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Innovate Blog: Using contactless donations to raise funds and save lives

by Lauren Pincott, Innovation Delivery Manager 

RNLI fundraisers at The Boat Race

Photo: RNLI/Lauren Pincott

Digital technology is revolutionising the way we shop, sell and donate. With many people moving towards digital payments and away from cash, the ability to accept contactless donations is becoming increasingly important. So how can we make this possible for our volunteer fundraisers?

What is the RNLI doing?

On 7 April 2019, the RNLI launched contactless donations at the Boat Race in London. We were the official charity partner for the event, with around 250,000 people watching the race from the banks of the river. This marked the start of a 6-month trial which will run across the UK and Ireland. 

We have 33 core units designed to suit all fundraising environments – whether mounted on counter tops or worn with a lanyard for street collections – and 33 affordable, mobile phone-sized mini units.

We’ll be testing these at local events, lifeboat stations, RNLI shops and in partner locations such as the restaurant MEATliquor in London. We’re also installing a mini unit in a lifeboat station window so that even when the station is closed, the public can tap to donate!

What’s next for contactless and the RNLI?

We’ll be keeping a close eye on the way the units perform in different situations. Once the trial is finished, we can make some recommendations and hopefully roll out contactless donations in areas where it will be most beneficial. That way, we can help raise the vital funds we desperately need to continue saving lives at sea.

If you’d like to find out more about this, you can contact RNLI Innovation Manager Lauren Pincott on [email protected]