Cash is dead. Long live SnapDonate

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Despite the rather awful debut made by Apple’s new mobile payment system this month, there’s no denying that society is increasingly moving away from money. Plastic, internet transfers and more are replacing cold hard sterling as a method of choice, which is good news for convenience, but bad news for charities.
Until now, that is. In recent weeks those who keep an eye on Smoking Gun PR’s Facebook page may have noticed our attempt to draw attention to a brand new app designed to take the effort, and loose change, out of charitable gestures. SnapDonate has launched to a veritable fanfare across the not-for-profit sectors, and for very good reason too.
What does it do?
Put simply, SnapDonate allows members of the public to take a quick photo of any UK charity logo via their smartphone camera. From there, they can use the image in the application to pledge money to the cause in question, meaning even if they don’t have a quid or two in their pocket they can still get involved.
Why is it important?
The days when you could only pay for items costing a minimum of £5 or £10 on card are, for the most part, long gone (except for that local off-license around the corner from your house which remains stuck in the dark ages).
Already a third of UK GDP is accounted for in card payments, and the figure is set to rise exponentially over the next two years. In short, people are carrying less cash than ever before, meaning charity fundraisers have an increasingly high chance of being told passers by have no change.
As such, a system allowsing street-level donations to be made electronically, without much hard work on the part of those making the donations, can only be a good thing for boosting revenue streams. Especially in an age wherein fundraisers are struggling to secure monetary gestures in the first place.
Are there any downsides?
If you look at things from the perspective of usability the answer would be a resounding ‘no’. From the perspective of the public, though, it could be a different story depending on how SnapDonate is promoted by charities. As per this article from Third Sector (LINK), the British public is becoming far less willing to engage with charities via traditional fundraising methods- including street donations.
This is partly because of a perceived pressure and overkill resulting from the sheer number of organisations standing on shopping thoroughfares looking for money. As such, in order for SnapDonate to have the desired impact it’s imperative that the average man and woman on those same streets is made aware of the option, but by no means should this be used to try and illicit donations from unwilling individuals, which would be terrible for PR. After all, just because the service is there doesn’t mean people should be obliged to use it.