Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity introduces contactless donations

In their ongoing effort to raise funds for their crucial work, Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity, has embraced Give A Little to collect cashless donations.

Written by Emma Rose August 21, 2023

The charity , which helps seriously ill babies, children and young people at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP) by supporting their medical care, mental health and family’s wellbeing, recognised the need for a more convenient and accessible method of collecting donations as society has become increasingly cashless. The charity chose to invest in a CollecTin More contactless donation box, which uses Give A Little software, as it can be used portably, which really appealed as they host a range of events across the city.

“It was a sign of the times that we needed to have the opportunity for people to donate contactlessly” says Fiona Brian, Fundraiser at Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity 

In December 2022, to engage the local community and raise funds, the charity organised 19 performances which involved 30 volunteers fundraising with cash buckets and the CollectTin. The performances were held on the steps of The Dome restaurant in Edinburgh, and featured various choirs who volunteered to perform for two hours each, creating a festive atmosphere and attracting a crowd. The contactless device, along with the eye-catching, branded fundraising campaign, which they created on Give A Little, was a big hit with the Edinburgh public.

Fiona commented:

“The CollecTin and Give A Little were really well received by our donors. Before we introduced a contactless giving method, lots of people would say “sorry, I've not got any cash”, which meant we were definitely losing donations. Now we can say “that's not a problem, we take cards”. 

The charity’s  volunteers were quick to pick up using the device and Give A Little. Fiona continued “Our volunteers were immediately on board. Once we showed them, they were all “yeah, these are great”  because it’s all so simple. We didn’t need to do any training - I just wrote three tips on a piece of paper! 

And I think what surprised me when I first used CollecTin with Give A Little, is that there were no questions about it, people just knew what it was, walked over and donated!”.

The charity found that the device was so simple to use, that even The Dome got involved! 

“We've built up such a nice special relationship with The Dome. The concierge was so involved in making sure the choirs and the volunteers were happy, that actually by the end of December, when the volunteers were handing everything back, he was putting the CollecTin on the front desk to get more donations!”

The charity has continued to extend the use of Give A Little at their events, and are using the campaigns really effectively for the different types of collections. 

Fiona explains: “For the street collections and supermarket bag packs where the donors are potentially in a hurry, or just walking by,  we want to make the donation process as quick and easy as possible, so we tend to leave the marketing opt-ins switched off, whereas at other events such as working with the local Royal Bank of Scotland who are more engaged, we enable  both the marketing opt-in as well as Gift Aid on Give A Little. It’s great to have that flexibility.” 

With there being no security or logistical concerns over handling cash, the charity is now happy to let volunteers take the device out to events that staff are not attending. Although Linda admitted that the first time she was slightly nervous about handing over their precious CollecTin, the fact that she could log in to the charity’s Give A Little account remotely and check on the donations quickly reassured her that everything was fine.: 

“When I logged into our Give A Little admin account, I could see that people were obviously tapping away and that quite a lot of donations had gone through. And it’s great that the money comes straight into our bank account.  The CollecTin and Give A Little is such an easy and simple way to give our volunteers something  to use at events that has our charity branding and messaging.”

The charity has perfected the process now, with volunteers using the device at events and then charging it overnight before it’s returned to the charity the next day, although Fiona and Linda recall one rather comical dashed handover in a car park! 

Fiona added: “We have a wide range of opportunities to use Give A Little - for example, Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity has a stall in the hospital once a month, and we also have opportunities with local supermarkets and businesses as well as  volunteer-led events. We always take the CollecTin along to events, even when donations aren’t necessarily the goal. Having it there just gives people the option, so why not?”.  

The charity’s next big fundraising drive will be in August, the month when the city comes alive with a variety of festivals and events, most famously the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, one of the most renowned arts festivals in the world. In 2022 over 2.2 million tickets were issued not to mention the non-ticketed events and additional tourists to the city. 

Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity will again be hosting performances on The Dome steps during the Fringe, and they’ll be ready to take contactless donations from people from all over the world, as before they were given euros in cash, which can be a bit of a pain!

On why they would recommend Give A Little to other charities, Fiona said:

“We’d definitely recommend Give A Little and CollecTin to any charities looking to collect contactless donations. The CollecTin is really flexible as you can use it portably or in a fixed location and the Give A Little software gives us loads of great features whether it’s the ability to created branded fundraising campaigns or enable really useful features like Gift Aid and marketing opt-in.”

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