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Driving donations digitally

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UK charities are in danger of missing out on growth opportunities due to a lack of innovation in the way they accept donations.

According to independent research commissioned by Barclays, 20% of charities in the UK do not have the facility to accept online donations, despite the majority of these charities believing online donations will continue to increase over the next three years. For over 90% of charities, ease and convenience of transaction is the main perceived advantage for people donating online.

The report shows that as well as missing out on online business, over a third of charities (38%) are unable to accept donations via text, with a quarter of these saying it is not relevant for their charity or their target audience and 15% saying they haven’t even considered it.  
 

The charity sector believes there will always be a place for traditional fundraising alongside online. However, organisations that fail to embrace online and mobile payments risk limiting their fundraising potential and could restrict future growth.
David McHattie, Head of Charities at Barclays

Within the charity sector in general, offline donations still dominate across the board; 79% of donations are made this way with the highest number of charities accepting donations by cheque (95%) and cash (87%). 

Yet, 17% of charities surveyed think there will not be a change in the number of online donations over the next three years, which may be a result of 48% of them seeing a lack of a ‘computer savvy’ donor base as a major barrier. One in ten (11%) charities which do not currently accept online donations say there are too few potential donors to justify introducing the facility, while another one in ten (9%) say it is just too expensive to implement.

David McHattie, Head of Charities at Barclays, commented: “The rise of online across all business areas, including the charity sector, is very hard to ignore. Over the past few years, online charitable campaigns like the ‘ice bucket challenge’ for ALS, or the no make-up selfie in aid of Cancer Research have seen resounding benefits from online engagement. So it’s surprising to still see that a fifth of UK charities appear resistant, particularly as most are in agreement that online fundraising is the way forward and that their supporters are more likely to donate online."

Over half of charities think that the next three years will see more people donating online and it looks as though ease and convenience may be one of the driving factors in this. A third, however, think there’ll either be no change or a decline in charities relying on third party websites, predominantly in order to cut out the middle man and to avoid paying fees.

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