What’s next in fundrais­ing? Part 3

Recent­ly SOFII and The Agi­ta­tor joined forces with Rev­o­lu­tionise to iden­ti­fy, fos­ter and devel­op new jour­nal­is­tic tal­ent in fundrais­ing. We offered five free places for the 2014 Annu­al Lec­tures at the Roy­al Insti­tu­tion in Lon­don to aspir­ing fundrais­ing writ­ers, who each had to sub­mit a short piece on the theme of what’s next in fundrais­ing?’ The stan­dard of writ­ing and range of approach­es to tack­ling the top­ic were very impres­sive and made the task of choos­ing the best five arti­cles very dif­fi­cult. Here’s one of the win­ning entries…

Written by
Stephanie Drummond
January 15, 2015
Penny for London is the world’s first citywide contactless payment giving scheme. It could raise £15 million for fantastic causes.

Mile End London Underground tube station, rush hour: not an ideal environment for free thinking and eureka moments. But when confronted with a warning about ‘card clash’ it had me thinking about the changing world we live in. If I were to travel back in time just five months and say ‘card clash’ to the people of London it would be completely meaningless. Now the phrase evokes slight panic in the less organised among us, with people fumbling to separate their contactless cards. With technological advancement come new processes that transform our lives. How are fundraisers supposed to keep up?

Simple: let’s cash in on the technological change around us. ‘Penny for London’ is the world’s first citywide contactless payment giving scheme. This innovative micro-donation scheme flips traditional tin collecting on its head, allowing commuters to donate one penny every time they make a contactless payment. If just one in 10 Londoners sign up, the scheme could make more that £15 million for fantastic causes across London. By using technology we can convert a simple daily task – commuting – into a charitable activity.

In a crowded, changing world charities need to use the fact that technology is subtly changing human behaviour. People commute. People need to pay for commuting. And now using new technology to make a payment we are giving people a choice whether they want to give to charity in a way they won’t even notice they are giving. Clever.

Of course this isn’t the first time we’ve seen donation mechanisms that play off human habits: payroll giving, donating when you pay your food bill, donating as you click when buying online, or whilst playing online games and so on. But now we are in a unique place in history where technological development is becoming ‘open source’ and is being led by the people. As fundraisers we should turn to hackers, makers and techno-geeks to create something brilliant in synergy with their new products.

As the student fundraising coordinator for The Children's Society I recently saw a Facebook post from Practical Action to a student forum: ’We are looking for students to work with us on a product development project. Alongside fundraising innovation specialists you will lead us through market insight, idea generation, concept development and roll out...’ I'm extremely excited to see that product development isn’t just happening behind the scenes in some stuffy board room, charities are throwing it out to the people. What better way to get market research than to work with the target market? Who knows what innovative technological gems they are going to come up with.

What is next in fundraising? A technological revolution! For which we need insight into new technology as or before it is launched to market, and through facilitating the general public to come up with innovative products on our behalf. I never thought I’d say this, but perhaps donating should become as habitual as commuting...

About the author: Stephanie Drummond

Stephanie Drummond is the Student Fundraising Manager for The Children’s Society. She joined The Children's Society’s regional fundraising team in October 2012, after Graduating from Sheffield University. Having studied Health care and Development Economics she was motivated to work for a children’s charity after learning how austerity impacts on society and the wellbeing of children. During her role as Chair of Sheffield University RAG committee she caught the ‘fundraising bug’ and luckily has never recovered.

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