With new payment mechanisms such as digital wallets and QR codes rising in popularity across many European countries in recent years, nonprofits are increasingly considering offering these technologies as additional ways to donate. Vicky Reeves, managing director of goDonate and WPNC Digital explores the opportunities they present.
Payment or ‘digital’ wallets have shot up in popularity across Europe, especially since the onset of the pandemic and the growing preference to avoid cash payments. In fact, according to one report they accounted for just over 7% of point-of-sale payments in 2020. While that may still sound small, year-on-year it was a 63% rise.
With contactless payment limits also increasing across Europe, it’s a phenomenon the charity sector should not ignore. As people increasingly choose to pay using digital wallets and contactless means, donations via these methods will of course increase too. In the UK alone our own research shows that Apple Pay donations increased last year by 60% compared to 2020, while in Sweden a study by Novus showed that 53% of people donating in 2020 did so via Swedish mobile payment method Swish.
Data & security benefits
Offering these as donation options then will become increasingly necessary for nonprofits as adoption continues to grow. But there are further benefits too, specifically in terms of data and security.
By the time a donor is ready to hit submit with an online donation, they may have already been asked to answer multiple questions. Address details for example, can be mandatory to protect against fraud – and charities that try to remove that element of friction often face higher rates of fraud or declined payments. This is particularly the case where fraudsters deliberately use charity websites to test stolen card details.
Payment wallets help to reduce this lengthy ‘paperwork’, reducing the friction involved in giving, whilst still complying with GDPR and remaining secure. Not only can they authenticate and supply the donor’s details on the donor’s behalf but they also act as intermediaries between the donation site and the bank processes, and are able to detect what options the user or the country can support.
PayPal is probably the best-known example of this. Charity sites that integrate with the platform receive their funds through it and generally need not know how it receives them from the donor. PayPal in turn can supply the charity with the donor’s name and address details, removing the need for the charity to ask for this information themselves.
The use of QR codes – accessible to anyone with a smartphone – is also growing throughout Europe, with just over half of internet users in Switzerland and Spain using them in 2021.
Another low-cost addition to the fundraising toolkit, they are an incredibly effective marketing medium to use through many channels; on donor boxes / buckets at events, shop-window posters, door-drops and even tv adverts. And, complete with attribution IDs and potentially pre-filled user data, they once again simplify the journey for the donor, getting them directly to the point of donation without any form filling.
One good example is The Royal British Legion in the UK, who in 2020 implemented their use on posters, collection boxes and direct mail. The QR code linked directly to their platform, and overall the Legion received 20x the number of online donations compared to the previous year.
Friction when donating is one of the key problems for charities and the use of digital wallets is more than likely to increase as cash use falls. Donation sites that accept them not only remove a lot of that friction, so helping to streamline the giving journey and remove donor fatigue, but will future proof themselves as cashless donation preferences develop. QR codes are also increasingly becoming an integral part of the fundraising toolkit, providing a one step approach to giving that also simplifies the process for donors.
About Vicky Reeves
Vicky is managing director of goDonate and WPNC Digital and works with charities to create digital experiences and digital fundraising products. She works across digital from website and mobile applications, voice technology and digital marketing. She also pioneered next generation donation platform goDonate, which handles the online donations for many charities across Europe such as NSPCC, YMCA and The Royal British Legion.
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