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“Tap” into your Digital Fundraising Goals with Contactless Donations

As museums are beginning to open worldwide and visitors are slowly but surely flocking back to their hallowed halls it’s time to think about how to incorporate digital fundraising methods into the in-person visit. In 2019, 26% of charities reported an increase in cashless donations and that number is likely to increase further as younger people gravitate towards card usage and are overall less likely to carry cash.[1] In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has made card payments the gold standard and cash nearly obsolete when it comes to health and safety in museums. Contactless card payment measures have made it all too easy to tap here and tap there for small purchases and many museums have already taken advantage of this technological innovation to increase donations and further digital fundraising campaigns.

This article will go over why you should consider incorporating contactless donation portals into your museum digital fundraising strategy and some methods you can employ to increase your chances of hitting your goals. We’ll talk about the importance of donation terminal locations, how to prep visitors to contribute, and the key to developing a cohesive and successful elevator pitch to encourage donations.

Location, location, location

This phrase isn’t just for real estate developers, it’s important to consider location when planting donation portals (both physical and digital) around your museum. Look at footfall and dwell time around your space to determine the best location for contactless donation devices. Once these hotspots have been identified, make sure that there is clear signage indicating how to donate and why your museum needs financial support. Consider positioning staff or volunteers nearby as well to promote donations and speak with visitors about the museum’s fundraising goals.

In 2019, People’s History Museum in Manchester introduced a contactless donation terminal to their front desk to supplement cash donation. As the first point of contact within the museum, the front desk was a great location for this terminal as it was already staffed by visitor service staff members who were able to encourage donations and provide a warm welcome. According to research from fundraising software company Goodbox, 84% of organisations that have purchased their contactless donation software have seen a full return on investment within 12 months. With People’s History Museum however, recouping the initial investment only took 42 days.[2] Along with increased contributions and visibility, adding contactless donations also gave People’s History Museum the chance to learn valuable information about how and when visitors were donating. They learned for example that Friday, Saturday and Sunday were the biggest donation days with the time period between 1-2pm being the most prosperous.[3] Gaining insight into these valuable giving patterns can help inform where and when to focus future digital fundraising efforts. Contactless donations can provide much more information than a fiver dropped into a box… Just another reason to consider introducing more digital donation methods!

Prep visitors to donate

Chances are that before visitors come to you, they will check out your museum’s website to learn about admission hours, parking, what to eat etc… Including information about contactless donations can help prep visitors to come ready to tap and support. If you have a map of your museum, add the location of donation terminals and include specifics about what a £1, £5 and £10 donation could do to help. Be sure that your museum’s visiting/contact page has donation information as well and consider adding support links to your website footer so visitors can access from any page on the site.

Why not branch out into social media accounts as well? Just as visitors may frequent your website to learn about logistical information before coming to your space, they may also flock to your museum’s social media accounts as well. Be sure to regularly incorporate posts about your museum’s contactless donation abilities into your organisation’s social media plan to keep current and new visitors in the loop.

Messaging is key

Be sure to educate all staff members about where contactless donation portals are located throughout your museum and what to say to visitors regarding the importance of donating. In general, fundraising should involve all levels of staffing and have organisational buy-in across the board to be successful – impactful appeal campaigns don’t grow in silos! Work with all staff members to create a short, purpose-led elevator pitch about why your museum needs financial support from visitors and what they can do to back your organisation.

Just as it’s important to keep museum audiences in the loop about digital fundraising efforts, it’s just as imperative to keep museum staff informed. Consider doing this through a weekly newsletter or memo updating all staff members on current and upcoming appeals and how they can play a part in making them a success. Need a hand explaining to your co-workers the potential of digital fundraising and what it can do for your museum? Check out this MuseumNext article which touches on the importance of all-staff involvement for digital fundraising.

“Tap” into digital fundraising success

In this article we’ve gone over the revolution that is contactless payments and how your museum can harness that technology to further digital fundraising goals. By prioritising contactless donation terminal locations, prepping visitors on how and why they should donate via museum websites and social media channels and developing an all-staff approach to encouraging donations, your museum can leverage the power and popularity of contactless donations.

With 69% of adults in the UK now using contactless payments, and no age group or region falling below 58% usage, the future of fundraising really is digital with contactless donations being right at the forefront.[4] Although contactless donation software isn’t necessarily cheap, it’s definitely worth the investment. GoodBox, GiveTap, LibertyPay, tap+DONATE, Square and SumUp are all contactless donation software companies that are worth looking into. As with any digital fundraising software, it’s worth taking your time and doing research before investing in one system. Best of luck with your fundraising efforts and we hope that your visitors are happy to “tap”!

[1] Blackbaud, 2019, The Status of UK Fundraising 2019 Benchmark Report,

[2] Goodbox, 2020,

[3] Goodbox, 2020,

[4] UK Finance, 2019,


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About the author – Devon Turner

Devon Turner is an Arts & Culture Writer. She has worked extensively in arts marketing for both the visual arts and performing arts in the US and UK. Now living in London, Devon works in the arts and culture sector and enjoys traveling to visit museums.

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