There’s a new way to give charitable donations to churches, and it’s already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in the Catholic Diocese of Arundel and Brighton in the UK. Called contactless card donations, provided by Dona Donations, the system allows parishioners to make digital donations from terminals within their parish church or online.
According to NFCW, the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton has been using contactless cards since 2019. Since then, the diocese has installed 66 contactless terminals throughout its parish churches. In the four years since the practice began, parishioners have donated more than £650,000 (US $828,320) through contactless terminals, with £11.92 (US $15.19) as the average donation.
Along with offering a convenient way to make a donation without carrying around cash – which becomes rarer each day as more UK businesses go cashless – the terminals also swiftly register each donation with the UK’s Gift Aid plan.
Gift Aid allows charities and community sports clubs to claim up to an additional 25% on all donations, giving donors a bit more bang for their buck.
The Brighton Journal spoke with Patricia Wrightson, Gift Aid Coordinator for The Catholic Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, who said of the system:
“The use of contactless payments is on a steady increase in the UK and globally. Our diocese is benefiting from using Dona’s technology by providing parishioners within our parishes, and visitors to Arundel Cathedral, with the option of supporting the work, and mission of the Church, in an easy and modern way using contactless payment donations without the need to hunt for cash; which a high proportion of people generally don’t carry around much today.”
Wrightson went on to note that not only donations to the parish, but also parish office/shop transactions go through Dona. She said that votive candles, “fish-and-chips” dinners, and fundraising events can all be paid for digitally. What’s more, parishioners can make donations to third-party charities through their church. She said most parishes set up terminals at their entrances and exits in order to prevent disruption to parish activities.
“This technology is relatively easy to use, and for our parish staff or volunteers to set up. Once parishes start using it, they appreciate the benefits and do not look back. Payments are secure and the funds collected go speedily into the church’s bank account. A key benefit of contactless giving is avoiding the counting, storing, and banking of the cash, which is time consuming and a potential security risk. We value this, especially with many branches of banks closing.”
Dona Donations notes that its mission is to “help charities increase their donation income through technology.” While it remains unclear if the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton has had an increase in donations or if those who donate have just switched methods, the convenience and safety of this digital means of donation are significant to its parishes. It is likely that more contactless card terminals will be installed in UK dioceses following the success of Dona Donations.