Co-creating the future of charitable donations

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  • Almost 200 volunteers from Fujitsu Northern Ireland recently donned their running shoes for the UK wide ‘5K My Way’ challenge to raise support for its charity partner, Macmillan Cancer Support.

    As well as engaging in fundraising activity, Fujitsu is working with Macmillan to create a single technology platform to revolutionise the way volunteers and members of the public engage with the charity.   In the world of digital co-creation, the most important aspect of any project is being clear about the challenge that needs to be addressed.

    The society that we live in is an increasingly cashless one, with cards now making up more than half of all purchases. While that may be making things quicker and easier for people shopping in supermarkets or picking up the tab in a bar, it has presented a real challenge to charities.

    For cancer support charity Macmillan, the fact that plenty of people now rely solely on their cards when out shopping has made it difficult to keep up a healthy stream of donations to their charity buckets and other in-person donation sites.

    The challenge, then was to come up with a seamless payment method to allow people to make donations on the high street in the same way that they have in the past by dropping a few coins into a bucket.

    Crowd-sourced solutions

    Macmillan wanted Fujitsu’s help with understanding the potential return on investment of any solution that could help people make in-person donations.

    To come up with a range of ideas with potential, Fujitsu ran an online innovation programme in tandem with Macmillan.

    Through this platform, people from all over the world were able to contribute their ideas – and build on suggestions that others had put forward too.

    This approach worked wonders. Ultimately, building on a range of suggestions generated from the platform, the Fujitsu team developed more concrete proposals which in turn, were honed down to two prototyped solutions including a giant foam hand and a traditional bucket – both with a contactless-compatible card reader attached.

    The hand allows for quick £5 donations – letting people ‘high five’ Macmillan – while the bucket gives options of £3 or £5 sums. Meanwhile, a bespoke iPhone app lets people choose how much they’d like to donate.

    Gathering data with donations

    Trialling this technology isn’t just a case of working out whether people prefer to high five or use the bucket, it’s also providing a treasure trove of useful information.

    The team at Macmillan have been able to gather anonymised data to find out more about how much people typically wish to donate, as well as location information that can inform where’s best to place collection points.

    Melanie Failes, ‎Senior Partnership Manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, says that the response has been a positive one – with plenty of people acknowledging that they more often carrying cards than cash, and that these donation solutions are a welcome step forward.

    To see how simple the Macmillan ‘high five’ is in action, check out this short video the Fujitsu UK and Ireland Facebook Page. You can also find out more about our recent fundraising efforts for the charity here.

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