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Give A Little and a pandemic

Looking back on how we've iterated Give A Little over the past year

Although we are yet to be clear of the COVID-19 pandemic, it feels timely to reflect on our Give A Little mission through this period of turmoil. 

What’s surprised us most has been the adoption of our web campaigns. A little over a year after establishing these we host around 3,917 campaigns, and have raised around £2M of donations via this channel. 

But let’s wind back as to how we got here...

Way back in 2017 we set out to help charities migrate their fundraising to take card payments in the face of an increasingly cashless society. Although there were various means of doing this at the time they were all focused on retail sales, not donations. 

We focussed on the point of donation, specifically the donor experience and tools for the charity to manage it - as product and service innovation is where we have an edge, leaving the commodity banking and secure payment processing to partner companies. 

We iterated our solution which launched as Give A Little ® in 2019. 

To succeed we needed to overcome two major barriers that charities faced: 1/ high costs, and 2/ fear of technology.

We directly addressed the cost angle by suggesting charities take a DIY approach and purchase a £19 card reader from SumUp and use their own Android tablet or phone with the free Give A Little app downloaded from the Play Store

This was very successful in lowering the cost barrier to getting started. It also led to some highly creative enclosures being developed. 

We particularly like this tweet of one being used in St Andrews, Hove.

The other barrier to entry was fear of technology. With many charities relying on volunteers there is a disproportionate representation of those aged over 65 in the sector. Consequently many have little experience of internet systems and practices. We countered this by designing simplicity and ease of use in the tools wherever possible and by setting up high quality Helpdesk support where most queries are resolved with the first response and within the working day. 

We have been steered with great feedback on what priorities our charity users have with the service, and can guess we’re on the right track when we receive lovely emails like these:

  • 'Many thanks. You have made an old worried lady happy.' 

  • 'Thank you so much for the below which was very helpful and I can only apologise that it has taken me so long to reply and tell you that!' 

  • 'We have had great success with our Give A Little set up and have had nearly £800 through the system in the first two weeks. People really like it.'

It was clear we’d broken down barriers before the pandemic, but when news broke of an extended period of enforced ‘stay at home’ we knew that many of these charities would suffer. This was because they were getting funds from donors being on site - in the museum or church - where motivating donations was being highly successful.

We considered what we could do and decided to firstly waive fees for charities subscribed to our Premium service, and secondly to offer charities a means to publish their campaigns on the internet (think of the likes of Just Giving but simpler, easier to set up, cheaper, and controlled by the charity themselves - not a sponsor). 

This work was completed rapidly to minimise charity loss of income and we launched for Easter April 2020. We watched as donation revenues from payment card readers fell to £0 across all charities, and largely stayed that way until March 2021. 

But the decision to launch the web campaigns provided the offset for this revenue loss as we’d hoped. In fact it quickly outstripped the donation revenues that we’d been seeing via contactless devices. 

There were other unexpected benefits too, such as the average donation amount being higher and we were able to leverage the different payment technology to offer features such as recurring donations through this as well. 

Now with the pandemic easing and card payments being made via contactless and chip and pin once more, and over 200,000 individual donations made, we feel we’ve established the Give A Little brand well enough that the time is right to increase the team. 

We’re looking for a Product & Community Manager, and a Senior Developer. Please get in touch if you are interested or indeed pass this on to people you know who might be, we’d appreciate it!

Please get in touch about these opportunities by contacting rich.cassidy@cautionyourblast.com

And you can read more about Give A Little on our website here.