NFC for GOOD

This one nearly passed me by earlier this week

The biggest military fundraising drive seen in London will aim to raise £1 million in a day for the annual poppy appeal tomorrow. Some 2,000 serving and former members of the armed forces will target 130 of the City’s biggest financial institutions and 70 Tube stations.
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Barclaycard has lent 400 hand-held terminals so donations can be made by contactless transactions. Company bosses will be asked to match the amount donated by their staff.

That last part, the part where I’ve added emphasis is fantastic.

I’ve been tinkering with the idea of NFC/RFID donation points a good couple of years now. Ever since my first bootcamp at Marketing Academy, when quite a large charity (the name of which escapes me now, maybe it was the NSPCC) gave a talk about how it goes about fundraising the hurdles and barriers that it comes across in doing so.

My theory goes:

In an age when, in London especially, citizens are being actively encouraged to carry less cash (see: oystercards for travel and chip and pin / NFC card payments being made available everywhere), what is knock-on economical affect on those that need our small change most: our charities and our homeless?

To the former (and in fact I’m fairly sure I raised my hand and asked this question back in May 2010), you ask –

‘Why don’t we solved by equipping charity tin shakers with NFC touch points?’

From a personal perspective I HATE walking past tin-shakers on the street and on the Underground when I have no change. That whole guilt thing? I know I have the money to give I just don’t have the money on me right now. And when I do, it’ll probably be spent on chewing gum later before I see you again. ‘So, why not enable this technology?’, I asked the man from the NSPCC.

‘It’s not worth it.’ he replied.

Charities make more money with their direct mail drives asking potential givers for a simple £2 per month than they do during a whole year of tin shaking. It’s simply not worth their investment. This makes sense. Why bother throwing money at something which isn’t a fundraiser? My argument to that is, maybe it isn’t a fundraiser because you’re not allowing your tin-shakers to raise funds with technology! It was a frustrating exchange…

Anyway, look. The good news is, for the poppy appeal at least, the investment has been made. Barclaycard, in a nice bit of CSR-based PR, have stepped up and done it for you.

I’m yet to see one of these machines ‘in the wild’ yet, but I’m looking forward to tapping and giving when I do. I also really hope that when this year’s poppy appeal comes to a close, that Barclaycard release some numbers on how much was given using this method.

That would make some really interesting reading.

 

Ps. Get a poppy.

Additional reading: homeless hotspots (another tech-driven fundraiser)

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2 thoughts on “NFC for GOOD”

  1. FREE IDEA: One of the biggest challenges facing homeless people is that people think they are going to spend the money on drugs or booze.

    Why not give them NFC enabled cards, which are used to collect money from peoples mobile phones (ok, some people may be nervous to hold their phone close to an unknown homeless person…), but this same card is also used to redeem at specified outlets on specified products.

    Imagine partnerships with Costa, EAT, even hostels/shelters. At least then you know that this money can only be used for sustenance/ survival. And a portion can be donated to charities trying to get these people off the streets for good.

    Some user experience problems here of course, but could fundamentally change the way we think about giving money to the homeless.

    [Reply]

    James Reply:

    Love a good free idea.

    Good idea too.

    [Reply]

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