Wetwheels Foundation are Making Waves with Give A Little

Wetwheels Foundation set sail on their contactless donation journey with Give A Little earlier this year, pointing the compass toward a future where collecting donations wasn’t seen as another obstacle or hazard getting in the way of carrying out their charitable activities.

Written by Emma Rose January 9, 2024

Wetwheels Foundation is a charitable organisation dedicated to making boating experiences accessible to individuals with disabilities and those facing physical challenges. With Operations around the United Kingdom the Wetwheels experience is designed to give every disabled person the chance to experience the excitement of power boating. The contactless donation box is based with their Wetwheels South East operator.

Wetwheels is unique by being fully accessible - not just giving guests the chance to be a passenger, but also to take the helm as the skipper. Experiences with Wetwheels South East range from seal watching, to viewing the iconic White Cliffs of Dover from a new perspective.

As an organisation run by a small team of volunteers, being able to take donations from the public easily and quickly is key. Considering the nature of their work, people tend to not bring a lot when they visit,  so having the ability to take contactless donations is extremely important.

Elspeth Dunn, who heads up the office admin and also crews the boat explained “We are a cashless office. People book online before coming in and because of the type of experience that we do, people don't tend to bring valuables with them, they'll tend to bring a phone and car keys, and they'll leave their handbags and other things somewhere safe. They don't bring cash with them.

We also don't take cash - in terms of counting and banking, it costs us money so it is actually a nightmare for us!”

Before they started using Give A Little they had no way of taking donations ‘in the moment’ from visitors, so in terms of making a difference to income, “it’s been a great addition” according to Elspeth. Previously they would direct people to an online giving page, but very often, once the moment had passed, people would forget to follow through. Having the ability to now take donations immediately, especially with digital wallets, has meant this doesn't happen.

When asked what made them choose Give A Little having completed their contactless giving research, ‘features , cost transparency and affordability’ came out on top - James Dunn, Operations Director says “There were also no hidden fees, and in terms of what we pay, and what we receive, it’s a very fair exchange of value.”

They currently have a CollecTin More contactless donation box, which uses Give A Little software, in their office and because it can also be used portably, they take it out and about to outreach events and opportunities, and when they team up with the other Wetwheels regions.

This summer they took it along to a fundraising evening for Wetwheels Foundation hosted by Sovereign Harbour Yacht club where they used it to collect raffle money. They’ll also be taking it along when they speak within the community for The Rotary clubs and the Women's Institute. 

The fact that they can create and change campaigns easily through their Give A Little account is something they’re looking forward to using for these kinds of events. 

The charity is  very mindful about when to ask for contactless donations from those who visit.

Elspeth explains “mentioning that we can now collect contactless donations is determined by who we're talking to and it also depends on who's doing the trip or the experience. We have some people with some very complex needs and they may come from a care home with their carers. We know that their finances are possibly a barrier.  They’re joining our trips because they've received funding to do so,  but then you'll find that sometimes because they see the CollecTin, they will then donate what they can too which is lovely”.

Other visitors who go out on the boat as private charters or groups, are potentially more likely to have the financial means to make donations, and the charity has been astonished to receive some very generous gifts, including one donation of £1,000! This is possible because Give A Little allows donors to select from set donation amounts but also a ‘choose your own amount’ option.

Recently they gave away a charter trip as part of a competition, the trip was free, but having the CollecTin contactless donation box  there, and with the charity branding and donation amounts so beautifully displayed thanks to Give A Little, they also took over £90 in donations from the small group who’d had a fantastic experience. As Elspeth says “If we weren’t using Give A Little we wouldn't have received those donations”

When asked if people found Give A Little easy to use, the answer was refreshing and thought provoking - Elspeth continued “In a more cashless world, most people are clued up and find it easy to use, it’s just a tap of their card or they’ll use their digital wallet. If there are people who are less tech savvy, one of the team will talk them through it. We only have 12 people on the boat at any one time so we've got time to talk them through it if needed.  Actually we find that people with disabilities are very used to finding techniques to overcome their disabilities, and so they are far more technologically savvy - they have to be for the changing dynamics of their world”

On the subject of what benefits and improvements they’ve seen since working with Give A Little, Elspeth said “Having Give A Little  just makes life easier -  especially because everything we do is cashless! You don't have to worry about the inconvenience of getting to a bank to pay money in, the additional cost of that, the time finding money bags and doing all the counting. The risk of walking to a bank with money clunking around and all that sort of horrible stuff,  it's all in one place. 

I really like that Give A Little allows you to display whichever campaign you want, change it up easily and make it look beautiful,  and having the CollecTin, which is portable is such an easy thing to carry around. It's something different that people are interested in.”

To finish up, we asked Elspeth what advice she would give to other charities and organisations considering cashless fundraising with Give A Little. She was quick to answer  “Don't mull over it too much. Just do it, and make use of the help and support that is available from the brilliant people at Give A Little. Talk about it! Tell people about it and let potential donors know about it!

And with that, we left Elspeth and James in their beachfront office being distracted by the ferries!

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