091. Registered as a charity
Sarah Hughes in Scotland number SC042833. Registered office:
1 Plough Place, London, EC4A 1DE
Sarah is an independent charity consultant specialising www.nesta.org.uk
in digital media. Primarily a strategic or big picture
planner, she has worked on integrated digital strategies,
campaign plans, online branding reviews, performance
audits and new digital product developments for a wide Nominet Trust
range of charities. Her experience spans 15 years, and
began from a unique vantage point at CAF (Charities
Aid Foundation). She takes a special interest in market Digital technology enables us all to think radically
analysis, forward-looking research, and in working differently, to stimulate new forms of collaboration and
alongside organisations whose aim is to raise the digital to mobilise new communities of interest to take action
bar for all charities with more than just pep or pillow for social good. It offers us phenomenal opportunities to
talk. You can find out more about Sarah on LinkedIn inspire the creativity and compassion of millions of users
(linkedin.com/in/charity21), read her occasional blog in addressing social needs.
(www.charity21.co.uk) or follow her on Twitter (@snare21) Nominet Trust is a UK-based social investor, which
advocates the imaginative use of digital technologies
to improve lives and communities. Since its inception in
September 2008, Nominet Trust has invested in hundreds
of projects, providing business support as well as financial
Joe Saxton investment, seeking to make a positive difference to the
lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people.
Joe is driver of ideas at nfpSynergy and founder. Joe
All of our social investments are informed by research
works on a range of specific projects particularly those
into current thinking and best practice. These investments
looking at impact, communications or trusteeship. He
are, in turn, evaluated to identify good practice. This
also works on the overall direction and development of
good practice also feeds into further research on how to
nfpSynergy. Joe has co-authored reports on volunteering,
advance digital technologies as tools that mobilise positive
mission & visions, branding and socio-economic change.
social change, which subsequently informs new investments.
He was chair of the Institute of Fundraising till July 2008.
He is currently chair of the student environment and To find out more about our work or how you can apply
development campaign group People & Planet. He is also for funding, please visit: www.nominettrust.org.uk
chair of the CharityComms, the professional body for not
for profit communicators.
About Spring 05
Introduction and Executive Summary 07
The messages from interviews with experts 10
Insight 01: What are the current successes in technology-enabled giving? 11
Insight 02: What are the barriers to giving? 15
Insight 03: Opportunities for investment and development 21
Insight 04: Infrastructure opportunities 25
What are the best organisations doing to boost technology-enabled giving? 30
Strategy 01: Sort out the engagement funnel 31
Strategy 02: Take the charity to the supporter and make the supporter do the work 32
Strategy 03: Never forget the fundamentals of fundraising 33
Strategy 04: Throw away the silos of team and time to achieve success 34
Strategy 05: ‘Every little helps’ in raising more through technology 35
Strategy 06: Stand aside and let your beneficiaries do the talking 35
Strategy 07: Create a drizzle of new media fundraising opportunities 36
Strategy 08: The smartphone is really a supertanker 37
Is there a model of how charities can increase technology-enabled giving? 40
Model 01: For the individual to give 41
Model 02: For the organisation to get people giving 43
Ideas for further development 46
Area 01: Mechanism-centred solutions 47
Area 02: Knowledge-centred solutions 48
Area 03: Innovation-centred solutions 49
Appendices and further details 53
Contents > About Spring
Contents > About Spring
The Spring Giving
programme – an initiative
of the Big Society Network –
aims to realise the potential
of technology to enable
people to make smarter
choices in giving their time
Providing a focal point for research, development
and thought leadership in this area the programme
aims to collate and learn from the approaches already
active and exploring the opportunities for innovation.
The programme also aims to provide support
and guidance to budding social entrepreneurs and
to charities. The work of Spring aims to generate
informed new ideas about how to increase levels
of giving, incubate the best ideas and to develop
ideas further to assist their implementation.
For more information about the Spring Giving
programme, contact email@example.com
Contents > Introduction and Executive Summary
The digital landscape is once again rapidly changing, presenting fresh challenges
for everyone serious about exploiting it. For charities, the challenges are particularly
stark; for whilst the large majority of charities endeavour to get a healthy return from
their existing efforts (which for many means their websites and emails) the whole
experience of digital consumption and digital transactions is changing. The very
nature of digital engagement has transformed, and giving is all about engagement.
In what seems like a skip and a hop (albeit some 15 years) field, it has turned out to be a demanding one when it
we’ve moved from website to web presence into online comes to resources.
conversations. We’re almost always ‘always on’. We’re
The giving of non-money donations is newer, and probably
multi-channel and we’re a lot more discerning about what
much better suited to today’s emerging digital and consumer
we consume and who influences us. As consumers,
trends. By its open, collaborative and often intrinsically
we have jumped into the driving seat. The gear shift
social nature, it lends itself well to modern technology. Such
for charities is large.
platforms are likely to mature much faster, but equally need
This research focused on technology-enabled giving – the capacity to scale and adapt right from their inception.
of time, money or anything else – and its barriers and They will not survive by being laggards in the social media
opportunities, aims to ascertain what might create a sphere, so early and sustained investment is crucial.
seismic shift in the future, and to shape the future focus
But perhaps we are expecting too much of technology-
and activity of the Spring Giving programme itself.
enabled giving? Charities must first want and then work
We interviewed a range of stakeholders – from charity hard to have their digital efforts produce healthy returns,
fundraisers to tech innovators working on their own start- but need they despair if digital isn’t their dominant channel
up products in this area to third sector specialists and of support? After all, e-commerce is only 12% of total
commentators. In this report we have also complemented retail sales in the UK 1, indicating that consumers aren’t yet
their insights with case studies from individuals who have ready to be completely welded to their computers (though
successfully developed their own approaches to tech- we can’t be so sure about their mobile phones). We still
enabled giving and are thus able to share their experiences don’t work in paperless offices or live in digitally enhanced
of going through that journey. homes where our fridges organise our weekly shopping.
As but one of the touch points with charity and community
During this process, one thing quickly became clear: giving
at our disposal, we should want technology to be efficient,
money is by far the most mature mechanism and those
effective and enjoyable, perhaps indispensable, but not to
who have succeeded in it have not done so purely by luck,
the detriment of everything else...
for serious amounts of financial backing, forward planning,
market awareness and technical prowess have been vital.
So though we thought the internet was a level playing 1
Centre for Retail Research data
Contents > Introduction and Executive Summary
Summary of interview findings
Critical Success Factors Opportunities for investment
— Giving products and services must first be built upon a — A shared charity ‘social’ database, rich in content
financially viable business model and organisation structure, be and community interaction.
able to gain traction in their market and scale their operations.
— A giving marketplace and brokerage service for charities
— Technology must do more than enable; it must enhance helping them identify ‘best fit’ and ‘best of breed’ solutions.
and add to the giving experience.
— More ‘hands on’ field training and support for charities.
— Raising public awareness is vital; it cannot be delegated
— Open technology standards to allow more innovation
to charities alone and must be sustained over the long term.
and competition in products and services being developed.
Barriers to overcome Issues and Gaps
— Charities still lag behind in technology skills. — Respondents felt there were no significant gaps in the
technology itself & no shortage of good ideas or new ideas
— Gross lack of senior strategic ownership and direction
(see later for examples).
for technology within charities. Further down the line,
shortage of know-how and resources. — The real gap is in exploitation or implementation i.e.
things not being maximised or being poorly implemented
— Lack of industry collaboration on infrastructure
systems & standards (from Gift Aid to charity validation
to bank verification).
Some key conclusions
— It’s Early Days. We must remember that technology- — Profit is perfectly good. Commercial or ‘for profit’
enabled giving is not a fully mature market yet; these are should not be dirty words when it comes to philanthropy.
still early days for charities. Charities should not prioritise ‘low or no charges’ over
finding and using the best service for the best result.
— Low/No Friction. Some of the best technology models
for giving go with the grain of daily life or reduce the ‘friction’ — Multi-integrated! Technology is but one touch-point;
of giving, whatever its form. Giving can happen because it is messages and response mechanisms need to be multi-
so easy to do as much as because it is so compelling to do. channel, and integrated, as well as cyclical or sustained.
Good things come to those who aren’t rushing it!
— Making the most of it. There is huge untapped potential
in the technology we already have but charities desperately — Social currency. The giving economy will become
need support or further encouragement to use it. This ranges more and more linked to the growth of the social economy,
from help in navigating a crowded market, how to convince or as one respondent put it: ‘we need to change giving into
others of the potential of innovation in this field, and being nation-building’.
led to successful case studies to help innovate.
— Go with the flow. Consumer, and more specifically,
— Message not method. The future of technology-enabled donor-led research is the best route to understanding what
giving is tied to a) demonstrating impact and b) enrichment, pleases and displeases supporters when it comes to using
rather than to tools. In this regard, charities should be allowed technology to engage with charities. Current consumer
to focus on creating the content and messages to engage trends cannot be ignored if charities want to catapult their
and motivate donors while service providers should develop giving forwards.
the best tools in a market of competition and innovation.
Contents > Section 01
Contents > Section 01
We interviewed a spectrum of people during the
research process. These included experts in digital giving
from intermediaries and sector bodies, from suppliers
and start-ups, and from the fundraising community.
A list of contributors can be found in the appendices.
Contributors were asked a number of questions: what
are the current successes in technology-enabled giving
and what are the barriers, what opportunities are there,
what infrastructure developments do they think would
develop giving, and lastly we asked them what they
would do if they could wave a magic wand.
Contents > Section 01
What are the current
successes in technology
Our contributors took three distinct approaches to answering this question:
what services are successful in the UK, what services are successful in
other countries and what are the hallmarks of successful services overall?
What are the successful services in the UK?
JustGiving was repeatedly mentioned as an example of Many contributors pointed to the fact that charities were
success for reasons of scale, profitability, and user experience. paying much more attention to the growing market building
As much as everything it was the scale, the number of users around online retail. MissionFish/eBay for Charity was
that made JustGiving stand out. As one contributor said: particularly noted for its scale and for ‘asking’ people at the
‘JustGiving has scale and an excellent user experience, check out. The fact that charity listings on eBay are already
and event sponsorship lends itself well to online because noted as selling for more, coupled with the opportunity to add
it is a social activity’. Contributors were agreed it was the a small donation to your purchase on payment mean eBay for
sustained level of sizeable financial investment in JustGiving Charity can really raise the stakes with retail giving. Over £5
and the commercial model it is predicated upon that give it million in checkout donations has already been raised.
core advantages. They have a pan-charity multi-million pound
Finally, mobile giving was generally seen to be on the
donor view to boot, and are entirely driven by the market.
rise. ‘Mobile has huge potential – it makes giving easy
As well as JustGiving, people mentioned the Charity and could get even easier. You can catch people in the
Technology Trust‘s online lotteries with a quarter of a million moment,’ is the way one contributor put it. In particular, the
players, and Cancer Research UK’s ‘MyProjects’, which has potential of the mobile to work with Direct Response TV
engaged supporters with a new model of giving driven by was seen to be key, as well as with emerging technologies
donor choice. The Pennies Foundation with its ‘spare change’ such as Near Field Communications [where a mobile can
model of micro donations was also seen to have considerable be held near to a source of information to receive data]
potential even if it has not yet reached maturity. and cashless payments. And note the growing number
of charities producing their own mobile apps, as listed
While not a service as such, the recent DEC East African
in our Appendices.
humanitarian appeal was highlighted as being a real step
forward: ‘Being able to give by text and Gift Aid by text
made it so much easier’.
Contents > Section 01: Insight 01
Case Study 01: Give Change Make Change
With so many contributors pointing to the need to tap into the inexorable rise of online
shopping, Denise Bailey, the Innovation Give Change Make Change Partnerships
Manager at Cancer Research UK, explains the thinking behind this new collaboration
between four of the UK’s major charities:
‘I’m currently working in the Innovation team of Cancer range from 1p to £4.99). The retailer just tells us how much
Research UK on a project called “Give Change Make Change”. they have collected and when agreed, we take it by direct
We realised that with annual spending of around £60 billion debit and distribute it to the charity partners via a third party.
online, we had to create a way to capture some of this market.
‘We have a legal agreement with the retailer as they are
‘Give Change Make Change is the virtual collection tin for holding money on our behalf and work out how and where
shoppers to round-up their purchases online and in-store to we will tell their customers that they are hosting Give
the nearest £1 (or £5) at the point of sale and donate their Change Make Change.
‘change’ to charity.
‘It’s not been easy. I don’t envisage things picking up very
‘There are many mould-breaking aspects to the scheme. quickly on the retail. That said, we’ve had some promising
Four of the UK’s best loved charities, British Red Cross, Great conversations with the technology companies that supply
Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, WWF and Cancer the platforms for the retailers. If they build the functionality
Research UK are working in consortium to take it to market. into their offer then all the retailer has to do is switch it on.
‘Consumers’ spending habits have changed which means ‘Why would retailers switch it on? In our research
charities have to adapt their fundraising accordingly. If before launch…
money is being spent online, that is another place for
— 40% believe rounding up would make them
us to have a presence.
feel better about spending their money
‘The technology behind Give Change Make Change is some — 28% would be more likely to shop at a retailer
code for an algorithm that triggers the round-up calculation that offers Give Change Make Change
after subtotal, discounts and p&p. The customer selects the
— 16% would spend more money with that retailer
tick box and the donation is added to their bill automatically
and then they proceed to pay as normal. ‘The Give Change charities have over 5 million supporters
that we can email. Together we have 94% brand recognition,
‘For the retailer they need to drop the code into their check-
13 online and 10 offline newsletters, seven Facebook groups
out on and/or offline, give the donation a reference number
and five Twitter feeds. We are multi-channel ourselves.
or SKU (stock keeping unit) with a zero rate of VAT (as it’s a
We are trusted, loved and well known, so why not?’
donation) and with a variable price (because the donation could
What services are successful elsewhere?
Twestival has raised $1 million but there is a different Social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are being
culture to giving in the US. In the UK citizens are more likely keenly watched as fundraising communication platforms
to want a close connection whereas US citizens are more in the US, where, according to Network for Good, 40% of
familiar with distant brand and cause relationships. In the people feel they can get the word out about a social issue
US, DonorsChoose, GlobalGiving and Crowdrise – each or cause 2. In the UK charities seem to feel cooler about its
facilitating and celebrating donor choice and recognition, potential to generate a cost-effective return on investment.
increasingly seen as an important factor in technology-
It is perhaps as interesting to note what isn’t mentioned as
enabled giving – were highlighted as strong successes, and
often. Most of the services mentioned are about the giving
Visa Giving was referenced several times for its magnitude.
of money, and not of time or resources (strangely perhaps,
Kiva was also repeatedly mentioned as a success (see Freecycle wasn’t cited). This perhaps highlights the visibility
case study 06) because, in the words of one contributor, issues this part of the giving sector is faced with.
it, ‘has made a virtue of transparency, which is not always
the strong suit of nonprofits’. 2
Contents > Section 01: Insight 01
What are the hallmarks of successful services?
One contributor told us that, ‘success comes when technology — Technology allows supporters to be the first circle of
creates something that is truly enhanced digitally, when it influence; they become the charity’s marketers. A high
adds. In giving terms that means no distancing or disconnect number of online donors tell their social networks. Tech
with the ask / cause’. Others also analysed what aspects of is supporting a new generation or type of donor.
technology-enabled giving made it successful:
One contributor summarised this last point as follows:
— The immediacy of response was seen as a key ingredient ‘E-commerce and media consumption show the growth
(as with any kind of fundraising). of social recommendations as a positive and upward
— The shifting of successful offline models to online (eg consumer trend. As commercial trust has declined, so
event sponsorship which works especially well because it personal networks have ascended. Trust is activated by
is peer to peer). technology à la Amazon.’
— Leading on from that, peer to peer fundraising generally Most of our contributors focused on giving money, but
lends itself well to tech because of the immediate benefits - some did appreciate that it was not just about money,
empowerment of supporters, quick thanking and banking, one saying: ‘Charitable organisations struggle to tell people
shortening time of receipts to charities. We shouldn’t forget what it is that they can do to help them in volunteering
these ‘benefits’ of technology-enabled giving. terms, and also misuse available skills to a large extent’.
Contents > Section 01: Insight 01
“ Technology allows
supporters to be the
first circle of influence;
they become the
Contents > Section 01
What are the
barriers to giving?
Throughout the research process, we were struck in equal measure by
contributors evangelising the huge and transformative potential of tech-enabled
giving, and the dismay shared by many at the speed of progress in this area.
While some contributors could not pinpoint why the uptake of technology was
so slow in this area, a strong set of key barriers did emerge over the course of
the interviews. We present these here before considering potential ways around
them later in the report.
Barrier 1: Lack of digital fundraising strategy and energy
At the top of the list of barriers our contributors discussed needing and expecting charities to market their technology
is the variable quality of charities’ commitment to digital solution to existing supporters, and charities needing to
fundraising and the strategies and skills that underpin it. attract new eyeballs to their cause. Add to that a lack of
integrated and cross-channel market tactics and ‘new tech’
A combination of a lack of tech-competent charity staff,
is often expected to work miracles on its own.
joined-up thinking across the organisation and a dearth
of planning were cited on the charities’ side, but coupled In addition, suppliers who are over-reliant on charities
with that was the sympathetic view that charities can be to promote for them often create tensions over who owns
confused or immobilised when faced not only with lots donor relationships. The result is that supporter communication
of different digital giving mechanisms but multiple providers and nurturing can be thin on the ground. So charities need
of the same type of service. A lack of knowledge about training and/or guidance on how to appraise opportunities
what is working well and who does it best makes planning, and choose who the most suitable partners are, so that
if it is going to happen, that much more difficult. One global they can take a proactive and long-term view.
study found that less than 20% of charities have a digital
Another contributor added a simple note about the lack of
fundraising strategy 3.
technology planning in charities, saying: ‘If they only knew
As one contributor described it: ‘Me too-ism (overlap and how much it costs to process a cheque compared with
overload) makes it difficult for charities and possibly donors receiving a gift online they might be more easily converted’.
to decide who to use.’ An aligned problem to this was
Overall a high proportion of contributors felt that the biggest
described by another interviewee – namely that the notion
barrier is the failure to use the tech charities already have in
of, ‘Build it and they will come’ is a big fallacy in charity
a strategic and integrated way.
tech. They pointed out that while many build, few focus
sufficient energy on attracting users and gaining critical
mass. There is a difficult trade-off between companies 3
Blackbaud State of the Non Profit Industry UK 2010
Contents > Section 01: Insight 02
Case Study 02: From face-to-face to mobile
With many contributors lamenting the lack of strategic will and energy to engage properly
with the opportunities new technologies provide, Jonathon Grapsas walks through the
thought processes and development stages of using technology to develop new ways of
extending the relationship with donors and potential donors – as seen in a new innovation
by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance in Australia.
‘The average age of F2F [Face-to-Face – on the street] ‘When they’re on the bus on the way home they can
recruits is usually late 20’s, early 30’s (although this varied by check out stories, or listen to podcasts, or read about how
country). They’re one of the most smartphone active groups. respite care can literally change a life or share with their
friends some big ticket advocacy work happening right
‘Most F2F donors are on the phone (or pretending they are)
now to improve the rights of those living with disability.
prior to being approached. Which means they’re “on the go”,
Again, all on that smart little device that fits in their pocket.
as in mobile. Not sitting still. And let’s face it: a mobile device
makes it really easy these days to share content. Great ‘Rich in content: Forget about dull updates with photos
content. At your fingertips. So why therefore are we stuck in of CEOs holding a big cheque. At the heart of every
the mid 90’s when it comes to our attitude toward caring for piece of content developed is a real story. Stories about
donors recruited on the street? the people living with cerebral palsy, stories about their
families, and the really small things that make such a
‘We know they’re young, transient and mobile savvy, yet we
difference. Told mostly through video. Short summaries,
continue to send them long letters and boring newsletters
laced with magic moments. Ensuring the donor is the
which are all about us. Not them. Square peg, round hole.
hero. Relating every success, accomplishment and smiling
‘Fed up with the norm and even more sick of accepting face back to you: the donor. All with one simple message
skyrocketing attrition rates, the team at the Cerebral Palsy at the core: thank you for making this happen.
Alliance decided it was time to flip things on their head.
‘Two way: This programme was created for donors,
And so we’ve been developing a new way to look after the
not for us. To stay true to that we create opportunities
wonderful folks who sign up on the street to support people
for deeper involvement. Supporters are asked to share
and their families living with cerebral palsy. The four things
their views on issues around disability and give honest
we had in mind when we kicked off were that the programme
feedback as to whether they feel the organisation is
needed to be: Easy, Mobile, Rich in content, and Two way.
delivering real results. They’re asked to stamp their feet
‘Easy: One of the biggest challenges (excuses) I hear to empower social change, and they’re regularly kept
about the lack of a well thought through communications abreast of other ways they can do more than give their
plan for F2F donors is: “we don’t have the time/resources bank details for a monthly debit.
to develop it”. We get it, but we just can’t do it. So my team
‘This approach isn’t perfect, but as well as constantly
and I worked with them to develop all of the content, but the
evolving, it goes a long way to providing the ‘peace of
physical distribution is, in essence, automated. Donor comes
mind’ that donors crave. The technology isn’t overly
on file, data loaded into the platform we built, and presto.
complicated, but the logic is sound and the stories real.
A full year’s worth of rich, local, relevant and regular content
All designed to ensure the lifeblood of the organisation,
is coming your way.
our donors, know exactly how damned important they are.’
‘The hard work is the repetition and (lack of) automation.
We solved that by building an online platform that “spits out”
all of the communications in a programmatic way. It’s so
easy it seems too good to be true. Problem one solved.
‘Mobile: When we mapped out how we wanted to share
stuff, front of mind was that every single piece of content
had to be viewable as a minimum on someone’s smartphone.
And that’s what we’ve done. Regular givers will receive
emails, text messages, videos, podcasts, surveys and
updated all through that clever little device that most of them
were using when approached by the canvasser on the street.
Contents > Section 01: Insight 02
Barrier 2: Charities are risk Barrier 3: Lack of co-ordination
averse and culturally hesitant and infrastructure
‘Charities are risk averse, don’t understand enough about Contributors saw a number of areas where
how donors want digital to work and don’t know where they believed the barriers were external to charities:
the return on investment is. Donors are moving faster than
— Bureaucracy at banks to validate charity bank accounts.
charities and charitable giving is three years or more behind
the high street,’ is how one of our contributors summed up — Gift Aid bureaucracy – it can take 8-12 weeks
the cultural challenges that charities face. In the same vein to get a client up and running.
another added that, ‘in small local charities, it’s the degree
— Lack of collaborative investment in technology
of techno-scepticism especially among trustees of small
charities’, and another said: ‘There is a cultural tendency
to look down on profit-making when it comes to charitable — No independent central repository to share
initiatives – this is wrong; it deters innovation’. technology best practice.
Another contributor agreed that: ‘A lot of it is about — The lack of broadband is still a sector-wide issue.
changing behaviour. Giving has been there as a part — Payment infrastructure not always being
of the human DNA for a long time, but there has been able to cope with / maximise global donations.
a dissonance with tech and giving. This is to do with
how we think about charities in a very traditional way’. Other contributors talked about the tussles over which
department owns IT and digital development. The issues of
Put another way: ‘Adoption is also slow with new technologies infrastructure are dealt with in more detail in later sections.
in the third sector as in my experience charities are more
conservative and protective about their brands than even
As an example, while many pointed to the potential of
giving through mobile phones, its relative lack of growth
did, they think, point to lack of drive from charities. One
Barrier 4: Lack of budget
said: ‘Charities are typically slow to invest in new technology
because they are spending charitable funds and their biggest Not surprisingly within the current economic climate,
donors are often not early adopters either. Let’s face it, many contributors commented on the lack of budget
lots of big charities and most medium sized ones are only within charities. At a time when many charities are making
just starting to take online seriously, let alone think about painful redundancies, it takes even more courage to set
mobile. Smartphone sales undoubtedly are growing (and aside what budget there is for something completely new
will be the only option in a couple of years), but most core – untried and tested.
donors won’t be using the mobile web much anytime soon.’
One contributor thought that, ’Charities, not-for-profit
organisations and private companies who are working in the
third sector should get involved more closely in innovative product
development’, bemoaning the lack of investment in this area.
Two other issues identified were that there is little incentive
for charities to trail-blaze because they are looking for low
risk Return on Investment (ROI) and that the speed of
adoption by charities due to slow decision-making processes
stops innovation. These problems are often compounded by
silos between fundraisers, tech staff and leadership as well
as inflated expectations of digital. However, the contrary view
was put by another contributor, who said: ‘Online is a mature
channel now, so charities should let others experiment and
wait until something is established before adopting’.
Contents > Section 01: Insight 02
Case Study 03: Making sense of a crowded market
As many contributors commented on how difficult it can be for charities to make sense of a
wide range of options, Mark Cook – founder of voluntary sector strategy specialists Moving
Thinking – explains the approach he used to navigate a crowded market of giving platforms.
‘As someone working in the charity sector and involved in ‘Thirdly you might want to consider the fees. Most charge
a couple of start-ups, I have a professional and personal a fee of around 5%, give or take, when you reach your
interest in raising money for projects with crowdfunding. funding target, and you’ll need to take into account
If you’re reading this, you’re likely to have a fairly good idea PayPal transaction fees. Some charge a fee if you’re
of what crowdfunding is, so I won’t teach you to suck eggs. successful, and some charge a small registration fee.
It’s also likely that you’ll have noticed a growing number But it’s not easy to come by these figures.
of crowdfunding platforms available. So, how to choose
‘With so many platforms available, all offering funders
the opportunity to support projects they’re interested in,
‘I can say from personal experience that it’s not easy. I’d like to see more charities experiment with bringing
The first way I narrowed the field was by fundable project supporters closer to how their operation is funded. For
area (charity, creative project, commercial / enterprise etc) example, I don’t see examples of charities seeking funding
and eligible location. for marketing or fundraising campaigns on these platforms,
but I can’t see a reason why not.
‘Secondly you may want to consider how big or established
the platform’s funding community is. Your own networks ‘Funders are going to be marketing literate and will know
are critical, but so is the built-in ‘crowd’ of each platform. that charities need money to raise money, why not get them
And this is where it gets harder, as some platforms publish involved more in income generation? An intriguing platform
their community size, numbers of projects funded, income that goes some way towards this is 2020mission. It’s using
delivered etc, and some do not. There’s likely to be a crowdfunding from local businesses to pay for charity
correlation between launch date and number of signed-up marketing videos – it’ll be fascinating to see how the
funders, so this may help with your selection. But to select pilot goes and I wish it well.
purely based on size or age feels a bit unfair to newer
‘I hope we see more innovative uses of crowdfunding
platforms that may offer a better experience or have
mechanics like this, supporting not only the end product
other benefits that might be right for you.
of charities but the interesting, creative fundraising
projects most of us keep behind closed doors.’
Contents > Section 01: Insight 02
Barrier 5: Barrier 7: Lack of collaboration
Lack of proven techniques stifling innovation
‘Using technology for giving is a no-brainer, but where it It was often stated that the technology-enabled giving market
falls down is in the digital ask – charities need to get better was a highly competitive one – in relation both to providers
at this, and to do so need to focus on message and content and to charities themselves. This presented problems.
and not on platform / tools.’ This is how one contributor
One contributor stated that, ‘Charities are only interested in
summed up the digital challenge. Many charities just don’t
marketing themselves in a new way with a different medium.
know how to ask. Another contributor was more upbeat but
For example, seethedifference.org just gives you a different
nonetheless put the barriers in part on technique, saying:
platform to help you give. They are re-inventing traditional
‘Relationship marketing / fundraising has gone astray –
marketing tools rather than developing new business models’.
charities are struggling with two-way communications,
but community fundraising is used to this, and is the One contributor was starker in saying: ‘We need to stop
best model of fundraising for digital’. listening to charities so much, as they are conflicted; their main
purpose is to perpetuate themselves, so are not interested in
While many contributors thought that enough good
radical solutions which dis-intermediate themselves. Finding a
technology was out there, it had not always translated into
better marketing tool for themselves is not necessarily going
the right products. As one contributor put it: ‘The biggest
to give us the radical change that is needed’.
barrier is probably the right products – the products that
harness the way people want to give.’ Often, technology This lack of collaboration was also seen to extend to the
solutions for charitable giving stand to one side from the businesses developing new platforms, where start-ups
mainstream activities and channels members of the public would ‘talk up’ their own models of engagement no
are engaged in, forcing them to first notice, and then divert, matter how successfully they were progressing.
to give a charity their support. A better solution is for giving,
‘There seem to be a bunch of different projects with
in whatever form it takes, to be prompted along the consumer
generous backers. Many of them are focused on project
and lifestyle trail, like a giving red button in the midst of
giving... What is the incentive for the people backing project
broadcast news or checkout giving, as we have discussed
giving to say ‘we’ve failed’? I’m not sure what the incentive
earlier. For this to happen, a more wholesale partnership
is for them to work with others?’
approach between businesses and charities needs to take
shape, encouraged perhaps by government. One contributor said: ‘I think that we could be doing much
more [on collaboration]. In the US a lot of the funders are
pushing the major platforms to work together’.
Barrier 6: The trouble with Apple Collaboration and competition are not mutually exclusive,
it was felt. In fact, collaborating in areas such as outreach,
infrastructure, best practice and open standards were ways in
When considering the potential of giving powered by apps, which a better playing field could be created for everyone to
the Apple app store’s policy was highlighted repeatedly as innovate and compete in, with higher levels of success for all.
a barrier to significant uptake.
‘Apple’s much maligned policy of preventing direct donation
from apps (except by text or link to the browser) pushes
anyone wanting to offer a slick user experience into the arms
of Android. And to be honest I couldn’t name an Android
app of any kind, let alone a charity one, that’s made an
impact. This is a serious issue as slick user experience
is pretty much the point of an app. We shouldn’t overlook
either, the difficulty of securely accepting credit cards in
any app. Doing it in a PCI compliant way (i.e. a legal one)
is very difficult and expensive, with rumours rife that many
of the biggest apps who allow it are skating on very thin ice.’
Contents > Section 01: Insight 02
Barrier 8: Lack of deep Barrier 10:
understanding of the ‘consumer’ Lack of trust / security issues
As mentioned previously, the gulf between the potential Scepticism about the safety of online or mobile transactions were
of tech-enabled giving and the practical application of it referenced often. As one contributor put it: ‘The initial barrier
was often articulated in consumer terms. to getting people to give online is quite high until they feel safe
doing it. We need to blend consumer habits and fundraising’.
As one contributor said: ‘The current state of the art hasn’t
followed simple trends on the rest of the web that start with Another social entrepreneur said: ‘There’s a declining trust
identifying and knowing your customer and knowing all about in brands – that they won’t treat the data properly. What
the account with the person you’re in a relationship with. The we’re trying to do is to put an account around the customer
third sector is behind. All you have to do is look at what’s going [donor] so that every time they engage, the data they share
on in the rest of the world – just look at the consumer habits’. is not a scary thing. With iTunes you want them to know
your payment details so it’s quicker. You want them to
One contributor summed up their view on these challenges
know what music you like so they can make suggestions’.
by saying: ‘We put technology first and not the donor’. And
a number of contributors stressed the need for charities,
and researchers, to find out more about what motivates
and de-motivates donors when it comes to giving their Barrier 11: The digital divide
support through technology.
As ever when considering technology, some contributors
pointed out that not everyone is online, and that this digital
Barrier 9: Global payment issues divide should be considered.
However, many were more interested in the potential brought
Some contributors noted that the internet was global, about by the near ubiquity of mobile phones (with 91% of
but payment issues placed barriers in making the most of adults in the UK estimated to have a mobile phone), which
international interest. One said: ‘The payments side is one may on its own help to bridge the divide.
we’re keeping an eye on. People want to give much smaller
Also, the Give An Hour campaign was highlighted as a
amounts of money, and for that to happen [it needs to be]
way of harnessing online volunteers to spend an hour helping
more seamless. We still have problems where a lot of our
someone else to get online. They do this by finding videos on
projects are generating income from the developing world.
YouTube or searching for news and information – anything to
Our credit cards systems can’t cope with that. How do we
find a way to introduce someone to the digital world.
make this a genuine global option?’.
Another contributor pointed to the need to revise Gift Aid
rules in light of the global giving community, saying: ‘Charitable
giving takes place within nations, partly due to local loyalties,
and partly because of tax laws. In practice, a UK donor can
only claim Gift Aid on a donation to a UK charity. HMRC has
said it will include other European charities in this, but any
change looks a long way off’.
Contents > Section 01
As well as highlighting the many barriers to progress in this area, we were of course
keen to seek as many ideas as possible where additional investment or energy could
have transformative effects on the take-up of technology-enabled giving.
Opportunities for new services
Many of the opportunities for new services centred on mobile. give in whatever way, with evaluations of these opportunities,
Contributors were interested in ‘low friction’ services such as and brokering / matching services’.
mobile-related giving which should become more responsive
Another was keen on the development of loyalty programmes
/ tailored to the user. There was a common call for mobile
such as Give as you Live and Blue Dot World but overall there
giving to be simplified from a Gift Aid point of view - only
was no single service that dominated people’s thoughts about
a third of mobile donors do a Gift Aid declaration.
what they were keen on.
In particular Near Field Communications were seen
But for contributors it was as much about how to do things.
as important. One contributor was interested in, ‘Near
One said: ‘Encourage open platforms only, in order to create
Field Communication technologies to allow responsive,
a level playing field for all charities to benefit from’. Another
spontaneous giving at point of sale / engagement – like
called for, ‘SaaS [software you can use online without having
an electronic collection tin’.
to download it] or API [a code which allows platforms to
In the same vein there are possibilities for geo-location communicate with each other] models for organisational
giving with mobiles – ‘Are you near this charity project or competencies – for example Basecamp and Huddle –
cause, would you like to a) pop in b) volunteer c) donate?’ project and team management software to help teams
collaborate and manage knowledge and resources’.
One contributor felt that, ‘We need the “eBay of the
[charitable] space” – an aggregator of all opportunities to
Contents > Section 01: Insight 03
Opportunities for developing charities’ skills and approach
The opportunities don’t just lie in new techniques and need for training for more inspiring online story-telling
services. Contributors were keen to ‘up’ the skills of charities, from charities.’
too: ‘We need truly independent training to help fundraising
Others called for a bigger response than simply more
managers and their technologists to work together’. Training
training or tools. They want to help charities integrate tech
was a common theme because (to paraphrase) nowadays it
with all their disciplines and get charities to understand
is about multiple touch-points, joining them up and frequency
more efficient models of service delivery.
of message (as in the graphic below) – this is what charities
need help learning and applying. This also extended to encouraging charities to broaden their
approach. One said: ‘We need to move things into an area
Others wanted easy tools for testing web fundraising
which is all about the donor experience - really giving the
effectiveness. Three ideas were mentioned: conversions,
donor something new and different. What does a customer
responsiveness, and ROI tracking tools. But other ideas
want (and the customer is the donor)? What they often want
were about how to get charities to ask on-line and tell
is fun. How do you tie that in to a funding message?’
stories on-line. As one contributor put it: ‘There is a
— What channels to market will you use?
— What is your key message(s)
— What amazing content do you have?
— Which content suits which touchpoint?
— How will you integrate channels?
— Can you tailor, vary or evolve your message according to your media?
— Think carefully about your frequency of message
— Can your message frequency be mitigated by multiple touchpoints?
Opportunities for a step-change
There were four ideas from different contributors which 4. ‘Technology should enable impactful giving. E.g.
called for a different approach: Give a goat? Which goat? In which village? What impact?
Then see the goat / family / community weeks later.’
1. ‘For a seismic shift we need joined up thinking between
suppliers/businesses, charities and statutory bodies – via As well as standing alone, this latter point – to use
a social enterprise.’ technology to show the visibility of impact – also led to
further discussion about how that could lead to broader
2. ‘We need a trade association / kitemark for the different
engagement as part of a longer-term relationship.
types of tech giving which suppliers are asked to meet the
3. ‘We need groups of movers and shakers getting together
to create capital, scale and influence.’
Contents > Section 01: Insight 03
Opportunities for relationship building
A large number of contributors focused on the need to break As one contributor put it: ‘So much of the giving tech now
away from traditional thinking about simple fundraising and is about how do you make giving easier – ie. top up with a
start to appreciate the huge opportunities for new and more penny – almost to distance people from their giving. What
involved relationships with donors and supporters. needs to happen is for people to integrate their giving so
they can feel differently about the experience. That could
As one contributor developing a new platform put it: ‘It’s more
be the way to get people giving more’.
than shaking an online tin, it’s a huge opportunity for a new
type of relationship. How do we make this transaction the start In an ideal world, the donor-recipient relationship would
of something? Some people are getting that, but there’s a long all be part of an ongoing conversation which built up a
way to go. The real challenge is bringing together the innovative bigger picture of the giver’s interests and preferences, not
tech ideas into platforms that are intellectually coherent. It’s the necessarily just related to one or a small number of charities
value of the relationship they’re offering which should lead. If or causes: ‘What you need is all the data in one place so
people want to raise money they’ll go on JustGiving and run that you can say, “I know what you’ve been doing in the third
a marathon. It’s about more than that for us.’ sector for the last year, I have a sense of the kinds of people
you might want to meet, the kind of cause and the kind of
More than one contributor challenged the fact that many new
events you might be interested in”’.
innovations actually seek to curtail relationships with the donor
by making them small and easy [see below for further details].
Case Study 04: The Problem With The ‘Easy Give’
Phil Caroe, Chief Operating Officer for Allia, the social profit
society, recounts his own recent thoughts on ‘frictionless’ giving.
‘I was waiting to meet someone in King’s Cross recently many people made a text donation just because it was
when I was approached by a street fundraiser. Personally I the easiest way to end the conversation? Would they, like
don’t mind talking to them. I like hearing about the work of me, end up feeling slightly resentful of being treated like
other charities and I’m intrigued by what tactics they use to a cash machine and never engaged any further with the
try to get me to part with my money. And as somebody who charity? Or worse would they have felt that, having made
already gives regularly I’m quite comfortable saying no! their micro-donation, they’ve now done their bit for charity
and never consider a real, meaningful donor relationship?
‘I was interested then to find that this ‘chugger’ wasn’t trying
to sign me up to a direct debit arrangement for ‘just £2 a ‘Rather than talking about technology and giving,
month’, as I’ve heard countless times before. Instead all she perhaps we should instead be asking how we can use
wanted was for me to get out my mobile phone and make a technology for relationship building that leads people
one off text donation. to become donors? What if instead of street fundraisers
we had street relationship makers? What if, instead of
‘My initial reaction was to think what a great improvement this
demanding something from me, my chugger had offered
was. No demand to decide on the spot to enter a committed,
a QR code that took me to a microsite for the charity and
life-long donor relationship with a charity I hadn’t even heard
gave me a discount at the coffee shop down the road
of five minutes ago. What could be simpler than a quick and
where I could make a donation if I wanted to? Or perhaps
painless text donation? What a brilliant use of technology to
I could have download a free app that gave me a bit of
inspire more giving!
fun while informing me about the work of the charity
‘But the longer I thought about it afterwards, the less sure I and gave me the chance to make a donation by buying
became. I didn’t make a donation because I want more than just the full version?
a few headlines about how wonderful a charity is before I give,
‘Just because we can get people to make text donations
even if the donation is only a few pounds. At the time I thought
doesn’t always mean we should. The mobile phone is
I’d look it up later, but the brief conversation we’d had didn’t
fundamentally a communications device, so let’s use
create enough motivation in my busy life to get round to it. Now
it to communicate.
I can’t even remember who the charity was or what it does.
‘Technology can certainly make things simple. But
‘I wonder whether at times we’re in danger of trying to make
perhaps being too simple isn’t always a good thing.’
giving so easy that we get a gift but not a relationship. How
Contents > Section 01: Insight 03
Opportunities for reaching new audiences
One contributor talked about the opportunities with the technology is changing people’s lives rather than
audience in mind, saying: ‘There are two sectors of online changing giving through technology’.
giving: a) the traditional empty nesters that could still be
One way to do this – as with traditional fundraising
uncomfortable with online giving - they need reassurance,
methodology – is to consider where these distinct groups
and b) there’s the 16 - 30 market who are technically savvy,
spend their time and align technological solutions to
and much more socially conscious than my generation were
at that age. The opportunity is to engage both markets’.
One social entrepreneur said: ‘There are so many
Another contributor flipped this challenge on its head
opportunities out there – for example getting someone
by saying: ‘The way people spend their time is changing
to give a fiver at a concert. A band we were working with
dramatically, and the question really is how we make
at a gig in Derby just put a text number on the screen and
giving and philanthropy part of that, so that it doesn’t
got 200 donations – with no planning, no effort or strategy
become something only older people do through older
behind it. So there are much bigger opportunities out
technology while the rest of the world moves forward.
there as part of an integrated offer.’
So it’s really about integrating giving into the way that
The opportunities of mobile: contributors’ views
Most contributors pointed to the huge potential for obvious next step. However, the real news for me comes
harnessing mobile technologies to the giving challenge. from the fact that your credit card just moved into your
However, their comments tended to split between the phone. That means whenever you want to make an online
enormous potential and the barriers placed in the way purchase (or donation) you’ll need to use your phone too.
of mobile giving reaching scale. Somehow your phone needs to be linked to your computer
– maybe you enter your phone number or snap a QR code?
One contributor said: ‘The mobile – that most personal
The good news is you’ll no longer need those annoying
of devices, ought to be the ideal way to connect donors
calculators your bank recently sent you for internet banking.
to the impact of their giving. And pretty much every
Your phone can just ask you for a PIN to prove who you are.
fundraising conference is stuffed to the brim with mobile
this and app that, singing their praises and demanding us ‘So there’ll be two significant channels moving to mobile:
to follow… It’s such an alluring prospect for fundraisers, in-person donations and online. This is before we’ve
that it’s sometimes hard to understand why mobile giving actually looked at the benefits that mobile might inherently
isn’t already a big chunk of the giving pie. bring. m-Commerce (mobile commerce), as well of course
as smartphone ownership, is growing at a significant rate.
‘One big boost that mobile giving is going to get is the rise
I’d be amazed if mobile doesn’t replace cash as the largest
of NFC [Near Field Communication] and mobile wallets.
chunk of giving, leapfrogging online. I just don’t know how
NFC, disappointingly absent from the new iPhone, will
long it’s going to take – 10 years, 15, or maybe just 5’.
mean we get used to swiping our phones for in-person
payment. An NFC enabled collection tin seems the
Contents > Section 01
There were a host of ideas from our interviews about the infrastructure that might
develop technology-enabled giving. Here are some of the areas that were covered.
Shared infrastructure New websites
and investment or services
A number of contributors were keen on a co-ordinated There were lots of ideas about what kinds of centralised
drive to improve some of the back-room functions of facilities might help charities. A number centred on
raising money using technology. These functions included pulling all the different kinds of information together into
a common Gift Aid database, a website with all the best a single place or a single set of standards. The ideas our
ideas and contents on technology and giving, the vetting contributors came up with included:
of charities and payments accounts and the creation of
— A ‘moneysavingexpert.com’ for charities’ decision-making.
direct debit accounts. As one contributor commented,
‘much time and energy is lost doing this.’ — A common infrastructure such as a content-rich
socially–embedded database of charities.
Among these ideas was the notion that there are some
areas needing investment because they will never be — A master aggregator and a need for a system of standards.
worth a for-profit business creating them. In relation to
— An open source charity search tool.
volunteering one contributor pointed out: ‘Core funding
is needed for organisations that have volunteers. There — A scalable portal that links various transactional
is potentially huge ROI because they can mobilise a lot payment systems so that constituents can see what
of people, but they need help doing so. Volunteering is goes on – like a Tripadvisor or Amazon, with feedback
the cheap end of the market, but should not be and recommendations.
cheapened through lack of investment’. But overall the concern to use what is available already
However this stands against the contributor who said more effectively was a key theme throughout the interviews.
that, ‘Tech investment should come from business, As one contributor put it: ‘So much is already in place that
not from charities’. it is more about understanding how to use it than creating
new infrastructure or services’.
Contents > Section 01: Insight 04
Not technology but training
and collaboration Magic Wand
One of the strong strands of opinion was that technology- Our final question asked contributors if they could
enabled giving was not limited by the technology but by the wave a magic wand what would they do? Here are
degree to which it is used, as these two comments show: some of the responses:
— ‘More technology collaboration would be appreciated — ‘Centralized “open” charity database containing
– we see collaboration as the key to its future growth.’ all the best content.’
— ‘I think there is still huge untapped potential in the — ‘Research into what donors want from tech to
technology we have.’ encourage them to do more / support them in
what they already do.’
Events such as Charity Hack present possible ways to stoke
greater innovation. This year’s Charity Hack – which brought — ‘More collaboration, between charities and
together 50 web developers and designers at the PayPal service providers.’
office in West London – challenged participants to come up
— ‘Stop people focusing myopically on social media.’
with an idea that could benefit charities through web or mobile
technology – all within 24 hours. It is not only the apps or — ‘Create an ecosystem in which sharing can flourish
programmes produced which are of value – but the approaches because it is simple and desirable to do, for everyone.’
and ways of tackling problems which can be shared.
— ‘Simplify Gift Aid. Right now we have to print out
(one sided print only) and I have to sign up to 37 forms
each week. The trees and my hand are suffering!’
The style of technology
— ‘Charitable gifts must be “pure” in order to attract
Gift Aid – the donor can receive very little in return.
There was a strong sense that any technology should The thresholds for this are absurdly complicated, and
be open and customisable, and that intermediaries are need to be simplified.’
probably better at the tech than the charities. Here are
— ‘I would look to try and create a Value Chain whereby
some of the comments that reflect that sentiment:
charities allow fundraisers to innovate; fundraisers focus
— ‘JustGiving bases all its technology on APIs so that on value from innovative IT (not cool, funky new things
partners can customise it; whether that’s Text Santa or to do); the sector actively encouraging (reasonable)
Blue Dot World or an individual charity. Charities should commercial profit: driving incremental funds; which in
focus on the ask and not the tech.’ turn will gives conditions required for investors and
— ‘There is no need for more silo / walled garden entrepreneurs to invest in the right innovative technology;
systems; everything should be open, not so much stimulating Fundraisers to innovate further.
a centralised system but an open one.’ — Tax relief/Gift Aid on IT investments for the
— ‘Standalone charity websites struggle to be viable not for profit Sector, repaid out of profits?’
as giving platforms – but intermediary platforms are
good as they allow charities to focus on the ask.’
Contents > Section 01: Insight 04
Case Study 05: Collaboration – the ‘Open Innovation’ effect
ColaLife works in developing countries to open up Coca-Cola’s distribution channels
to carry ‘social products’ such as oral rehydration salts and zinc supplements to save
children’s lives. Simon Berry, the Founder and Trustee, explains how sharing a few
ideas online - openly and in genuine collaboration – led to the birth of the charity:
‘I’m a practical person. I just like to dive in and have a go and ‘Through challenge and contribution we arrived, step by step,
that’s what I did more than three years ago when I decided to at quite an innovation – the AidPod Mark VIb – a wedge-
go on to Facebook with the ColaLife idea. I had no strategy shaped pod that clips down between the necks of the bottles
written down – just a few principles in my head. in a crate. The AidPod makes use of unused space and you
can get 10 of them in a crate.
‘The first principle was that I was going to go where I thought
my supporters would already be and not expect them to come ‘One unintended consequence was the responsibility effect.
to me. I had 10 years’ experience of setting up online networks After the BBC had got the ‘we would like to talk’ statement
(ruralnet|online, CAN Online, etc) and I knew that it required a out of The Coca-Cola Company, I went back to our
lot of work to get people to come to where you happen to have Facebook group and said that once we were one thousand
set up online. in number I would pick up the phone to Coca-Cola. We soon
reached that first thousand and a meeting was arranged
‘But I didn’t just go to Facebook. I engaged in forums on
with the Global Head of Stakeholder Relations. Never
the BBC’s website. I put photos on Flickr, video on YouTube
before had I felt such a huge weight of responsibility, going
and audio on Houndbite (I’d now recommend AudioBoo and
into a meeting. It felt like 1,000 enthusiastic supporters were
SoundCloud), and so on. This meant that there were lots of
watching my every move! I had to come away from that
places where people could bump into ColaLife online.
meeting with something for them. And luckily I did.
‘An immediate consequence was that BBC Radio 4 engaged
‘Then there is the confidence effect. If you expose an idea
with us and did a 10 minute feature. The BBC has power I
to thousands of people for three years and it survives in
could never wield, and they got a statement out of The Coca-
some form or other then you can be sure that it’s a pretty
Cola Company. Note that at this point we had fewer than
good idea – there isn’t a question that you haven’t heard
1,000 members on Facebook; no website; no blog.
before and had the time to research an answer. This gives
‘We’d achieved our first objective in just two months. We’d you huge confidence when you’re trying to engage the key
gathered together as a bunch of ordinary citizens and this players to make the idea a reality.
had given us the power we needed to engage one of the
‘Whilst we have not been overwhelmed with public
biggest brands on the planet.
donations, the money we have raised – about £10,000
‘Just prior to launching the ColaLife campaign, I had the – has been catalytic. We used these donations to travel
privilege to be pulled into a group curated by David Wilcox with to Zambia three times in the last 12 months to put the
several other luminaries of the new social media world – Steve partnership together to co-design the trial and produce
Bridger, Ed Mitchell and the guys from Delib to name a few. a plan to pitch to donors.
‘This group set about developing a bid to the UK Government ‘Our original Facebook group’s name wasn’t a brand. It
for the contract to run The Innovation Exchange. Everyone was was a proposition: “Let’s talk to Coca-Cola about saving
invited and able to contribute, even our competitors. I learned the world’s children”. Our Facebook page, called ‘ColaLife’
that what we were doing was called open innovation. Anyway, never grew as fast as the original group. With the original
Jane (my partner in life and ColaLife) and I ended pulling the name, we’d accidentally hit upon what Clay Shirky calls a
bid together. In the end it looked like any other, except it had ‘plausible promise’ – it sounded like with a bit of help from
25 contributors on the cover. We didn’t win but we came from our friends, it might work. And people joined us, and we did
nowhere to get an interview. As a result I was (rather unjustly) it. So be warned: starting up a Facebook group can change
nominated for an award. But most importantly it made me your life. In July, I gave away my dog and my daughter (re-
appreciate the power of open innovation and I was determined homed; married) and Jane and I are now living in Zambia.
to make use of it wherever I could.
‘Recently, our final donor committed – we’ve raised
‘ColaLife benefited from the open innovation effect. We £840,000 to carry out an independently evaluated trial
didn’t go online with a bright, shiny, completely-worked-through of the ColaLife idea in Zambia. So although our online
idea that belonged to us. We went with the bare bones of an fundraising has not been overwhelming, it has been
idea that others could challenge and contribute to. The initial catalytic. We’ve generated a return of 8,400% to our
idea was to replace a bottle in a crate with a tube containing online donors. This rate of return is not available on
simple medicines – as if that ever would have worked! the High Street!’
Contents > Section 01: Insight 04
“We’d gathered together
as a bunch of ordinary
citizens and this had
given us the power we
needed to engage one
of the biggest brands
on the planet.”
Contents > Section 02
Contents > Section 02
What are the best
to boost technology
The nfpSynergy report, Passion, Persistence, Partnership,
identified some of the key trends that we thought were
important in generating income online. This is an extended
(and previously unpublished) look at the key activities that
the organisations who are most effective at using digital
technology are utilising. It is brought to life with comments
from contributors to the Spring research.
Contents > Section 02
Sort out the
Once upon a time, the world of charities was simple. There were donors and
everyone else. Donors gave money and had a record on a charity’s database.
If somebody gave money and then stopped, they were a ‘lapser’ (a bit like a
But now the online world has made life much more This is because although they are part of the social
complicated because the boundary between donors and media engagement process, how and when they engage
the rest is not so much permeable as shot full of holes. It is up to them – not the charity.
can be best imagined as an enormous funnel. At the wide
This challenge will grow as new technology options come
end of the funnel are the general public. Some members of
online. For example, one contributor pointed to the potential
the public will then begin to engage because their contacts
of QR codes to broaden the relationship with potential
in social media will make a ‘like’ for a charity Facebook page
donors saying: ‘With QR technology, charities have an even
or send them a re-tweet about a charity fundraising event.
greater opportunity to communicate the work they do and
Bit by bit these people will be drawn in. They may visit a
to engage the public. Your QR code could take the public
page of a friend is who doing a fundraising event or put
to your donation or event registration page, to your charity’s
a ‘like’ on the pages of a charity campaign themselves
Facebook page and engage them in the cause, to a petition
or send a text message to sign up to a campaign.
you want them to sign or much more, and you don’t need a
Too often this is all a kind of engagement Brownian motion: big budget to do it.’ He pointed to the Red Cross as utilising
random movement which doesn’t lead inexorably in the same this technology in an effective and striking way.
direction. But the best charities are creating an engagement
However, another contributor was confident that charities
funnel and this funnel continually pulls people to return, to get
would think this through quickly and consider, for example,
more involved, to move from being a bystander to a supporter.
exactly how mobile technologies opened up new possibilities
The boundaries between donors and non-donors are made
for broader supporter engagement: ‘It won’t be too long
up of a thousand seamless stages.
before the charities leading in this area will have detailed
More difficult still is that it is harder and harder to plan supporter journeys for their text donors just as they do for
the communications that an organisation should send to cash and direct debit supporters.’
a ‘supporter’. This is not only because the definition of a
Time will tell.
supporter is much less clear, but also because many of
these ‘supporters’ are not on the database at all.
Contents > Section 02
Take the charity to the
supporter and make the
supporter do the work
Many charities have a fantastic brand plan, waxing lyrical about all
communication elements – from values to pantone colours. However, social
media and online income generation are difficult places for a charity to be
maintained shiny and on-message.
This is because the new media world requires the This is because the most effective fundraising on the
organisation to go to the people and not the other way round. internet today, almost without exception, is where an
The charity will want its Facebook pages, its YouTube pages, advocate for the charity, rather than the charity, does
its tweets, its online event pages to be on brand. But as the asking. Event fundraising on the internet is such a
these pages are set up by individuals it is increasingly hard for success because people ask their friends to give. eBay
charities to make it so. The charity has to go to where people for charity is such a success because the buyers and
are because if it waits for people to come to it they may never sellers do the asking and make the donations.
do so. This is not just because individual interactivity and
Everyclick works because advocates get groups of
the viral nature of the web are keys to its success but also
charity supporters to buy products through the site.
because people drive that vibrancy.
Indeed even where fundraising is not directly involved
So why spend all that time and energy making your website
– in supporting a campaign on a Facebook page or via
brand perfect when a thousand supporters can do the same
Twitter – it is because individuals tell their ‘friends’ about
job for free – albeit a little less brand-perfect than charities
what they have done. The best internet engagement
would like. And at the heart of this is the dilemma that digital
and fundraising is where the charity hands over the
media and brand people need to solve. Usually social media
reins of control to the people who support it and lets
vibrancy, rather than brand perfection, wins out.
the supporters do the work.
As charities debate whether they are prepared to compromise
their brand integrity they need to understand the second
half of this strategy. The upside of taking the charity to the
supporter is that somebody else does all the work.
Contents > Section 02
As the recent nfpSynergy report Gimme Gimme Gimme sets out, there are
a number of rules on which all good fundraising is based. The online world
challenges many of these. But one rule which is still inviolable is that in most
situations good fundraising is good asking.
Most giving is done because people react to something: a The techniques that work do so because people are
letter, an email, a phone call, a text message, a request from asked, because people feel their money is well spent,
a friend and so on. And websites and social media are poor because people are emotionally engaged with how their
‘askers’ at the best of times. money is spent and because giving is easy and satisfying.
People will rarely give just because there is need but As mentioned earlier, contributors were also keen to lock
because there is need and because they are asked by the ‘ask’ into the broader development of relationships.
somebody – powerfully, persuasively and personally, and One social entrepreneur said, ‘The way we view the world is
they know how to give (see our model in the next section for that it’s relational. Charities need to build relationships with
more detail). Which is why strategy 2 and our final strategy customers. They don’t want your one quid, they want the
about supporters doing the hard work are so important. 30% in your will when you die. Yes, it has to be low friction,
but there also has to be a sense of opportunity to grow a
Charities compound this inherent weakness of how hard it
relationship. It’s just like flirting in a bar. You start it, then
is to ask well using new media by not always doing so! A
it’s up to them to respond. You have to be able to stand there
key part of ‘asking’ is that people are persuaded. That’s why
and say, “Fancy a drink?” If they don’t respond, they don’t.
direct mail has a letter and a leaflet and not just a donation
But it might grow and grow and you end up married.’
form. It’s why street fundraisers have a script and know their
stuff. But raising money online requires people to be asked. It was felt that that longer-term relationship could be built
The better the ask, the more money will be raised. That’s why with the new opportunities for feedback which technology
we are so excited by the potential of text donations, because provides: ‘The simplest way to promote giving is to provide
they are so personal and so easy to ask and so easy to give. a virtuous cycle - increasing the amount of feedback that
we give. The more feedback you give, the more they know
The good news is that when people work out how to translate
that what they’re doing means something. If we can create
powerful real world fundraising into powerful virtual fundraising
a virtuous cycle that could make the rewards much bigger.’
it works. Perhaps the real challenge is to work out what that
translation looks like. Indeed it is a fair bet that many of the
best techniques for digital media fundraising are yet to come.
Contents > Section 02
Throw away the silos
of team and time to
Charities like their silos as much as the next organisation. But in going online and
presenting an integrated seamless engagement funnel different departments must
work together to make online engagement and fundraising happen.
The reasons for this are simple – the public need to be As well as the lack of integration in charities is the lack of
bought in with campaigns, with compelling portraits of a 24/7 culture. Or put another way the digital world never
beneficiaries and their needs, with fresh new ways of stops, but charities do. Indeed many charities are pretty 9-5
getting people to be interested in an organisation’s work. in fact and definitely not at weekends. So for many charities
just keeping up with the latest trends is hard enough. But
In practical terms this means that the topics an organisation
staying ahead of the curve is even harder. And in this sense
talks about should be the same and rolled out at the same
the smallest, volunteer-led charities and the largest ones
time. The digital team will need to have a foot in fundraising
probably do best in keeping up with the online world.
and a foot in communications and campaigns so that they
can understand the needs of, and work with, all the relevant The smallest charities have a dedicated group of new
teams and earn their trust and respect. media volunteers or staff who are happy to spend their
time tweeting and responding to tweets or making sure
In relation to tech-enabled giving, contributors often drew
that any queries that are posted online get a response.
attention to the holy trinity of IT, Fundraising and Finance.
And the largest charities can employ somebody who is
Where they work together in an open and collaborative
there at weekends and over holidays to make sure that
way, ideas take flight. Where there are power struggles
the charities’ interactions are swift and on-message.
or differences of opinion, good and innovative ideas can
get trapped and die. The medium-sized charities may find it hardest: too big
to have the passionate group of volunteers and too small to
If charities don’t integrate their work, their investment in
employ a dedicated member of staff. But make no mistake,
fundraising, tech-enabled income generation and awareness
if charities want to be seen as relevant and attractive
-raising simply won’t be as effective as it might be.
by prospective supporters, the way and speed that they
interact online is a key litmus test for many people.
Contents > Section 02
‘Every little helps’ in raising
more through technology
Traditionally, it has been quite difficult to raise small amounts of money repeatedly:
people would give £1 when the yearly collecting tin came around. Giving small
amounts by cheques is impractical due to the high charges and the hassle of
banking cheques. Digital media has changed all that.
Micro-donations are the new black for many fundraisers. as MissionFish, Everyclick, the Pennies Foundation and
This is partly because the psychology of asking for a small easyfundraising are perfecting the way to get people to
donation of say £1, when people are using a credit card give almost without noticing.
or PayPal, appears to work very well, as MissionFish have
But, and this is quite an important but, micro-donations work at
shown. The other reason micro-donations work well is that
their best when there are a range of ways of raising them. This
they act as a simple step in that engagement conveyor-belt.
is why the next strategy is so important as well: to fill the need
And micro-donations are at the heart of many organisations’
for a multitude of opportunities to give tiny amounts of money.
success in digital media because many organisations such
Stand aside and let your
beneficiaries do the talking
If new media is a poor medium for asking for donations compared to human
interaction, it makes up for this by being a medium in which beneficiaries can
speak for themselves. Charities are using the internet to remove the barriers
between potential donor and the people their money may help.
SOS Children’s Villages are taking this one step further All this adds real emotional power to the work of charities
by putting up video clips taken by their beneficiaries of and in many ways this helps to compensate for the internet’s
their lives and their communities. Beatbullying is putting lack of asking power. Indeed it would be fair to speculate that
their cybermentors in touch with the people who need help. people who have worked their way along the engagement
Oxfam is showing projects that need funding and providing conveyor belt, in their own time, strengthening their emotional
video clips of the people who are behind the projects. affinity as they go, are likely to be more loyal donors over time
with lower attrition rates.
Contents > Section 02
Create a drizzle of new media
Strategies 5 and 6 go together. With all those people swarming around putting
likes on Facebook pages, re-tweeting your work, following your fundraising
events through their friends and family, a plethora of mechanisms are needed
to develop their relationship with the charity and raise it new money.
Maximising this engagement conveyor belt to secure lots of
little donations is one of the most effective ways that charities
have found to exploit digital media. Perhaps the best way
to imagine this drizzle is that you are sitting on the punter’s
shoulder as they use the internet, and wherever they go and
whatever they do to spend money with their credit card, you are
there gently suggesting that whenever they buy things online
they could just spare a few pence or pounds for your charity.
Contents > Section 02
The smartphone is
really a supertanker
Perhaps the biggest single change in the last few years is the ascendancy of the
mobile phone, and in particular the smartphone. The rise of the smartphone has
an impact on almost all the other trends and opportunities we outline in this report.
This is because where once people might only check their ‘Since people spend most of their time on mobiles using
emails or their Facebook page or their Twitter feeds once a social networks, engaging with supporters on Facebook
day, they can now do so on the way to work, at work, over and Twitter also gives you a route into someone’s mobile
lunch, on the way home and sitting in bed before lights out. – even if you don’t necessarily push your own mobile site.
There are three things that everybody in the ‘developed
‘As with our site, direct traffic and Facebook bring most
world’ now has with them: keys, money and mobile. And as
mobile visits, with 27% of mobile visits coming from
the mobile does more and more – payment by mobile (such
Facebook. But as mobile traffic has increased, the impact
as the Barclays Pingit app) is the next big leap forward –
of that mobile traffic on our overall numbers has started
then its importance in raising money can only increase.
to grow immensely.
There is an entire separate report on mobiles and charities
– Sending out an SMS - on the nfpSynergy website. ‘In September, 5% of all visits to JustGiving were from
mobile versions of Facebook, up from 1.25% in March.
All of this was squarely backed up by the Spring
And back in March, donations from mobile Facebook only
contributors. Many pointed to the rise of mobile giving as
accounted for 0.03% of total donations made, whereas it
one of the key areas for development in the next five to 10
had risen to just under 1% of all donations for September.
years. While many were frustrated with the lack of progress
in this field, Jonathan Waddingham, a product manager at ‘So from just over 200 donations in March to nearly
JustGiving, was keen to share the benefits they had reaped 11,500 in September made via mobile Facebook,
from investing in opening up mobile access to their platform. we’d seen a growth of 5,700% in just six months.
The organisation noted that traffic visiting the JustGiving
‘If you don’t make it easy for these mobile visitors to
platform from mobiles increased by a factor of 2.5 in nine
give, you are already missing out now and will only
months last year.
miss out more as this growth inevitably continues.’
He also pointed out the important part played by access
through mobile phones in attracting donors through social
Contents > Section 02
Case Study 06: Kiva.org
It was felt by many contributors that many of the biggest ideas – those which
bring radically new ways of thinking about tech-enabled giving – are yet to come.
One such groundbreaking innovation to turn heads in recent years was the website
Kiva.org, which champions the idea of micro-finance. Jacqueline Gunn, who was a
Kiva Fellow for 8 months in Ghana and the Ukraine during 2010/11, explains the
thinking behind the model:
‘Kiva lenders join together to lend an individual their money ‘Kiva relies on sophisticated technology to ensure that the
in $25 increments. The loan might be used by a farmer in small repayments that are made in cash in the field arrive
the Ukraine to buy greenhouses to protect his crops from safely back to the lenders; via motorcycle, floppy disks,
the snow, or for a tailor in Ghana to invest in an electric onto the wonderfully designed Kiva systems accessed at
sewing machine to move from hand sewing and vastly each field partner, then to Kiva HQ in San Francisco and
increase production. out to the millions of lenders each and every month.
‘Once the loan is fully funded, the money is lent to the ‘Kiva is constantly upgrading its technology to ensure that
entrepreneur via a field partner and invested in their business. what the lenders see on their page is a completely accurate
representation of what is happening on the ground.
‘Over time, the entrepreneur pays the money back, and
it gets repaid into the lenders’ Kiva accounts. Lenders can ‘Hundreds of volunteers and staff have access to Kiva’s
then choose to reloan the money, donate it to Kiva, or repay technology, working in every time zone to make a
it back into their own bank accounts. difference to millions of entrepreneurs’ lives.
‘Kiva allows more balance in the way that people can ‘Kiva also uses social media to increase the number of
choose to support people in developing countries all over people lending on their site – for example, they recently
the world. Rather than giving out financial handouts, there ran a social “invite challenge.” Kiva asked lenders to
is a partnership between the lender and the entrepreneur. invite friends to “try Kiva for free” through Facebook,
Twitter and other channels. It was a limited trial and Kiva
‘Not only can you choose who you lend to, but over time,
t-shirts were offered to those that successfully invited
you receive this money back and you can choose to re-lend
five or more friends.
your money to someone new.
‘In less than 24 hours, 8,000 people visited and lent on
‘Kiva is the first non-profit to offer this new approach of
kiva.org for the first time.
peer to peer microlending. It is quite inspiring to think that
one loan of $25 could be re-lent time and time again to help ‘In the words of Kiva CEO, Matt Flannery, “We learned a
many more people take a step up and grow their businesses, lot about what motivates users in social media – personal
and in turn support their families’ education and wellbeing. achievement, rewards, scarcity and urgency.”’
Contents > Section 03
Contents > Section 03
Is there a model
of how charities
This section tries to put together a model of the
stepping stones in making technology-enabled
giving happen. It does this by putting together all
our information from the interviews, from the desk
research and from the surveys and reports that
nfpSynergy and others have completed.
Contents > Section 03
For the individual to give
Aligned to earlier observations around the dangers of the ‘Build it and they will
come’ fallacy, it is clear that consideration of new mechanisms needs to take place
within the context of a broader understanding of models of giving. First, we look at
how mechanisms can support the giving journey of the individual.
Step 1: The individual needs Step 3: They need a mechanism
a motivation to give through which to give
It sounds obvious but the first thing that a person needs Motivations and the cause are no good on their own, they
to make a gift is the motivation. The motivation could be need a mechanism through which to give. This mechanism
prompted by the media (eg Haiti earthquake), by the hype might be a phone number to call, an email to respond to, a
(eg Comic Relief) or by personal circumstances (a friend shortcode to text or whatever else. A motivation without the
asked them). As a rule people give because they are asked, mechanism, and without awareness of that mechanism and
and this provides the motivation. Technology is typically bad the cause behind it are little value at all.
at asking (emails are easy to ignore, and websites have to In many cases these three elements are all bound together:
be proactively visited before a donation can be made). for example a letter arrives from a charity which asks for
money and gives them a donation form through which to
make the donation. In this case all three steps are together
Step 2: They need to know in one package. The challenge for the organisation that
wants to get people to give to them (time, money or
about the causes and how whatever) is how to make sure the steps are close together.
to reach them
A motivation to give money, to volunteer, to share skills
or whatever else cannot be fulfilled unless the individual
concerned knows about the different options of who to
give to. Only then can they consummate their wish to give.
Contents > Section 03
Chart 1: sets out a model of all the steps from the
individual to the organisation which need to be in
place for technology-enabled giving to happen.
To get the public to give more they need to have:
— The motivation to give
— Awareness of how to give
— The mechanisms by which to give
Awareness of possibilities
Motivation for giving Mechanism to give with
The Individual The Organisation
Contents > Section 03
For the organisation
to get people giving
Conversely, organisations need to process map their own journey of encouraging
more giving, and in doing so consider the most appropriate way of matching the
right mechanisms to the likely underlying motives for giving.
Step 1: Understanding the Step 3: Knowledge and skills
motivations for giving about what works and how to
make it happen
The organisation needs to understand what makes
people give, and the difference if they are asking for As any chef will tell you, having the ingredient for a
money or time or something else. recipe is one thing, making them into a delicious dish
is another thing altogether. So our final stepping stone
is the knowledge and wisdom to put the elements
Step 2: Having the mechanism together and make giving happen. From the outside
it looks easy, but many are those who have tried and
through which people can give failed to make fundraising work.
These stepping stones for organisations are just as
Alongside the need to understand people’s important as those for the individual. Indeed part of
motivations is the ability to have a mechanism by the job of the organisation is to make sure that for
which people can give. In the non-technology world the individual, giving is as effortless and as satisfying
this might be a collecting tin, a direct mail appeal, a as possible.
press ad and so on. In the technology-enabled world
If these are the stepping stones to make giving happen,
this might be a ‘donate now’ button on a website, a
which ones of them are missing? What, to use a term
posting on the ‘do-it’ website or a person running
from chemistry, is the rate-limiting step of increasing
the marathon using a Virgin Money Giving page.
In the next section we look at some of the ways that
we might be able to encourage more giving by making
the stepping stones of knowledge and mechanisms
work more effectively.
Contents > Section 03
Chart 2: shows the same journey between the
individual and the organisation but in the opposite
direction. For this journey the process is more
complicated because the stepping stones are not
an obvious sequence, but more all key parts of
making sure that the journey takes places.
Knowlege / skills about what
works and how to create it
Understand motivations for giving Mechanism to let people give
The Individual The Organisation
Contents > Section 04
Contents > Section 04
Ideas for further
So far our research hasn’t identified a ‘mechanism’
approach to giving that meets an obvious gap in the
market (ie. the new JustGiving or eBay for Charity).
There are some clear ‘access’ issues: tech-enabled
giving can be skewed towards a limited number of
larger charities. The blending of tech-enabled giving
mechanisms with a charity’s existing infrastructure is
one of the main barriers for small charities.
Regarding the marketplace, it’s hard to make a
sustainable business in the charity sector where the
amount that can be charged is typically very low. New
business start-ups also struggle to reach the decision-
makers in charities, and when they do they want to
know who else is already using the service.
Contents > Section 04
If we had hoped that the research would reveal a list of brilliant new
mechanisms for boosting giving then we can only be disappointed. Many
contributors thought that there are plenty of mechanisms in place already
to revolutionise tech-enabled giving; it’s just that they’re not being used.
Perhaps one of the problems is that the effort so far At the moment it’s simply not economic for charities
on technology and giving has focused on mechanisms to chase Gift Aid declarations on most donations below
rather than looking at a broader ‘strategic’ approach £5. While some text message donations are achieving
to what the barriers and enablers are. Moreover, many conversion rates of 35%, this is well below the typical
funding opportunities have tended to attract entrepreneurs conversation rate for most direct mail programmes.
and opportunities around mechanisms rather than the Worse still, even if charity A gets a Gift Aid declaration,
bigger picture. charity B also needs to get one and so on. This is an
inefficient use of resources for charities and a waste
This is not to say that no ideas came out in the
of donors’ time and patience.
research to date. A universal Gift Aid database, a charity
‘social media’ site, and a giving marketplace were all But imagine if a donor signed up to a universal Gift Aid
suggestions from the interviews. It’s just that no one idea or declaration and every micro-donation (or indeed macro-
even one area for a mechanism-based idea were uncovered donation) could then be matched not by name and
in the research with any degree of consensus from those address alone, but by using email address, mobile phone
people we talked to. These conversations need to continue. number or credit card number as the unique identifier.
If this kind of mechanism existed it would allow donors
to sign a declaration once and then every charity could
benefit. This idea is being championed by a number of
1. A universal Gift Aid database organisations and we add our support to this idea as one
of the few ways that Gift Aid reclaim can be increased in
Many in the fundraising sector have been calling for a digital world.
an overhaul of Gift Aid registration for some time. It was
felt by many, however, that the rise – mainly through
technology – of micro-donations (text giving, rounding up
at the online checkout, etc) – will mean that the lack of
an easier end-user process for Gift Aid registration means
that this problem will begin to hit charities even harder
in the coming months and years.
Contents > Section 04
There is broad agreement that charities need more help in their use of technology
for giving. Charities are seen to lag behind the commercial sector in their use of the
internet and struggle to integrate technology-enabled giving with their other activities.
Specific ideas mentioned were:
1. A one-stop shop know-how 3. A one-stop shop website for
website for charities donors including for digital Gift Aid
The idea behind this website is that it would be a one-stop This would be like the iTunes of giving, a portal which would
shop for support and knowledge around technology-enabled give the consumer access to a range of giving options. One
giving. It would include information about the mechanisms contributor articulated it thus: ‘What would be ideal would be
(a directory), case studies of organisations who have made a cleverer way of interfacing to bring all the options together
technology work for them and some how-to videos and into one storefront – so you can be given different options
advice. More analysis will be needed to ascertain what depending on what you’re in to’.
is already out there, but it does seem there is an
This builds upon the calls for greater understanding of
opportunity in this space.
consumer habits, and of building longer-term relationships
with donors. The importance of understanding donors and
consumers is that it’s the route to understanding how to build
2. Technology account trust in the security and credibility of any given fundraising
managers for giving platform. Trust doesn’t breed contempt, but usage.
As discussed during the mechanism-centred solutions
The best website in the world won’t help organisations who section, a more transformative function of a one-stop shop
are too small, too phobic, too busy or too old-fashioned website for donors would be the mechanism through which
to use technology for giving. However a real live person donors enable Gift Aid to be claimed on micro-donations.
might be able to do so. This idea is the equivalent of an Ideally, donors would be able to register once as being
account manager at an agency, or a ‘circuit rider’ to use eligible for Gift Aid, which would cover and apply to all
the vernacular of the IT world. The idea is that one person subsequent donations – across all registered charities and
would have a clutch of ‘clients’ and it would be the account appeals and not just applying to the charity through which
manager’s job to help those organisations make better use they originally registered.
of technology in their giving.
Contents > Section 04
Questions arose about how innovation in technology-enabled giving is managed
and incubated. Entrepreneurs struggle to meet the right people in charities who
can agree to proceed with an idea. Conversely, large charities find themselves
inundated with entrepreneurs who claim their idea will raise millions, but actually
raises little or disappears without a trace.
1. A due diligence screening 2. Capital-based
process for charities incubation
One possibility is that entrepreneurs agree (voluntarily) to put A logical extension of a screening process would be to
their ideas to some kind of panel who run their ideas round provide capital funding for the best ideas. The reason for
the block, assess the need that is being met, and generally this is no matter how great the ideas from entrepreneurs,
provide some kind of screening process. This would help give the funding needed to make the ideas work is huge. It is no
the good ideas a leg up, and provide brutal feedback to the coincidence that there is arguably just one profitable stand-
ideas that need to be rethought or rejected. alone mechanism: JustGiving (though it has had a high level
of venture capitalist funding). Virgin Money Giving and eBay
for Charity are both funded by corporates. All the time-based
mechanisms are externally-funded.
So if we wanted entrepreneurs to provide new mechanisms
for giving, how we incubate them and what level of support
they are given is a key issue. The current development of
a number of capital sources for sector innovation might be
one way to move this forward. Potentially, Big Society
Capital might be persuaded to fund a limited number of
the best ideas. Co-ordination with Nesta would be key
for this development.
Another more radical way of approaching this was
suggested by one contributor who had highlighted the lack
of collaboration amongst start-ups as being a real barrier
to progress. He suggested an idea of a big cash prize to
instigate ‘creative destruction’ within the sector:
‘If you get a philanthropist who could offer a prize of
£1,000,000 to the giving website which manages to mobilise
a set number of givers. That prize – that chunk of funding –
could incentivise providers to self-analyse and see where they
need to improve to reach scale, and who else they could work
with. If you incentivise them to collaborate, and get someone
new to enter the market, that could be the answer.’
Contents > Section 04
struggle to meet
the right people in
charities who can
agree to proceed
with an idea.”
Contents > Conclusion
Technology-enabled giving is not a one-size fits all paradigm. But it still
ranks highly among suppliers, experts and charities as rich with opportunity
for future growth. It is immensely encouraging that passion, commitment,
energy and vision continue to abound in this field, especially when it comes
to new ideas to push the envelope.
And although online money-giving is more prevalent now, In its Giving White Paper, the government talks
it still stands at only 3.6% of charitable donations, albeit extensively about encouraging and tapping into people’s
this being an 85% increase in 3 years 4. Many more ideas inherent generosity and giving better support to providers
around giving exchanges and reciprocity are starting to of opportunities to give. Meanwhile we noticed gaps in
come forward just now, as also witnessed by the recent the market for company employee engagement, banking
Innovation in Giving awards 5, so watch this space. and interactive Direct Response TV, and with much more
expected from mobile-related technologies. So much lies
Done well, technology should always be able to help
ahead before we can square the virtuous circle. Until we
with any and all of the following: convenience, story-telling
do there may be no clear answer as to what will create
(especially visual), impact, interaction, civic engagement,
education, service delivery (often forgotten), and very
importantly connecting people together. Many of these are However, we are thankful the technology world is
the levers or the key ingredients for giving time, money or now a social one! For charities with many thousands
anything else. But they can never replace the human touch of ‘followers’ and ‘fans’, it must feel great to know that
of real-world engagement. these regular conversations could be the precursor to
real engagement, and to the viral effect any great charity
Charities are behind the commercial sector, unsurprisingly.
story is bound to have.
But do they lag too far behind to catch up to meaningful
levels of engagement ie. do they drop out of the equation And last but not least, what can donors, sharers, activists
for digital consumption by and large? To this our contributors and volunteers tell us? We hope to have more on that soon.
felt strongly that more must be done to make technology-
enabled giving more visible and integral to daily life, by Passion, persistence and partnership; the
secrets of earning more online, 2nd edition
business and government and not just by charities working 5
with good suppliers. _in_giving/funding_iinnovation_in_giving
Contents > Conclusion
“For charities with
many thousands of
‘followers’ and ‘fans’,
it must feel great to
know that these regular
be the precursor to
Contents > Appendices & further details
Appendices & further details
Details of some contributors and their background
Andy Gibson Jane McLaughlin
Consultant, Sociability.org.uk Communications Strategist
Andy is a social entrepreneur, campaigner and consultant Jane is a communications strategist specialising in digital
Describing himself as a “bootstrapped philanthropist” he and social media. She has worked with charities, including
specializes in social technology for social impact. The Scout Association, Emmaus and a number of hospices,
as well as commercial clients, including Southern Water,
Ann-Marie Huby Visa, University of Westminster and Britain’s Got Talent.
Managing Director, JustGiving Find her on Twitter @ejanemclaughlin.
Ann-Marie has been with the company since its creation in
2006. 15 million individuals use JustGiving, or ¼ of the adult Jonathon Grapsas
UK population. JustGiving ‘powers’ other service providers Founder and Director, Flat Earth Direct
such as Text Santa and Blue Dot World. Jonathon has spent the last decade working with charities all
around the world. After cutting his teeth in direct marketing in
Benita Matofska Melbourne, he was introduced to fundraising in the UK, working
CEO, The People Who Share with some of Britain’s most successful fundraising organisations
The People Who Share is a movement and social business such as the NSPCC whilst Account Director for award winning
centred on all forms of sharing. Benita is also a social agency Pell & Bales. He is on Twitter @jonathongrapsas.
entrepreneur whose experience spans broadcasting,
communications, business development and charity. Jonathan Waddingham
Product Manager, JustGiving
Bryan Miller JustGiving is the UK’s largest fundraising platform, specialising
Strategy Refresh in social media integration and online fundraising. Find him on
Bryan runs Strategy Refresh, advising charities on integrated Twitter @jon_bedford.
fundraising campaigns. He is one of the best charity tech giving
bloggers in the UK and globally (see Giving In A Digital World). Kevin Waudby, Founder
Kevin set up his own company Good Innovation in April 2011
in order to focus on innovations to create new sources of
Proposition Development Manager, CAF
income. He was formerly at Cancer Research UK (12 years)
Chris joined CAF in 2011 and has recently launched the CAF where he created Good Change Make Change. He is a
Giving Widget. This is an API which should take the strain out Burnett Associates trained fundraiser.
of online donations for charities struggling with tech. It works
with PayPal and Facebook as well as with credit/debit cards.
Marcelle Speller OBE
Funder and CEO, Localgiving
Dave Erasmus Funder, founder and CEO of LocalGiving, Marcelle Speller
Founder, Givey is a dotcom millionaire and entrepreneur of Holiday-rentals.
Givey is a Social Giving Platform. Dave is also a special com. She was on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire in October
advisor on technology to Lord Wei of Shoreditch. He is 2010. Localgiving.com is a social enterprise owned by the
a regular speaker on startups, mobile-social and charity. Community Foundation Network (CFN) and the Ardbrack
Foundation. In 2009 they distributed £56m to 17,000 local
Howard Lake charities. In June 2011, Marcelle received an OBE for her
Founder and Director, UK Fundraising extensive work in philanthropy.
UK Fundraising (1994) is the oldest and most influential
fundraising digital magazine/ resource and has charted
digital media particularly well over the past 15 years.
Contents > Appendices & further details
Mark Cook Richard Craig
Founder, Moving Thinking CEO, Charity Technology Trust
Moving Thinking gives charities fresh, practical and flexible Richard took over as CEO in 2011. CTT has provided
strategic support. Mark’s worked on both sides of the charity technology solutions to the third sector since 2001, primarily
agency divide for 15 years. At Dogs Trust he managed donor though brokering commercial software solutions for charities
development and recruitment. At Whitewater he was Planning from leading IT vendors. It has also customized its own
Director, delivering the deep insights, guidance and ideas that donation processing platform for offline as well as online gifts.
create powerful fundraising. He can be found on Twitter @
movingthinking. Scott Gray
Managing Director, Rapidata
Martin Jervis Scott joined Rapidata in 1999 to work on the launch of the
Group Chief Operating Officer, Fundraising Initiatives Gift Aid scheme before leading Rapidata’s drive to convert
Fundraising Initiatives provide services for online/offline regular donors from monthly standing orders to direct debits
fundraising. Martin is also Chair at Thames Hospice Care and in early 2000. He is a member of the Institute of Fundraising,
Chair of Rogavi, an innovative company allowing charities to a regular exhibitor and speaker at sector events. Prior to
fundraise online through lotteries and raffles without the need joining Rapidata, Scott had worked in the commercial sector
to develop their own platforms, payment and management in finance and IT. Find him on Twitter @scottgray_uk.
systems. Martin has 32 years’ experience in charity
technology development. Simon Berry
Founder and Trustee, ColaLife
Paul de Gregorio ColaLife is working in developing countries to bring Coca-
Head of Mobile, Open Fundraising Cola, its bottlers and others together to open up Coca-Cola’s
Paul can be found on twitter @pauldegegorio where he distribution channels to carry ‘social products’ such as oral
tweets about all things mobile, fundraising… and occasionally rehydration salts and zinc supplements to save children’s lives.
his love of Somerset County Cricket Club. He also blogs
about fundraising with a focus on mobile and individual giving. Vasileios Kospanos
B2B and Social Media Marketing Professional
Phil Caroe Vasileios has been working with charities for the past five
Chief Operating Officer, Allia years from the Gestalt Centre in London, and recently with
As chief operating officer for Allia, the social profit society, AdvantageNFP in Redbourn. You can find him on Twitter @
Phil has overseen the development of an online fundraising vasilakosp and @AdvantageNFP.
platform to enable charities to raise funds through
Allia’s charitable bonds. Phil is currently working on the
development of a range of new social investment products.
Find him on Twitter @charitablebonds.
Polly founded Everyclick in 2005. To date it has distributed
over £2 million to charities through a no-cost public search
engine. In 2011, Give as you Live was launched, allowing
people to give to charity while they shop.
Contents > Appendices & further details
Glossary and jargon-buster
Always on Friction
means being persistently connected to the internet and when friction is used to describe a transaction, it relates to
able to receive content, data, messages. Nowadays, 24/7 the amount of effort needed on the part of the consumer to
connectedness also means being connected across multiple carry that transaction out. Not all friction is bad, it all depends
devices, from your phone to your tablet, TV, gaming console, on how engaged and therefore ready the consumer – or
your car, and not just your personal computer. donor – is to do their bit.
Augmented Reality NFC, Near Field Communications
is reality but with things added. This technology takes, for this contactless technology allows a data transaction
example, a live view of a physical, real-world environment and between two compatible devices held near to one another.
layers on to it sound, video, other graphics or GPS data. Save London’s Oyster card is one example, and recently Barclays
The Children has recently enhanced its digital newsletter with have launched a smart phone application which enables its
an augmented reality magazine app, which, when activated, customers to automatically make purchases of under £15.
enables readers to see enhanced content with added video In Asia, NFC payments are more widespread with people
and a donations engine. using them to make a micro-donation without having to
open their purse or wallet. This could lead to the term
Apps contactless donations.
short for application, an app is a small software program which
typically allows a specific function or functions to be performed Reciprocity
by users. Since the advent of the smartphone, multitudes of in social psychology reciprocity refers to responding to a
apps have been created for mobile users, and charities have positive action with another positive action, rewarding kind
been creating them too. Apps are also developed to operate actions. Reciprocity in the social economy refers to the
within social communities such as Facebook. creation of ‘virtuous circles’ whereby an action creates
its own reward. It is mentioned in the Giving White Paper
API, Application Programming Interface specifically in reference to giving time as well as money.
a specification of code which creates a common layer for
two or more software systems to communicate or interact SaaS, Software as a Service
with one another. software available to use, configure or customise online,
without having to download it. Like customising your own
Cashless web store or donation page from your supplier.
refers to technologies and systems where cash does
not need to be carried to make a payment or conduct a Social Enterprise
transaction. For example, fingerprint and retina scanning, an organisation that applies business strategies
magnetic strips, and smart chips are already making various to achieving philanthropic goals.
forms of cashless payments and transactions possible. Is
cashless pure sci-fi, or is it the future of money? (see NFC) Touchpoint
quite simply a point of customer contact or the place where
Embedded generosity two parties (customers, stakeholders, employees etc) come
a supposed evolution from ‘cause-related marketing,’ together for an interaction or communication.
embedded generosity places giving integrally inside something
you already do to make it painless. It is not a new concept.
Companies can incorporate an automatic donation into the
sale of a product, for example, a Starbucks coffee, a bar of
Fairtrade chocolate or the nappy brand that gives one nappy
away to the third world for every purchase. fairsharemusic
has launched an online music store which combines charitable
donations with music downloads. It promises to give away half
of the profit (equating to 32p for an album costing £7.99).
Contents > Appendices & further details
The following are some of the main resources which, in addition to nfpSynergy
data and reports such as Virtual Promise, Passion Persistence and Partnership:
the secrets of raising more online and Sending out an SMS, were digested
during the research:
1. CAF World Giving Index, 2010
2. Social 100 Index, 2011 – Visceral Business
3. Big Society Ideas, 2011
4. Survive and Thrive from Race Online 2012
5. Philanthropy and Social Media, September 2011, Institute for Philanthropy and The Indigo Trust
6. Charity Banking report, July 2011
7. Giving White Paper, 2011
8. The websites of Nesta, Spring Giving and Demos; of various bloggers and intermediaries,
news and technology sites, charity websites …
9. Nomensa’s ‘Creating the perfect donation experience’ whitepaper, January 2012
Contents > Appendices & further details
Example Charity Apps
Charity apps are a fascinating area. Many would argue that because of their
lack of self-interest, charities are best placed to develop apps to enhance
altruistically people’s lives, gaining fabulous mindshare, goodwill and potential
support in the process. Some examples:
Battersea Dogs JustGiving app
Battersea – updates on dogs and cats needing homes. App to help you stay on top of your fundraising target
while away from your JustGiving page.
Breakthrough Breast Cancer
Breast check app – contains a video, slideshow and handy Marie Curie
reminder service. Blooming Great Tea Party – helps supporters organise
a tea party in aid of the charity.
British Heart Foundation
Healthy Recipe Finder – containing great meal options for National Trust
people with cholesterol, high blood pressure and/or diabetes. Digital guide - a guide to National Trust properties near you.
Bullying UK RNID
Have an app which puts all their awarding wining advice Hearing check – allows you to check your hearing when
in your pocket. there is background noise.
Charity Retail Association Special Effect
Charity shop locator - which presumably does what it says Gaming app for young people with disabilities.
on the tin. £1.15.
Depaul UK First aid app – first aid advice.
iHobo – the app which puts a homeless man in your
pocket has seen 600,000 downloads (originally launched WaterAid
in May 2010). Toilet finder UK – helps you find a public toilet in the UK,
and asks you for a small donation (optional).
Give On The Mobile
Donation app – donors pay 3% of their donation in
transaction costs (offset again Gift Aid) and charities
pay £100 a year to take part.
Spring Advisory Board
Nick Aldridge heads up MissionFish’s staff team, Dan Sutch is Head of Development Research at
helping the trustees to develop and implement the Nominet Trust.
Karl Wilding is NCVO’s Head of Policy, Research
Alison Baum set up Best Beginnings in 2006 as and Foresight.
a catalyst for change to radically reduce child health
inequalities in the UK. Guy Yeomans works with strategic foresight
techniques to help clients – via strategy, proposition
Lucy Bernholz is Managing Director at Arabella & project development – get to grips with processes
Philanthropic Investment Advisors. of ongoing change.
Michael Green is an independent writer and
consultant, based in London.
If you would like to get in touch with the Spring Giving
team, we would be pleased to hear from you.
Please contact Harry Chichester via:
Phone: 020 7845 5895
Postal address: The Big Society Network,
Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
Follow us on Twitter: @spring_giving