Glossary of Digital Terms

5 Oct 2021 Jocelyn Horton    Last updated: 5 Oct 2021

In many specialised areas, acronyms, initials and terminology will feature as is the case with the digital community. To help you understand, communicate and navigate this world, this glossary provides useful definitions related to Fundraising Articles

Contactless card payment/donation - Payments/donations are made by tapping a contactless bank card onto a contactless payment terminal (or onto a collecting device which contains a contactless payment terminal).

Contactless mobile payment/donation - Payments/donations are made by tapping a smartphone onto an NFC chip incorporated into either a payment terminal or an object, or by using the smartphone camera to scan an image (usually a QR code).

Contactless payment terminal - This is a payment terminal that can take card payments via Chip & Pin (where users enter a PIN number) or a contactless bank card, or via a smartphone that is equipped with NFC and a digital wallet.

Cyber-attack - An attempt to destroy or damage a computer network or system.

Cyber-security - Measures used to protect computer systems from cyber-attack. May include virus protection, malware protection, and use of passwords.

Digital wallet - Digital wallets store the secure information needed to make electronic payments without entering credit/debit card or bank details. Payments could be made through a PC, tablet, mobile phone or gaming device. Popular examples include Apple Pay, Android Pay, and PayPal.

Donation - A gift of money or other property that is voluntarily given and accepted without expecting or receiving something in return. 

Donor - A person who gives a donation to a charitable institution.

E-commerce - Commercial transactions carried out electronically, using the internet; sometimes called online shopping or digital commerce.

Fundraising - Asking for money or other property for charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purposes.

Gift Aid - A scheme which allows registered charities to reclaim basic-rate tax on donations made by UK taxpayers who agree to this, effectively increasing the amount of their donations. Taxpayers who pay tax above the basic rate may also be able to reclaim some tax on the donation.

NFC (Near Field Communication) - NFC is communication between two NFC-equipped devices which takes place when they are within about 4 cm of each other. Smartphones with NFC can make contactless mobile payments via contactless payment terminals (e.g. Apple Pay and Android Pay) and interact with cards or 'tags’ (where the phone acts as a reader), allowing an NFC-equipped smartphone to be tapped against the interaction point to trigger an action on the phone (e.g. bring up a payment screen). 

Operating system - The underlying software that manages a computer’s hardware and software, and provides the user interface. Examples include Android, iOS and Windows.

Platform - A platform, or digital platform, is a software solution that helps businesses and organisations to serve their products and services online. Examples include Social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Or Application stores such as Apple Play or Google Play. And Market places such as Amazon or Crowdfunding platforms such as Just Giving and Crowdfunder.

QR (Quick Response) - This allows Smartphone cameras to scan barcodes/QR codes, and capture images. QR codes are slightly more cumbersome because they require an app to interpret them, although popular apps such as Google Chrome and Twitter provide in-built QR code scanning capability for both Apple and Android devices.

Social media - Websites or applications that allow users to create and share their own content via social networks.

User - Anyone using a computer.

User interface - How a user interacts with a computer, including a smartphone, tablet, or laptop: what the user sees when they open the device and log in.

Note: new relevant terms will be added, but it is not a comprehensive list.'s picture
by Jocelyn Horton

Fundraising Advice Officer

[email protected]

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