Your post-lockdown charity strategy guide for 2021

Your post-lockdown charity strategy guide for 2021

The 4 step plan towards a new normal has begun. Charities like EHAAT, Beatson Cancer Charity, Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity, St Giles Hospice, and RNIB have been developing 2021 fundraising campaigns that multiply revenue streams and reach new audiences.

Everyone is emerging from lockdown at a different pace, both mentally and physically. There’s undeniable excitement and relief in the air, but a fair amount of anxiety too. 

Some supporters are eager to jump back into face-to-face activities right away, while others are most comfortable connecting to events virtually. 

Whichever category a supporter falls into, Thyngs accommodates different levels of donor needs. All the virtual fundraising strategies you’ve developed so far continue to be more relevant than ever. 

The difference is, your virtual ideas will go hand-in-hand with in-person fundraising. By utilising both, you can reach as many people as possible. 

As we move along the journey out of lockdown, keep the content of this checklist in mind.

Nurture relationships with supporters with this Spring checklist

1. Check your shop collateral is up-to-date

According to The Guardian, UK charity shops hope a surge in donations will help cover lockdown losses. Being a vital source of unrestricted income, finding additional ways to re-engage customers and increase revenue streams in-store will be crucial. 

In-store collateral can be transformed overnight with NFC stickers or QR codes. QR and NFC are the smartphone technologies that enable a digital experience to be activated via a physical object. When connected to a web-based fundraising platform you can control content according to branch, location and audience.  

You could link supporters to your website or a donations page.

But wouldn’t it be more fun to engage them via a mobile-optimised game, digital trail or your virtual event? 

On the Thyngs platform you’ll be able to create, manage and edit all the digital experiences your physical collateral link to. 

This means you’ll be able to optimise campaigns in-flight, advertise nearby events, and adjust to sudden changes. Print costs are saved and internal headaches avoided. 

Directing customers to up-to-date charity content as they explore the store will increase satisfaction and expand your reach. 

You could direct supporters to digital content such as product information, a thank you video, instant donation or marketing sign-up. Accessible beyond till-point. 

Charities such as EHAAT are connecting with their customers via enhanced posters, charity tins, and unique shop window signage. 

Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) signage is interactive for 2021 using Thyngs.

2. Re-engage with your corporate partners

With shops, outdoor hospitality and entertainment venues reopening, now is a good time to re-engage with corporate partners. 

Here are some ideas:


Incorporate a branded QR code or NFC chip into table-top menus and collect support from those dining outside. An incentive alongside the campaign, such as a competition, will help with conversions. 

Social Bite, a charity with a mission to end homelessness, partnered with Mitchells and Butlers venues in Scotland. Tap-and-go tabletop cards delivered with the bill allowed guests to make quick and secure donations using QR codes or NFC. 

Cashless Table Stand

SSAFA charity engages the Salisbury community at dinner tables for the Armed Forces Day 2019.


Bank of England’s 2020 survey found that 71% of respondents are using less cash than they were pre-pandemic. If some of your charity buckets can be found in supermarkets, make sure you update them to take contactless donations, too. This is as simple as an update to your bucket wrap.

Wouldn’t it be more fun to create interactive fundraising assets beyond your buckets? 

Design attention-grabbing interactive posters with a good size QR code so supporters can engage with specific charity content at a distance. Use this PDF guide for help using QR codes in your marketing. 

SSAFA thinks outside-of-the-box and develops a physical cashless bear to pilot in 2021.

3. Prepare your volunteers with contactless donation alternatives

As of April 12, volunteers were allowed back in stores to fundraise. While on paper this sounds simple, this change must be something that supporters and the public feel comfortable with first. 

The first hurdle is to engage with supporters at-distance, whilst wearing masks. With simple adjustments to your fundraising assets such as QR codes, supporters can engage with charity messaging whilst 2 metres apart using their smartphone

Strengthen meaningful connections between the supporter and volunteer by including stories about your volunteers or branch when creating the digital experience. 

You’ll also be responsible for educating people about the contactless technology. Your volunteers will only encourage the technology and increase cashless support if they’re aware of it and understand the value it provides.

The good news is, contactless technology such as QR and NFC is easy to use and quick to understand. Arrange a team meeting, send out a group email, or include an instruction page in your fundraising packs. Read more advice, here

QR and NFC smartphone graphics

4. Communicate with your supporters using a variety of channels

Identify your existing audiences as well as new audiences, and communicate via your most effective channels. If you’re going to be fundraising at specific venues or switching up the way you’re accepting donations, let people know via social media and newsletters.

Use interactive technology to say more, to more people

Interactive technology brings digital diversity to your fundraising toolkit, reducing reliance on traditional fundraising. You can put them on anything, offline and online.

To establish the best messaging for particular channels, include mobile-optimised links created on a fundraising platform with data reports. You’ll be able to track your marketing in detail, including conversions and interactions.

It’s also a good opportunity to A/B test your messaging and understand new audiences quickly. 

To make your decision making quick and easy, we’ve created a comparison table based on years of experience, success stories and research. Refer to it when you make your QR and NFC touch-point decisions. 

Transforming printed communications

For your printed communications, consider a quick transformation using NFC or QR codes so that you can retrieve data. Plus, if your messaging takes a sudden change all you do is edit the digital experience your physical codes link to. Saving on print and headaches.   

Transforming online communications

Your digital communications will be just as important, too. In the 2020 Global Trends in Giving Report, 34% of European donors say that social media inspires them most to give, out of all communication tools. 

ANZ charity engage community in 2020 touchfree

ANZ engage New Zealand with an online and offline digital fundraising strategy during lockdown.

Did you know you can retrieve more data than social media analytic tools using the Thyngs platform?

Use a QR code in imagery and a clickable link in your communications to supply supporters with additional information, video content and multiple call-to-action buttons. 

5. Update your individual fundraising packs for safe fundraising

Safe doesn’t take the ‘fun’ out of fundraising. Update individual fundraising packs with your new cashless fundraising strategies. The additions can be as straight-forward as a reel of QR code stickers for hosts to place, anywhere. 

It can also be as creative as durable wristbands for hosts to wear beyond the event. Hidden NFC or a small QR code on wristbands can link to the host’s personalised fundraising page and provide a quick way to donate. 

After the event, you can change the digital experience for supporters. Include a thank you video from the team and inform future fundraising events. There are endless opportunities for you to stay connected to supporters. Take a look at our blog post on virtual fundraising confidence for more ideas.

This year, charities such as Dementia UK are planning their garden tea party fundraisers. By including QR code stickers, table top signage or smart coasters in fundraising packs hosts are able to collect touch-free donations and more. 

What fundraising events do you want to enhance? 

Macmillan Cancer Support include QR code stickers in Coffee Morning fundraising packs 2020.

6) Make sure you have an online fundraising strategy

Virtual and online fundraising campaigns are here to stay, helping charities to reach at-home audiences far and wide. 

According to the Status of UK Fundraising 2020 Benchmark Report, 76% of organisations used at least one virtual fundraising initiative for the first-time during lockdown. The majority of those say it was a good way to engage supporters old and new, and they would use it again.

For example, the Armed Forces Charity SSAFA were able to reach new and existing audiences via live streaming services. This year, Beaton’s Cancer Charity have been hosting a variety of live events, with ticket holders watching across the globe. 

Beatson Cancer Charity Selfie Experience

Beatson Cancer Charity include a Thyngs Selfie Experience for social media engagement 2021.

The Royal Airforce Museum’s “Virtual Spitfire 10K,” Bone Cancer Research Trust’s virtual pub quiz, Comic Relief’s “Sports Relief” gaming event, and Royal British legion’s “My Poppy Run” are examples of adopted virtual strategies in the past 12 months.

The good news is, virtual methods are compatible with traditional ones. Last year, a digital campaign provided ANZ with a lifeline when Daffodil Day 2020 fell into another lockdown last minute. 

Communities in New Zealand were given QR code posters to print and distribute, whilst social media pushed Digital Daffodil QR codes. Every online and offline QR code linked to a seamless mobile donation process. The digital fundraising strategy raised $52,000 in cashless donations.  

Another example where physical and digital strategies worked in harmony was at the 2020 Koestler Arts Exhibition. The annual event was able to go ahead as a physical/digital hybrid, with Southbank Centre creating an outdoor installation equipped with online portals to the artwork. Across the country, 4829 supporters connected with the virtual exhibition and 11% opted-into marketing. 

Koestler Arts engages audiences near and far using the Thyngs platform in 2020.

Do more with your fundraising in 2021

The key for all charity events this year is to consider each audience and their possible circumstances. The UK government claims all adults will be offered their first dose – in decreasing age order – by the end of July

According to UK Fundraising, virtual fundraising methods will continue to play an important part in charity outreach and communication. As it stands, only 27% of the public feel comfortable taking part in physical events (March 2021). 

With this in mind, the pace of returning to normality will differ from one supporter to another. It’s important to be flexible in your fundraising approach. But this doesn’t mean your workload has to increase. 

All you need is an all-in-one fundraising platform to manage, create and deploy all your offline and online campaigns. 

Adjusting your fundraising campaigns to succeed during a pandemic simply pushes you towards adopting the innovative and cashless tools you always needed post-Covid. 

Wherever you may be on your cashless fundraising journey, it’s time to get creative, engage supporters and collect invaluable data. Get in touch to discuss how contactless fundraising could be integrated into your charity.