Bob Willis Fund are bowled over by contactless donations at Blue for Bob Day!

In the ever-evolving landscape of fundraising, charities are continually seeking innovative ways to engage donors and streamline the donation process. One such organisation is the Bob Willis Fund, which recently started to collect contactless donations through Give A Little.

Written by Emma Rose September 11, 2023

is a charitable organisation established to honour the memory of Bob Willis, a renowned English cricketer and cricket commentator. The fund was set up to raise money for prostate cancer research and awareness, with the aim of achieving a national screening programme in the next 3-5 years

The charity seeks to make a positive impact through the popularity of cricket to promote social and health-related issues.

Each year, they host their flagship event ‘Blue for Bob Day’,  where  they use the power and community of cricket to come together to participate in various activities while contributing to the charity's mission. This year ‘Blue for Bob Day’ turned Edgbaston blue for the opening Ashes Test match between England and Australia, where spectators were asked to wear blue to support the cause. 

Ricky Moore, Operations Lead For The Bob Willis Fund told us why they were making the move to contactless donations “I think it's just about diversifying the ways people can give, we don't carry cash around much anymore. Some people like to still donate with the spare change on their card”. 

The charity had tried other methods of accepting donations previously, but struggled with each in some way - text-to-give donations have been successful for its large scale events where Sky has been supporting but they have recognised the need for other transparent and user-friendly approaches. 

This year, for the first time they introduced four CollecTin contactless donation boxes, in different areas, with unique campaigns set up for each through Give A Little so they could track the income through each device. 

Ricky Moore explained “We were using the devices basically as a more efficient way to collect donations for different elements of what we were running on the day. 

The main activity we had on the day was the ‘Bob's bowling zone’ which is where anyone can have a go at bowling as fast as you can, and you get extra points for impersonating Bob's action. It was a £10 donation to play.  We wanted to make the experience more engaging, transparent, and professional this year for the user and to tell a more compelling story.

We also had some merchandise - including caps and badges that we wanted to give out for free, but with a suggested donation of £20, as well as taking general donations, so we used the CollecTins and Give A Little to do that”

The charity found that donors responded really well to the devices and everyone understood what they were for. Ricky continued “I think the truth is that people are very used to giving this way now. The pandemic has just meant every aspect of our life now is contactless, isn't it? I think the CollecTins look very, very nice. And I really like that Give A Little allows us to add our branding and the ask to the screen, which makes the experience for the donor very clear. It looks smart and it looks professional, and people respond well to that”.

By using the different Give A Little campaigns, the charity ensured that each donation was recorded accurately, improving accountability and creating a more professional experience for the participants.

Since ‘Blue for Bob Day’, the charity has already embraced the opportunity to learn and adapt. Next year they want to separate the merchandise (they had baseball and wide brimmed hats) so they can track which item is the most popular without having to manually count at the end of the event.  

Also, next year we will want to make sure there is direct Wifi owned by The Bob Willis Fund for the devices to ensure clear connectivity all through the event. 

The charity has also since thought about other uses for the devices aside from the initial thoughts of using them solely at their own events which are quite geographically spread out. They’ve had supporters who have had to create online fundraising pages which aren’t always as accessible for people on the day and not always easy to use. Ricky described how for some supporters it will be easier just to get event organisers to support directly to the charity. Lending them a CollecTin contactless donation box would have been so much easier 

“We've actually had quite a few volunteers saying ‘we want to dedicate our cricket match to the Bob Willis Fund’ and they raised lots of money for us and engaged hundreds of people. Being able to say have a CollecTin with the screens branded up with a Give A Little campaign for events would be brilliant. It will also make life easier for the organiser who knows the money is going directly to the charity through the tin.

The charity also has a wonderful supporter who is taking on a big walking challenge to fundraise for them. Prostate and bone cancer sufferer Ron Hedley is organising 33 marches, one in every county playing Over 60s cricket over a period of 2 years (keep updated on his walks

). So far he has been collecting cash, with the job of then paying this into his own bank account to then forwarding on to the Bob Willis Fund. This is a great example of how the CollecTin can make Ron’s life a lot simpler. He is already doing enough admin and walking!

Asked whether using Give A Little to collect contactless donations improved  ‘Blue for Bob Day’, the answer was very positive, Ricky confirmed “Yes! I think we certainly understand more about the revenue streams, where they're coming from and what's making the most money versus what's generating awareness, versus a combination of both.  It’s definitely helped us and it’s enabled us to be more deliberate about what we're doing going forward”

And asked if they would recommend Give A Little to other charities, Ricky’s answer is perfect “Oh, I already have! I have certainly pushed it,  I work with another couple of charities as well. And we said how well it's gone and how we would absolutely recommend it”

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