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How people pay for goods and services has changed significantly over the last few decades. The UK is rapidly becoming a cashless society, with many areas of the economy entirely removed from cash with others following every year.

Charity donations and fundraising are areas where the transition away from cash is creating a considerable challenge.

Why should charities introduce cashless donation/fundraising facilities?

There are several key factors driving the UK's shift towards a cashless economy. These factors are significantly influencing societal change.

A general decline in cash on hand

The number of people carrying cash around with them has plummeted since the advent of chip and pin, and it has been further accelerated by the popularity of easy mobile payments (such as Apple Pay) and the rise of eCommerce. A further death knell for cash was the COVID-19 pandemic. Without cash in the hands of the public, impromptu charity cash donations have suffered.

Cash is inconvenient

When raising money through donations, it is important that charities make the donation process as easy as possible. If an individual needs to find cash on their person or visit an ATM, they are less likely to be willing to make an on-the-spot donation or charitable purchase. Donors increasingly prefer the convenience of contactless payments and online giving.

Security, safety and transparency

Individuals may feel safer from the threat of theft by not carrying significant amounts of cash on their person. Cashless transactions are also more secure, providing an appropriate payment platform is used. Finally, people can better track their spending and budget with digital records (such as their bank account app).

How to take cashless charity donations

Cashless giving benefits UK charities by connecting them with a greater number of potential donors, improving transparency, and streamlining their own financial operations. Accounting platforms like Xero can also help manage cashless donations through many automated features.

Contactless payment devices

Portable card readers or fixed contactless payment boxes enable on-the-spot donations at fundraising events or charity shops, regardless of location and infrastructure.

QR codes

QR codes are unique squares of automatically generated code that can be placed on posters, donation boxes, or even clothing, linking donors directly to an online donation page with a quick scan from a smartphone camera.

Text-to-donate schemes

Charities can set up dedicated SMS donation services, making donating as simple as sending a text. This can be a particularly effective method for quick campaigns or street fundraising.

Online donation platforms

There are lots of reputable fundraising platforms available to use online, such as JustGiving, Enthuse, and GoFundMe. These often come with lots of helpful features, multiple payment methods, and Gift Aid. An online donation page could be the destination page that your QR code sends people to.

How Xero can facilitate cashless charity donations

For a busy charity team with lots of donation sources, keeping on top of everything can be a daunting challenge. This is why we recommend using Xero, an online accounting platform that allows you to automate and reconcile donations much more easily.

Speak to the Genus team today if you are interested in getting your charity set up with Xero.

Do cashless donations require fees to be paid?

Cashless payments typically require the business receiving payment to pay a fee to the provider of the payment service. This is usually a transaction fee, a percentage of the sale amount paid to the payment processor for handling the transaction. There might be additional charges like monthly fees, authorisation fees, or fees for refunds.

Fumopay offers a simpler (and cheaper) alternative

Fumopay is an exciting new payment platform that offers a simpler and cheaper solution for processing donations. It is a Xero app partner that allows customers and donors to make payments online, or by scanning a QR code which will automatically open their banking app with your charity’s details prepopulated – removing friction when making donations.

fumopay logo

Unlike typical payment platforms, which charge a fee as a percentage of each transaction, Fumopay charges 0% per transaction – instead, you pay a small annual fixed fee.

For busy charities, this makes it a considerably more cost-effective solution, and the benefits only grow as the number of donations increases.

Learn more about Fumopay for charities.


Alicia Williams

Alicia is Director of the Genus team at Shorts, a chartered certified accountant and Xero specialist.

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