Blue Cross: Tap Dogs

Exhibited by
Jonathan Waddingham, senior product manager, JustGiving
March 22, 2017
Medium of Communication
Face-to-face, Events, Media
Target Audience
Individuals, Awareness
Type of Charity
Animal welfare
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
May 2016

SOFII’s view

This animal charity solved the ‘sorry I have no cash’ problem and put their beneficiaries at the forefront. How? Four-legged fundraisers using contactless payment technology. This is fun and innovative fundraising with great potential. And who could say no to their furry faces? Genius!

Summary / objectives

A team of dogs became the world’s first canine fundraisers as they lent a paw to raise money for sick and homeless Blue Cross pets.

‘Tap Dogs’ Maverick the border collie, Cherry the lurcher, Ralph the old English sheepdog cross and Labradors Rosie and Smudge have shunned the traditional collection tin in favour of a truly 21st century method and now sport contactless card technology in their specially-designed jackets.


Britain is moving closer to becoming a cashless society with debit cards and contactless payments now accounting for more than half of all payments. So when the Blue Cross were looking for ways to raise awareness for their cause they came up with a fun and innovative solution to ‘sorry I have no cash’ and put their beneficiaries front and centre of their brand.

They decided to use contactless payment technology by sewing the devices in special dog-jackets and giving them to behaviour-assessed Blue Cross event dogs, owned by volunteers. The selected dogs were already used to appearing at events and schools around the country to raise awareness of the Blue Cross but this was the first time they'd be used directly in fundraising.

And so the first elite canine fundraisers – Tap Dogs – were put into action.

The technology used to take contactless payment was PayPal Here, using a smartphone app via Bluetooth. The device can only be activated by the volunteers and will only work when the chosen payment card is pressed up against the card reader. Chip and pin, and swipe options are available; volunteers can also provide receipts and issue refunds if required. It is set up to take a £2 donation. Donations for other amounts can be adjusted by the volunteer using the app and receipts can be issued by email or a text message if required.


It’s an innovative use of a new technology (contactless payments) and a stroke (or tap) of genius to make the dogs the fundraisers, thus making beneficiaries part of the ask. 

Other relevant information

There’s a great video on YouTube:  

Creator / originator

Blue Cross & Cow PR - 

Influence / impact

Blanket mass media coverage including Metro Online, Telegraph Online, Guardian Online, Sunday Telegraph and The Times. 260,000 views on BBC News Facebook page.

Blue Cross will be extending its team of ‘Tap Dogs’ to fundraise across the UK in 2017. PayPal have funded a range of new contactless dog coats and donated PayPal Here card readers for each of the coats.

Other relevant information

This case study was presented by Jonathan Waddingham, Senior Product Manager of JustGiving, at SOFII's I Wish I'd Thought Of That event in London 2016.

View original image
PayPal’s contactless card reader sitting in a pocket of the Tap Dog’s coat linked to the PayPal Here smartphone app via Bluetooth.
View original image
Tap Dogs are behaviour-assessed Blue Cross event dogs, mainly owned by dedicated volunteers, who attend events to raise awareness of many different aspects of pet welfare.

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