Co-creating the future of charitable donations

Just one of the many innovative solutions on show at the London leg of this year’s Fujitsu World Tour, Macmillan’s latest experiments with charitable donations were quite a draw.

In the world of digital co-creation, the most important aspect of any project is being clear about the challenge that needs to be addressed.

The society that we live in is an increasingly cashless one, with cards now making up more than half of all purchases. And while that may be making things quicker and easier for people shopping in supermarkets or picking up the tab in a bar it has presented a real challenge to charities.

Indeed, attempts made to scrap coppers and other small change coins are often strongly opposed by those organisations collecting them to fund good causes.

For cancer support charity Macmillan, the fact that plenty of people now rely solely on their cards when out shopping has made it difficult to keep up a healthy stream of donations to their charity buckets and other in-person donation sites.

The challenge, then, was to come up with a seamless payment method to allow people to make donations on the high street – in the same way that they have in the past by dropping a few coins into a bucket.

Crowd-sourced solutions

It was more than just coming up with a way to help people make in-person donations by card though. Macmillan wanted Fujitsu’s help with understanding the potential return on investment of any solution – and wanted to get to the prototyping stage quickly too.

To come up with a range of ideas with potential Fujitsu ran an online innovation programme in tandem with Macmillan.

Through this platform, people from all over the world were able to contribute their ideas – and build on suggestions that others had put forward too.

This approach worked wonders. Ultimately, the team developed more concrete proposals from, as Fujitsu innovation consultant Saskia Leach put it, “a kind of mish mash of eight or ten different ideas” that were shared via the online platform.

These, in turn, were then honed down to two prototyped solutions including a giant foam hand and a traditional bucket – both with a contactless-compatible card reader attached.

The hand allows for quick £5 donations – letting people ‘high five’ Macmillan – while the bucket gives options of £3 or £5 sums. Meanwhile, a bespoke iPhone app lets people choose how much they’d like to donate.

Gathering data with donations

Trialling this technology isn’t just a case of working out whether people prefer to high five or use the bucket, it’s also providing a treasure trove of useful information.

The team at Macmillan have been able to gather anonymised data to find out more about how much people typically wish to donate, as well as location information that can inform where’s best to place collection points.

Generally, Macmillan’s Melanie Failes says that the response has been a positive one – with plenty of people acknowledging that they’re more often carrying cards than cash, and that these donation solutions are a welcome step forward.

And if you want to see for yourself just how simple the ‘high five’ is in action, then you can see our own James Bambrough using it to donate over on our Facebook Page.

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