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Is cash fundraising dead?

Hannah Calvert
Hannah Calvert

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing has been widely acknowledged: the use of digital interaction has re-shaped all of our lives. In the current climate where more age groups feel comfortable online shopping, using QR codes and Zoom, even charities are seeing a change with a significant shift to cashless donations.

How has the pandemic impacted cash fundraising?

The implications of the pandemic, coupled with the transition to cashless payments and virtual exchanges has drastically impacted the charity sector. A survey by CAF Foundation, a charity who provides assistance to charities and their donors, found that 35% of UK charities reported a spike in demand for their services at the start of the pandemic despite over half the charities reporting a drop in donations. In 2019 before the pandemic began, cash fundraising was a valuable source of income with 53% of donors making cash donations. However, giving habits have changed radically since.

Research has found that since the pandemic 41% of people said that they avoid using cash wherever possible because of the virus and 60% of people think that contactless payments are more hygienic than using cash. This fear of virus transmission has resulted in practices such as door to door collection and street fundraising and the use of charity buckets to die out. These forms of cash collection are crucial because they allow for charities to collect high volumes of smaller, one-off donations, whilst simultaneously raising awareness for their cause.

Has digital fundraising taken over?

As shown by the closing of Virgin Money Giving, it is important to use the right tools to ensure your digital fundraising is sustainable as cash cannot always be relied on. With Everfund, it takes as little as three screens and 15 seconds to make a full donation with Gift Aid, with 67% of donations including Gift Aid. Donors have the opportunity to use modern digital payment methods such as Apple Pay and Google Pay which take the effort out of the donation process. Using Everfund also costs 6.5 times less than the leading fundraising platform on average, allowing more of the donations to go directly to good causes.

One successful example of online fundraising during the pandemic was Captain Sir Tom Moore’s walk 100 laps of his garden for his 100th birthday which raised £33m (£39.3m including gift aid) for the NHS purely online. This exemplifies the extraordinary power of digital fundraising that the pandemic awakened and the opportunity for registered charities to take the same approach.

How has the charity sector had to adapt?

Since cash fundraising efforts have been compromised over the last year, charities who previously relied on this approach have been driven to adapt to the new digital landscape. This involved embracing channels such as social media, online donations and digital events. Although many have had at least some way of raising funds online, some have found it hard to make digital fundraising work to replace their traditional methods in full and access methods that are fast, secure and able to seamlessly take Gift Aid, no matter where donors engage with them.

Everfund Co-founder Will explains: “With the ever changing fundraising landscape, it is important that charities embrace new digital fundraising technologies that allow them to raise donations sustainably and effectively in our post-COVID world.

The fundraising tools we’ve developed at Everfund help charities to dramatically increase the amount of donation opportunities available to them by creating highly optimised donation portals. These can be used by donors no matter what touchpoints or channels they engage with you through. Once you have a donor who wants to donate, it’s important to convert them with minimal friction with the best experience.”