Six steps to solving your fundraising obstacles

Six steps to solving your fundraising obstacles

The holiday season is upon us, yet the pandemic persists. In-person fundraising events are still not possible, and people carry less cash for bucket donations. During this year, SSAFA was faced with these obstacles, and so the military charity turned to Thyngs for a digital makeover. 

Thyngs was tasked with creating a new cashless donation point for the charity’s Norfolk branch. Redesigning SSAFA’s donation experience involved research into the cashless opinions of donors themselves. Foolproofthe UX specialists, provided us with valuable insight into how donors respond to cashless technology. The perspective allowed us to work towards bridging the knowledge gap.  

We found that creating a successful design proposition required: 

  • Communication with volunteers to understand donor comfort levels with technology 
  • Analysis of these interactions to design visually engaging material 
  • Consideration of COVID-appropriate placement of donation points

If you’re planning to use cashless technology in your fundraising, consider this six step approach.

Gather the team 

For a new initiative, you don’t need to change the whole company overnight. Pilot your new ideas with a small number of fundraisers or branches first. Create advocates and they’ll help you bring others on boardUser experience and marketing are valuable areas of investment; it would be worth consulting with specialists for the venture. 

Establish the obstacles 

What factors are preventing your effective fundraising the best you canCOVID-19 is the overarching problem, but narrowing down your individual challenges can prove insightful. In SSAFA’s case, a definable challenge was the knowledge gap of the user base when it came to technologyLearning this, Thyngs was able to target that specific obstacle and plan accordingly  

To stay up to date with your fundraising, we encourage: 

  • Being proactive. Make donors aware of the newly available ways to support. 
  • Designing an education program around promoting, taking and guiding cashless donations 
  • Considering optimal placement for donation points, taking COVID procedure into account per location. 

Research: the value of UX experts & understanding your donors 

Research is crucial in understanding your donors and planning your remote fundraising. User experience experts are invaluable in providing statistics and developing courses of action.

According to a UX survey sent to SSAFA volunteers, 100% of participants said they would be happy to encourage cashless donations if they were provided with clear instructions of useYet very few said they were confident in using the payment technology themselves.

This research was crucial in understanding the demographic. If something in your fundraising isn’t working, it’s worth getting a UX perspective to assist you. Get in touch if you would like a survey template. 

Discuss which fundraising techniques work best, and why 

What has brought you success in the past? Is there a way of replicating it in lockdown? 

For example, SSAFA reported that having a uniformed veteran holding the collection bucket at events led to more donationsBuckets with artwork of medals on them were also more likely to draw attention than ones withoutBecause SSAFA doesn’t have a mascot to promote its brand, the uniform is a signal to donors of the nature of the charity. This was something to factor into the rebranding initiative. 

With Thyngs, you can fundraise whenever and wherever you need to even when you can’t be there in person. Therefore, you can get creative with the design to replicate in-person interaction. 

Image of a cardboard cutout, featuring a SSAFA veteran in WWII uniform holding a QR code.

A crucial element to fundraising is easily identifiable imagery. A distinct brand logo or mascot is an opportunity to develop a connection to donors.  Consider how you can push it further, and how you can utilise your colour scheme and iconography to resonate with users. 

Be flexible and diversified in your approach 

In 2021, having a diversified physical and digital toolkit will give charities the flexibility to respond fast to changing circumstances. Jonathan SandallDirector of Fundraising for SSAFA, told us how having a diversified approach to fundraising enabled them to respond at speed to the second lockdown 

Don’t underestimate the power of creativity in capturing people’s attention. A QR code is a valuable part of your fundraising toolkitbecause it will work anywhere and reduce your reliance on cash for fundraising. You can put them on anything, offline and online. Think of strategic, visually interesting placement for these donation pointsConsider selfie experiences, posters, or window-based treasure hunts. 

If the world’s oldest military charity can change with the times, it’s something everyone can aim for.  

An image of a teddy bear, wearing a SSAFA uniform and holding a blue donation bucket with a QR code on it.
SSAFA cashless bear prototype

Educate the wider team and track the pilot (using a platform) 

If your own team is confident with cashless fundraising, your donors will be more confident. Thyngs can provide fundraising education resources for expanding your digital reach. Understanding how the platform works gives you more independence and flexibility in how you fundraise.

It’s also important to keep track of what people are responding to: are interactions happening from social media traffic, donation links, or QR scans? Keeping up to date with the user base will allow you to curate the experience for more success. Eventually, once the experience has been tested and revised to a satisfying result, it can be actualised across more branches. 


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