Innovations in payment technology are changing the way we transact for our goods and services.

Whether it be the efficiency and convenience of digital wallets, single-click and embedded payments to the ‘wild west’ of cryptocurrencies and the novelty of single-product Dash buttons.

While some of these methods may seem a lot more novel (Dash button) than sensible (embedded payments) and others seem more predestined to be adopted by the masses (NFC payments) than others (Bitcoin), they’re all similar in one important way.

It is this: they are all on a mission to remove friction and add a sort of effortless to your day to day to payment-making experiences. There’s something quite magical about the first time you get out of an Uber without having to directly pay the driver.

Going back to having to pay manually would feel almost like an affront, like someone just asked you to sign for your credit card payment after a decade of using a PIN.

These new payment methods have the potential to make donating easier, more fun & engaging and more automated than ever. In some cases they even remove the need for merchant fees – so it makes sense for nonprofits to get in on the game…

…or at very least start planning for this inevitable onslaught of technological change – at which point no one has heard of cash, physical credit cards are mythical relics and cars self-drive.

Here are some thought-starters:

Where:

Your local coffee shop
Take my money method:
Digital wallets payments / NFC
What is it?
Applications such as CommBank’s Tap and Pay, Paypal and Cash by Optus allow you to pay for goods and services using the NFC chip on your mobile phone and the payWave/PayPass network. Some cafes support digital wallet payments so you can simply tap your phone, grab your coffee and go.
How could it be used for non-profit donations?
It’s not massive in Australia as yet but with over 220,000 US retailers already opted into Apple Pay (coming to Australia soon) it seems only a matter of time before it is ubiquitous here too. When this happens it is important that nonprofits are able to support the needs of digital wallet users in a potentially cashless economy. ‘Tap to donate’ instead of collecting loose change at railway stations, perhaps?

Where:
Amazon.com
Take my money method:
Amazon Dash buttons (US only)
What is it?
The Amazon Dash button is a small Wi-Fi device branded with a specific product. Yes, there is one for Kraft Mac and Cheese and another for Gatorade. Simply press the button on the device when you are running low on supplies and the item will soon be on the way to your house.
How could it be used for non-profit donations?

After the initial signup and setup phase is out of the way, it is a highly visible solution (due to the branding) with an insanely low barrier for use. Stick it on the fridge and press it every time the philanthropic inspiration strikes. It can even be turned into a game or a challenge. Reach into the fridge for something less than healthy and press the button to donate $1! The possibilities of using it in a work environment are interesting too.

Where:
Kickstarter.com
Take my money method:
Tangible rewards/ gifts & community element
What is it?
A global crowdfunding platform that allows users to list their projects and other users to ‘back’ them. Backing a project usually results in receiving a tangible product – such as digital download of an album for a music crowdfunding project. There are usually different tiers of rewards offered depending on the size of the pledge. Smaller backers may receive a token gesture (e.g. a band sticker) while larger backers may receive a live personal concert.Kickstarter manages to make to make backing a campaign feel like joining an exclusive and exciting community. You can follow the journey of the project as it is developed in real-time and view the impact your funding is having. To date Kickstarter has received more than $1.5 billion in pledges from 7.8 million backers
How could it be used for non-profit donations?
People really like seeing some sort of tangible outcome from their donation. This may be in the form of an actual gift or premium service with donation – something done by WWF and NPR. Just be aware of some of the research and pitfalls as it applied to the specific situation of charitable giving. A very successful alternative done by organisations such as Heifer International has been to allow donors to purchase something from a gift catalogue (such a livestock or farming equipment) which is then donated.

Kickstarter potato salad

Some other thought-starters:

Where:
Uber mobile app
Take my money method:
Embedded / automated payments which charges you automatically when you arrive at your destination.
Benefit for non-profit donations?
An virtually interactionless payment experience!

Where:
Reddit.com
Take my money method:
Bitcoin payments
Benefit for non-profit donations?
Are cryptocurrencies the future of donations? They may also potentially lower costs to nonprofits by removing merchant credit card or PayPal transaction fees.

Bitcoin_accepted_here_printable

Where:
Amazon.com
Take my money method:
Single-click orders
Benefit for non-profit donations?
Quick and easy to donate

Where:
Your local Sunday market
Take my money method:
Tyro Mobile
Benefit for non-profit donations?
Collect donations anywhere, location-neutral.

Where:
Your local ticketless car park
Take my money method:
Ticketless parking systems
Benefit for non-profit donations?
Similar to Uber – a virtually interactionless payment experience.

Where:
Humble Bundle
Take my money method:
User has control how the funds are divided up
Benefit for non-profit donations?
Let’s donating be an interactive and personalised experience based on the donor’s values and priorities.

Where:
Acorns
Take my money method:
Automatically deducts virtual small change and invests it
Benefit for non-profit donations?
Quick, regular and automated. Services such as ChangeIt are already allowing you to do this with donations.

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