There are plenty of defining years in the history books, and as 2020 draws to a close, it’s almost certain that the global pandemic will ensure that this year is featured prominently. With events cancelled, launches delayed, and country-wide lockdowns, the way we work has changed forever. Still, for financial technology and surrounding industries, this was also a year of challenge and opportunity.
This December, The Fintech Times is asking industry leaders for their ‘View from the Top’ to gain an insight into the decisions behind the last 12-months. Today we’re looking at the issue of Charity, hearing from Vicky Reeves, Steve Wilks and David Torr on their 2020 thoughts, plus a look ahead to 2021. Will there be a Happy New Year? Read on…
With the coronavirus pandemic bringing about one of the most significant global humanitarian crises in recent memory, its no wonder that charities have been feeling the strain this year. While donations are generally holding steady despite Covid-19, charities are feeling the pressure as there are more people to help and less resources to do so. Fintechs can be a huge help in this, whether that’s developing contactless donation systems in shops or powering fundraising solutions online. In this View from the Top, companies WPNC, For Good Causes and UCOOK outline their own 2020 experience.
Vicky Reeves is the Digital Managing Director at WPNC Digital, and works with charities to create digital experiences and digital fundraising products. It is these digital experiences that Vicky believes has been the major trend of the year.
“I can’t recall a more turbulent year for the charity sector but there have been some unexpected benefits. Chief among these is the rush to digitisation. A number of organisations that have digital transformation in their roadmaps for the next three to five years have succeeded in delivering services online in the space of just six months.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is also responsible for a rapid rise in online donations during 2020. With regular face-to-face collections nearly impossible supporters have turned to digital channels – and in great numbers.
“As part of this, I’ve noticed a surge in donations using payment wallets. For example, in previous years charities received an average of around 2% of their supporter income through Apple Pay; that has now rocketed to 9%.
“I believe these changes will outlast the pandemic because people are now more comfortable with donating online. If that is the case then it will be vital for charities to consider how they can offer donors a range of payment methods to suit their needs. Platforms including goDonate power donations made through leading charities’ website, giving supporters a frictionless experience.
“Finally, it’s worth noting the success some charities have enjoyed by reshaping their core fundraising messages around Covid-related campaigns. This is much easier to do for, say, a homeless appeal than a landmine charity. But, in general, we are witnessing the power of digital marketing when organisations want to echo prominent issues and create emotional connections with supporters who are spending more time online.”
Steve Wilks is CEO and one of the three founders of For Good Causes, working to transform charitable giving – creating new ways to donate by connecting brands, charities and consumers to create new revenue for social and environmental causes. He believes that the demand for businesses to have a positive impact on their communities was a key feature of 2020.
“Since its beginnings, the Fintech community has helped people and organisations manage financial activities, processes and indeed their lives. Responding to a paucity of innovation at pace in the financial sector, Fintechs revolutionised consumer service expectations in a comparatively short period of time.
“Of course, consumer expectations continually evolve. Take 2020 for example. Who could have foreseen the structural changes to the way so many people live and work? The most successful organisations will be those that can react quickly using the agility and innovative mindsets for which Fintechs are renowned.
“One recurring and dominant theme is the consumer expectation that businesses have a positive social impact on the communities in which they live and work. Research shows that consumers actively gravitate towards businesses that demonstrate such behaviours. Of course for this to be sustainable, an effective value exchange is required that benefits businesses, consumers and social causes, and this is one area where we may expect to see Fintechs focus in the future. For example, at For Good Causes we work with clients across a broad range of sectors, to generate measurable increases in customer lifetime value by enabling customers to recycle rewards and incentives to support social and environmental causes.
“Agility and innovation are the hallmarks of the fintech world, and we can anticipate that these will be brought to bear to respond to evolving customer needs over time. For those fintechs that can do so whilst also deploying effective commercial models, the future looks bright.”
David Torr is CEO of UCOOK, a foodtech that provides one of South Africas most popular food kits. For him, 2020 has been about making positive impacts despite the circumstances.
“Since inception, UCOOK has maintained an ethos centred around making a positive impact in the space in which we operate. We have always invested heavily in our sourcing protocols, supplier partnerships and ethical business practice, and this has translated (particularly during this pandemic) into addressing the fundamental needs of those most affected. Knowing that we’re making a difference, however big or small, in people’s lives is what keeps us motivated – from making dinner time easier for a family, to giving a route to market to a small-scale local farmer and doing our part to fight hunger.
“In the past 6 months, UCOOK arranged a virtual concert with 13 international and local artists in support of NGOs, launched The UCOOK Food Fund that contributed just over a million rand to worthy organisations, and created a nationally recognised campaign that channelled funds into a few Cape-based restaurants suffering from the extended lockdown.
“For UCOOK, giving back (and developing long term solutions to our fragile food system and industry) is as important as providing an exceptional service to each and every customer.”