A cashless society might sound like a futuristic fantasy, but the UK is already well on its way to such a landscape and with the full backing of the government and banks. One of the greatest casualties of such an environment would be the charities – the days of shaking a collection pot for coins are numbered and in order to survive, charities will need to embrace the technology needed to continue their fundraising without donations made in actual cash. Despite being worth £583bn globally, the charity sector is underserviced and ripe for disruption: currently, the sector is trailing behind the corporate world by five years in terms of digital skills and, in 2016, the House of Lords reported that 49% of the 167,000 registered UK charities would be out of business before 2021, if they fail to adapt to this new technological mindset.
The Manchester start-up GoodBox offers a solution. Started in 2016, the three co-founders share a wealth of experience and skills – Andrew O’Brien is a former banker with Credit Suisse, Francesca Hodgson previously head of BCG Charity Day and Tibor Bana is an Oxford University computer science graduate. The GoodBox mission is a fairly simple one: to provide a single point of entry to a pioneering hardware, payments and banking platform that has been specifically designed and developed to manage, grow and maximise every penny of the philanthropic transactions made globally each year and, ultimately, to enable charities to reach their full potential. They offer three types of hardware – GBx Mini for smaller installations, GBx Core for counter top and mobile contactless payments and the GBx Pro, for museums and public spaces.
The concept is proven: over £1m has been raised through the GoodBox technology thus far and, despite very small spend on Google search optimisation, the business has received a great deal of media coverage. The Independent reports that the National History Museum began trialling contactless payments with GoodBox and saw a rise in visitor donations of 22%. A similar venture with the Teenage Cancer Trust increased donations by 15-20 per cent. The team are now working with 40 museums and the terminals can now be found in 12 cathedrals, five hospitals and other top attractions including the National Portrait Gallery, the V&A and the Tate galleries. Not only does the terminal take the payment, it can also switch between campaigns and show multimedia to truly tug at the heartstrings and thus make people more likely to donate.
GoodBox has already raised £1.3m; the team would like to raise £5m in total – with a minimum of £2m – to fuel their sales and marketing, grow the team and ultimately scale.