Contactless Giving

I had some…thoughts about a new campaign, so I’m transcribing them here:

<Deep breath> So the @SalvationArmyNZ is running their Winter Appeal right now. This is good. Give how you want. @givahoy will pass on 100% of donations nationally. But that isn’t what I’m going to tweet about here.

They have partnered with Windcave to put contactless payment terminals in bus stops. *This* is what interests me. It perpetuates the “big charity partner” imbalance in collections. Not only can they pay more for ads, but they will be in a position to get tech support like this.

It is also quite easy to accidentally make a donation. While the rogue terminal swiping people’s contactless card is, pretty much, a myth, a terminal like this is legitimate. And if you wanted to check if a stolen card was working…

*Please* don’t go waving around your cards in public places. It’s just not wise. A $3 gift is _fine_. Donors get no receipt for their donation, and the charity gets no insight. It’s zero connection, zero heart. This might be a lot to one person and negligible to another.

I understand why they are doing it. It’s easy and contactless payment is widely available now. But it’s not free, it’s hollow, and there are risks. It’s not for everyone, giving or receiving.

I built Givahoy so that people could give sincerely. It helps both givers and fundraisers without inequity. I sincerely believe that if it’s easy and small amounts are facilitated, that people will be perpetually generous. It’s who we are.

I would like to add that there are no bad actors here (allowing for differences of opinion on charities). Everyone is trying to do good. I’m strongly of the view that we can all do and achieve more, and get more back!

#fundraising #contactless #giving

Cashlessness on TV! Kind of.

Last week I had the excellent opportunity to speak at Techweek on the subject of cashlessness. All were ANZ people, but I was able to bring a slightly different perspective, both from fraud analysis and from Givahoy’s generosity angle. You can watch it here:

I think it’s worth elaborating on my contribution a little.

In the first question about fraud and cashlessness, my point was that fraudsters can only take the cash you carry, while cashless alternatives fundamentally enable fraudsters access to all available funds via credit card limits or bank accounts. However, it is important to add that, from a customer perspective, their risk is lower. Banks will reimburse victims of fraud according to rules and regulations. Plus, of course, the excellent work done by the fine fraud teams of all the banks means that losses are generally mitigated and halted early.

But the point is still valid: digital payment means carrying around all the information required to take money from you. And that, to me, is not the same for giving. Giving is not a transaction.

The second question was about my approach to helping people give while cashless. Generosity should, in my view, be sincere and straightforward. Viral marketing and manipulative, emotive messaging aimed at harvesting contact information for future donation mining is cynical and plays into a similar mindset that I spend my days trying to protect people from! And it does mean that well-funded, strongly-partnered charities will be in a better position to take money from well-wishers, as they will be able to disseminate their messages as well as have simple payment (rather than giving) options.

I enjoyed this a lot and would love to do more, and build on the ideas I’m looking to nurture. I hope you have a watch.

Social Isolation

If you are stuck at home, feeling frustrated, then why not drop a dollar from your usual coffee/scone routine into a local foodbank or shelter. These are essential for people with fewer options and often greater vulnerability.

Givahoy has some of these set up for major centres, but we would love to include more regional ones. Please get in touch and we’ll include them. What this means is that when a Givahoy user runs the app, those shelters relevant to the prospective donor will be shown, so it’s a short list.

Shelters and foodbanks: Please send me the relevant location (latitude and longitude, preferably) and name, along with a bank account and we’ll pass on 100% of donations. This costs nothing to the shelter nor the donor.


#fundraising #charity #foodbank #shelter


Happy New Year!

As you may be aware, the “Ahoy!” part of “Givahoy” comes from an affection for the romanticised pirate of yore. Think Crimson Pirate rather than Blackbeard, Errol Flynn more than Captain Morgan. That’s the proximity/location side of the Givahoy equation if you like.

Using this information, we can set up treasure hunts. Or cafe treks, pub crawls orĀ whatever you would like. If we are provided with your locations and clues/directions, we’ll set these up for you.

gray wooden coin box with green leaf plant on gray sand
Photo by Pixabay on

When the players go to your first location and run Givahoy, they’ll see the first clue. Make a $0 donation and refresh the list and the next clue will show.

The locations can be beacon-driven (for smaller areas, or where the location is precise (e.g. a cafe or house)), or location-driven (for parks, stations etc).

As a suggestion, if it’s a walking set, then use beacons, but if it’s bus/car/bike etc, then use locations.

Drop us a line ( if you’d like to try it out!

A Word on Charitable Donations

You may already be aware that charitable donations can be used to get a tax refund. Every receipted donation over $5 can be listed on the IR526 form

person holding pink piggy coin bank

Photo by on

Here’s the summary from You have:

  • made a donation of $5 or more to an approved donee organisation where the payment is voluntary and there is no identifiable direct benefit to you or your family in return for making the payment
  • earned taxable income (such as salary or wages, benefit, NZ Super, self-employed income, interest and dividends) during the year you’re claiming for
  • were resident in New Zealand at any time during that tax year, and
  • are an individual (not a company, trust or partnership)

Bluntly, people are unlikely to do this for many of our donations. Dropping coins or a note in a bucket or donation box will *never* be accompanied by a receipt request. Even card gifts on EFTPOS will return an informal receipt which would not meet the criteria for tax benefits.

But here’s the good news.

All charitable donations via Givahoy are made through the Giving Technology Charitable Trust. This is a registered charity (number CC55071). (Other great organisations like the One Percent Collective and The Gift Trust use a similar model for more regular giving)
This means that if you give just $5 per month to a variety of charities, you’re donating $60 a year. You can get $20 back. Treat yourself, get necessities, give again: It’s your money, your choice.

If you are dropping $5 a week, that’s $250 per year – over $80 in refund.

Why not help your family give this way and collect all the receipts? Why not encourage your school, church or society to collect this way and help everyone?

So Givahoy is a free app that gets you money. Why would you not give?

School Donations

The school which my son attends is a pretty normal NZ school. There are frequent collections and charity campaigns. The children themselves also run campaigns and ask for gold coin donations, supported by the school.

This is great, of course. The children get to think big, to challenge their organisational skills, to stimulate others, and to make a difference.

They also are required to manage cash, which is where I believe we’re putting too much on the children.
Cash is intrinsically a temptation, as it is untraceable, easily stolen and lost, and awkward to physically handle.
Givahoy offers a simple and effective option to this. The schools’ locations can be set up as donation points themselves for any campaign the school wishes. Furthermore, beacons can be provided to the children for specific periods of time and all donations are logged and controlled with no cash changing hands. Plus, and perhaps most importantly, the charity gets visibility of the fundraiser themselves so they can make appropriate acknowledgement.

Between these dates, this fundraiser, at this school, raised $x from y donors for your cause. Let’s celebrate!

Why not?

auditorium benches chairs class
Photo by Pixabay on

Know Your Future Donor have put up a neat analysis of a recent Blackbaud report on
donors. Report summary
My attention was drawn to a chart on mobile giving. While I believe this will change as older givers grow more comfortable with mobile giving, it shows that younger givers are already connected with the medium, as you’d expect.
65% website
37% app
32% text to donate
App giving is close to home for me, and this is a high figure, in my view. Although once people have a trusted app installed, this makes sense. I want Givahoy to be such an app.
Texting to donate is notoriously inefficient, from a money perspective. Fees to the service provider and the networks make it of limited appeal.

This is where I would like to do some research. Most NZ charity donation pages are, obviously, owned by the fundraising arm of the charity. This means they ask for more information than they need for the gift. Name, address, phone number, employer? How many prospective givers are turned away by this?
How many people tell a collector they will give later and then simply don’t (for whatever reason)?
How many people would give, but don’t have the money *right now* and then never get back to it?
How many people don’t give because they don’t wish to waste the donation on a middleman – an agency, payment provider or other assorted fees?

An informed and connected donor base will absolutely and rightly ask questions. We need good answers.

Slicing the Pie


I think it is about time that I articulated one elephant-in-the-room aspect of Givahoy, which is where it fits in relation to money. And here it is:

It is not right to take a cut of donations.

There are many reasons for this, specifically for Givahoy as well as in general:
1. Costs do not increase with the amount. You may claim to be subsidising the lower donation fees with the larger ones, but if the fees aren’t capped, then this is just revenue. Why is it not a flat fee to the charity per collection?
2. There are already free ways to give, and these really are pretty simple and people could/should be encouraged to use them. Cash works, but there’s less of it being used, and bank transfers are a bit fiddly for one-offs, but simple for regular giving. Inserting a paid payments layer in there is cynical.
3. These are not traditional transactions – the giver is not receiving something in exchange for the donation, so the purchased guarantee and urgency of a payment is not necessary. The parties can be *trusted* to be acting appropriately.
4. Fees give a reason to not give. The street fundraising chuggers get sign-ups using automatic payments which cost nothing, but the fundraising company will take a significant portion of the giving (decreasing over time from figures like 80% – so 20% reaches the charity in the first year). This puts people off.
5. Contactless terminals are really simple and offer a lot of advantages, but someone is paying for the device, for the merchant fees, for the interchange, and effectively it comes out of the donations. Merchants and customers both dislike the fees aspect, despite the obvious benefit.

We want the donor and the fundraiser to both feel great about giving.

So how does an alternative look?
The Givahoy approach is to charge for value added. If an organisations wants to talk to donors, then we can provide that channel, to the equivalent of cash donations where the donor was unknown. How effective are different messages, or different fundraisers? What locations are best, and in what weather conditions? How well did a campaign go? These questions can be answered by Givahoy.

Givahoy has been set up to remove the hurdles to giving. In addition, we are removing hurdles to collecting – with a bank account number, charity number, and campaign locations and dates where relevant, fundraisers can be set up immediately and at no charge. In return we just want fundraisers to let people know they can give with Givahoy.

The more places people can give, the more people will be wanting to give. This is a classic network effect. We want your help to get there.

If you are a fundraiser and want to give Givahoy a try, then please get in touch!

Jim (