Digital round-up: Thyngs launches instant donations platform

Plus: Nominet Trust report highlights key tech areas for 2018; Lottery fund cash to boost digital skills in Cambridge hospital; Friends of the Earth to launch plastic-free campaign

Charities are being invited to target digitally savvy donors with a new service that allows supporters to give instant donations by scanning QR codes with their smartphones.

Good Thyngs provides charities with a unique code that allows them to receive funds through Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal donations, and can also be added to posters, leaflets, stickers, and badges worn by staff and volunteers.

Donors scan the charity’s Good Thyngs code, select one of the donation amounts set by the charity, choose their payment method and confirm the donation with their fingerprint or a stored card. Gift Aid declarations can also be made without having to enter any details.

"The Good Thyngs sign-up process is incredibly simple, and this new service means that charities can now reach a new generation of mobile-savvy donors quickly and cost-effectively," said Thyngs chief executive Neil Garner.

"With cash donations falling and smartphone use increasing, it gives any registered charity a low-risk way to take advantage of the growth in mobile payments."

The service is free for charities to join, but fees on donations will be taken and the amount will vary depending on which platform processes the payments.

Thyngs said the variation was due to the fees charged by Stripe and PayPal for processing payments. Stripe currently charges registered charities 1.2 per cent plus 20p of each donation and PayPal charges 1.4 per cent plus 20p.

Thyngs charges 2.5 per cent, so the fee on a £10 donation will be either 57p or 59p depending on whether it's an Apple Pay/Google Pay/card payment or a PayPal payment.

NT100 report

Five tech trends will transform "our lives for the better" in 2018, according to a new report from the Nominet Trust.

The report Transforming Lives with Tech: A Global Conversation, commissioned by the tech investment company and based on an analysis of 400 projects and 10 in-depth case studies, provides insights into what it takes to enable social tech ventures to achieve impact at scale.

Among the key trends highlighted is the continued rise of Blockchain, the secure, decentralised and transparent system that Nominet says will bring inclusion to billions of people as socially motivated ventures harness its potential to improve financial systems.

The report acknowledges how artificial intelligence is already a part of modern life, from Google search rankings to iPhone’s face ID. It says the trust expects AI to handle ever more complex data to transform the way in which key services, including healthcare and education, are delivered.

The implementation and use of immersive technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality are also expected to increase, particularly in healthcare, while unmanned and autonomous vehicles are expected to become mainstream. Finally, the report highlights the broadening of the boundaries of bionics.

Vicki Hearn, director of the Nominet Trust, said: "We firmly believe that, when social needs are baked into the very early stages of tech development, the transformational effect on people’s lives is multiplied.

"The insights and trends brought together in our new report aim to inspire the next generation of innovators and to encourage those who have the resources and expertise to create an environment in which socially transformative tech can grow and scale."

The full report can be downloaded here.

A Cambridge charity is to provide hospital patients with opportunities to boost thei digital media skills after being awarded £87,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

The money given to 20Twenty Productions will be used for oncology patients at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, including those diagnosed with all forms of cancer and leukaemia. The charity said going through long-term treatment and time in hospital can affect people’s education and careers. It said it hoped the project would give people the opportunity to learn new skills and gain digital qualifications, as well boosting people’s confidence and supporting their transition back into their community and the workplace.

The project has been designed by young people aged 14 to 25 staying on the Teenage Cancer Trust ward, alongside adults aged up to 50 staying on the oncology wards. People taking part will learn about app and game development, 3D animation, photography, graphic design, music production, film-making and web design.

Tim Nightingale, digital director at 20Twenty Productions, said: "This project teaches new skills at a time when opportunities for digital learning are extremely limited, and also gives people a more positive experience of staying in hospital. We are proud and excited to have received three years of funding to deliver this project."

FOTe website

Friends of the Earth is focusing on digital media to promote its latest initiative, #PlasticFreeFriday, aimed at reducing single-use plastic.

Launching next week, the campaign will encourage people to go "plastic-free" each Friday and to share their #PlasticFreeFriday experiences on social media. FoE is asking supporters to: follow tips and hints to avoid single-use plastics on Fridays; share their commitment by posting images of their plastic-free days, along with their own tips; tag @friends_earth and use the hashtag #PlasticFreeFriday in their posts; and make a plastic-free pledge via a new page (which goes live on 16 February) on the organisation’s website.

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