How World Vision Australia harnessed digital to revitalise donations and connect with customers

World Vision embraces a cashless society

Konica Minolta shows support for the Sydney Story Factory
Konica Minolta shows support for the Sydney Story Factory

In an increasingly cashless society, charities, which traditionally rely on spare change and donations tins, are struggling.

Yet, implementing new point-of-sales (POS) or paywave technology can be expensive. So how does a charity balance the expense of implementing new donation technology with the need to make even more of a difference from less money in the field?

Witness World Vision Australia, who took a risk to invest in POS paywave technology - a risk now paying off.

A cashless society

Australians are continuously embracing digital payment technology, with 82 per cent using tap-and-go to make payments every week in 2017, according to a survey undertaken last year by MasterCard.

While 88 per cent of millennials are embracing the contactless technology, other generations are not far behind. Eighty-three per cent of generation X, and 72 per cent of baby boomers, are also using the technology, MasterCard's survey found. Similarly, Visa reports contactless payments have now reached an all-time high in Australia, with 92 per cent of face-to-face transactions contactless. Sydney and Canberra are ahead of New York, San Francisco, Singapore and Berlin in the adoption of electronic payment technology.

Australians increasingly using contactless payments and ditching cash has huge implications for charities used to relying on people throwing spare change into a donation tin on the counter of the local shopping centre.

World Vision embraces paywave

Recognising the fact people simply don’t carry cash anymore, World Vision Australia decided to embrace paywave technology as a part of a wider digital strategy last year.

What started as a trial in about 30 locations around Australia six months ago has now been expanded, and World Vision paywave technology is now located in approximately 190 locations across the country. Donors are given the option to simply tap their card at retail stores and coffee shops, quickly, conveniently and privately, without having to sign up or commit to ongoing donations.

World Vision reports in the Sep-Nov quarter last year, they had 70 active machines, which generated nearly $40,000 - new money that the charity says it previously never could have accessed. 

Each machine has generated $500-600 on average which, by corporate standards, is not significantly high, but in the sector of charity work it makes a real difference. Since the end of November, they have expanded to 190 active machines. 

“In Australia, we have one of the highest paywave rates in the world, so it’s just logical to be where our donors are and provide them with the technology facilitating how they like to make payments," World Vision Australia CEO, Claire Rogers, told CMO.

“It’s not a new technology, it’s been used in other markets; World Vision Korea has used it very successfully. We started with a small pilot with a corporate partner in about 30 locations, and we expanded it over Christmas. There’s still quite a few out in various retail stores, and we’ve had a lot of success in coffee shops."

Rogers compared paywave as a new take on the old ‘donation tin’, and an emerging technology making it easy for people to quickly donate as they go about their day.

“When you’re standing in the queue to get a coffee, it’s very easy to make a donation, the unit sits on the counter and there’s a little banner explaining what the funds will be used for, for example $2 will be used to feed someone for a week,” she explained.

This digital ‘donation tin’ not only provides a convenient way for people to donate, it is also offering World Vision a fresh opportunity to engage with potential donors and supporters and renew its supporter base.

“We’ve had lots of support from consumers and supporters of the organisation who are excited World Vision is being noticed and seen by others in these locations,” Rogers said.

This new way to engage is also a part of World Vision’s wider digital strategy to connect with people and make it easy for Australians to join its mission and purpose.

“Digital has a lot of power that is sometimes underestimated,” Rogers continued. “It offers people a chance to connect with the organisation up close, and it provides immediacy. Digital is a window into our field work; for donors, they can see very quickly the impact their funds are having. We want people to donate to those who need it, but we also want to help build that heart connection with our purpose, and that’s what digital can do.

“We’re finding even very raw material filmed on an iPhone out in the field, where the funds are being used to support vulnerable children is a very powerful experience for our donors."

Historically as a sector, the not-for-profit space has relied on mail and newsletters, which don't have the sense of currency in terms of the impact the funds are having, Rogers said.

“Digital is highly important for the millennial generation also, it is the only way they engage with organisations now. We need that renewal of our supporter base; this is a critical part of our strategy,” she added. 

What's more, World Vision has found the businesses who host the paywave technology are enjoying their new-found ability to contribute.

“The businesses don’t have to do anything except keep the device charged on the counter. So for them it’s an easy way to have a social purpose, which many organisations have a real heart and a passion to do, but they’re busy running their business every day,” Rogers said.

Long-term thinking

While the expense of incorporating paywave technology is not insignificant, World Vision is of the opinion that it’s not an optional extra, it’s a must for any charity hoping to remain viable in an increasingly tech-savvy society. And the investment is paying off, with the group seeing a 25 per cent uplift in digital giving just in the last year alone via mobiles, phone, point-of-sale, and online.

“It can be expensive, however, technologies come down in price the longer they are used,” Rogers said. “We are looking at the long-term value in having this technology. It allows for easy donations, but it also allows our POS experience to be transformed. In the past, we’d have to register people for the donation, and then do the collection later. Now, we are bringing that whole experience into a single step.

“We see value in extending this into the sign-up process for those who want to give on a long-term basis, and therefore making the process very easy is important. There are lots of applications for this technology, not simply just as a ‘donation tin’. We want to implement it into all of our face-to-face experiences as well.”

World Vision plans to analyse the data collected on the paywave device to understand giving patterns and best reach.

“We move the devices around based on where the devices perform the best, there is a whole digital analytics piece that sits behind it that then informs the deployment strategy for us,” Rogers said.

As Rogers pointed out, investing in digital is critical for survival now, not just for charities, but for all businesses.

“If we don’t invest here it’s at our peril, and this is true for the entire charity industry," she said. "We focus a lot on the impact we have in the field, but it’s just as important to make sure it’s easy for our donors to connect to us to give on a regular basis. We are a payments business, and like other payments businesses we need to be making it convenient for our donors." 

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

 

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