Digital Donations - choices for the sector

22 Nov 2021 Jocelyn Horton    Last updated: 22 Nov 2021

We explore the options available to charitable and voluntary organisations of all sizes to collect donations digitally.

With recent news of Tesco following Aldi and Amazon into checkout-free stores, it’s clear contactless payments with an emphasis on being frictionless is a shift for the general public and charities to navigate. 

It’s important to give supporters cashless options, but charities should consider what technology solution best suits them keeping in mind upfront and ongoing costs, logistical needs, capturing Gift Aid data, and volume of use over your return in investment. For example, is it better to invest in a small number of contactless units for indoor fundraising events versus using QR codes on collection buckets for street collections? Remember too, you can often hire devices on a monthly basis to trial and decide what makes economic sense for your organisation - read Cashless Giving: A View from Marie Curie in Northern Ireland | NICVA who did just that. 

The following list of providers is not exhaustive, and neither is directly endorsed by NICVA Fundraising, but does indicate that there is a wide range of options available for charities.  

Contactless Units

We are all familiar with card readers which may be suitable for smaller charities looking to set up physical points of sale (POS). There are numerous providers including SumUpZettle and Square Up  offering a range of devices of differing sizes, shapes and expense. To set up points for donations rather than transactions, consider long-time providers Goodbox, and  LibertyPay.


Goodbox offers two contactless units with accessories:

GBx Mini is a hand-held device and can be used to take donations in person and over the phone; even process refunds. For contactless giving in churches, mosques and other religious environments, pair it with the GoodPlate designed in the style of a traditional offering plate.

GBx Core is a custom-built contactless donation device that can be fixed to countertops or used with lanyards for greater mobility and includes a customisable HD touchscreen. Pair it with the GBx Integrated Podium to have a free-standing unit for manned and unmanned contactless collections in larger public spaces and outdoor events.


Alongside offering contactless payment terminals for sales, they also provide a contactless donation unit that can be portable or fixed in one location. Accessories include a branding plate and three different donation box styles. They will also discuss bespoke options and have created a solar powered device and another powered by a car battery.

Charities need to take into account the cost of purchasing devices and when, where and how they fundraise. Contactless devices are ideal for unmanned, standalone donation points indoors and outdoors which could suit your organsiation. There may be limitations for certain fundraising techniques such as street collections depending on the product you choose. Givestar has another option. 


Givestar (formerly TapSimple) currently offer contactless collections through a device which charities purchase and create their own campaign card. These devices are then given to fundraisers who download the Givestar app to their own smartphone, link to the device via the app, and click on the campaign card to enable their own personal phones to collect contactless donations.

Using this system means purchasing devices, sending them to fundraisers and negotiating their return. To overcome this clunky process, Givestar have created Tap-onPhone, a potential gamechanger for the charity sector.

The gamechanger?

All fundraisers have to do is download the Givestar app to their phone and start collecting donations on their phone - no additional device. Charities have the potential to engage their networks of professional and casual fundraisers, without large upfront costs or logistical headaches. Givestar, whose clients include Cancer Research UK, Christian Aid, Macmillan and the NSPCC, have begun trials of Tap-onPhone and are inviting others to take part – register your interest here.

So is smartphone technology the best option for your organisation? We explore smartphone technology in our next resource - Digital Donations with Smartphones's picture
by Jocelyn Horton

Fundraising Advice Officer

[email protected]

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