Smartphone technology can enhance donor experiences

22 Nov 2021 Jocelyn Horton    Last updated: 22 Nov 2021

Smartphone technology can offer your supporters more than just an easy and convenient way to donate, it can enhance their experience and even help you cash in on their everyday transactions.

Many charities are using QR codes and NFC tags to engage with their supporters in creative ways. Below are a few of the companies offering technology options to collect donations and enrich donor experiences; neither is directly endorsed by NICVA Fundraising.


Using technology to enhance supporter journeys

Good Thyngs

Good Thyngs’ customers can choose between QR codes and NFC tags. QR codes and NFC tags both interact with mobile phones. The main difference is that QR codes must be scanned usually with the phone’s camera app to activate it.

NFC tags are activated by simply tapping the phone near the object with the tag (make sure the phone’s NFC function is switched on). Both formats can be applied to passive objects such as collection boxes, signage, ID badges and displayed in shop windows transforming them into contactless mobile donation points. Thyngs worked with Poppyscotland to create poppy boxes with inbuilt NFC tags and QR codes giving supporters both options to make donations. 

Yet, the technology can achieve greater interactivity beyond donations as Good Thyngs shows when working with Koestler Arts.

Challenged to deliver a bespoke virtual exhibition experience that replicated the important features of the annual physical event, artworks were grouped in the physical exhibition; each grouping was assigned a unique QR code that linked straight to those artworks.


Attendees could scroll through the experience and follow the physical trail finding out more about the works through their phones, submit instant feedback with the option to opt-in to marketing, purchase artwork, and make a donation as did online visitors in this hybrid event. Koestler Arts gained insights for both in-person and online attendance, seeing 4,829 attendees connect with the digital exhibition 41,387 times.

NFC tags are small, so can be embedded into numerous products from posters, beermats, paper and material wristbands, collection boxes, key fobs, stickers and more. Chiquita even use stickers on their bananas to allow customers to download 5 different Spotify playlists!

Many charities encourage their supporters to set up fundraising pages or host fundraising events. The following apps can be promoted to supporters and allow you to benefit from their everyday activities such as a walk in the park or their weekly shop and daily coffee.  

The new charity collection tin?

Traditional street collectors boosted charitable contributions by snapping up people’s spare change, but as people are carrying less cash in their pockets, Pledjar, the first app of its kind to use Open Banking, helps to turn “spare change into real change” for charities during contactless payments.

Charities register with the company to receive charitable contributions through the app. This is similar to some instore reward cards such as M&S Sparks where you can select a charity to benefit from your purchases. Users download the app to their phone and each time they make a cashless purchase in a shop, even a coffee in a local café, Pledjar rounds up to the nearest pound. The user then chooses which charity to donate their spare change to each week. (Click image to watch video). Pledjar does not store any of a user’s personal banking information nor have access to your account, but simply transfers the funds to the charity’s account.

In these few resources exploring cashless giving options, it's clear that as the technology behind each solution develops and becomes more creative, fun and engaging, charities now have a range of tools to enhance their digital fundraising activities and donors' experiences.'s picture
by Jocelyn Horton

Fundraising Advice Officer

[email protected]

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