Future is digital for face-to-face

Face-to-face fundraisers could soon be using hand-held chip and pin machines or laptops to capture supporters' bank data.

Daryl Upsall, chief executive of non-profit sector consultancy Daryl Upsall Consulting International, told delegates at the Where Now For Face-to-Face Fundraising? conference in London last week that he expected UK fundraisers to begin testing the electronic devices in a year's time.

Face-to-face fundraisers in Canada have already started to use personal digital assistant systems to allow supporters to swipe bank cards and transfer their details on the spot. The method has been used mainly in shopping malls and secure locations to avoid concerns over identity theft.

US charities have also started to use laptops in malls so that supporters can type their bank details directly into charity databases.

Upsall, a former Greenpeace fundraising director, said charities would have to make sure that banking data was not stored on devices and was transmitted directly to banks or entered on web-based services.

He said there was also a risk that potential donors would be put off by expensive-looking equipment. Upsall asked: "Even if PDAs are cheap, what's the perception of them when you pull out flashy-looking equipment?"

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