Donations made easy

British telecoms (BT)


Transform and increase charity street donations with contactless payments

CharityFinanceFix and improveMobile

Brief

BT asked us to work with them and their two partner design agencies (marketing & brand communications; 3D product design) to review software development issues and advise what was needed to create a secure, mobile, contactless card payment device.

Challenge

The BT Purposeful Business team had an idea of taking contactless card payments when collecting for charity in the street (linked to their BT MyDonate "MyDonate - Support for fundraising" service). But they encountered a problem delivering the software technology for their product.

People readily carry contactless cards and research showed the concept could work. However there were significant software and hardware challenges in creating the imagined touch screen programmable device that could be branded and take secure payments.

Solution

Using rapid design-build-test-learn cycles we guided the end device design and proved the hardware, the software design and architecture.

This provided us with our first real use of the Raspberry Pi integrated to a 7-inch touch screen and to a secure card payment terminal, supported with a cloud-based administration service to provide remote management, rebranding, security tracking and support for the devices.

Using the devices showed the importance of providing feedback when a donation is made to charity in this way. This resulted in dynamic visual features with the software when a card payment is taken.

Outcome

When the trials of these devices completed it showed that digital transactions with contactless payment cards resulted in a massive increase in donations from £15 per hour by cash bucket to £96 per hour per contactless device ("Pay a Charity - Contactless donation boxes").

We were very pleased to see this device being used by many UK charities such as Cancer Research and Comic Relief raising significantly increased amounts of money per street collector. We were also proud to have been able to support BT MyDonate, as it was a not-for-profit fundraising service free for charities to use, and which passes on 100% of all donations made to the charity (excluding the credit/debit card charges levied by the payment service).