Monday, April 16, 2007

Cool Kiosk Concept

I don't carry cash. I don't carry my checkbook. I do carry my credit/debit card that deducts money only from my checking account. It functions like a credit card, but I don't amass debt. I think it is one of the best concepts ever. One card. Easy to put in a pocket. Easy to use everywhere.

Except church.

I just read in the March/April edition of AFP's Advancing Philanthropy about churches installing kiosks that allow parishoners to make their weekly offering by swiping their debit card. They only allow debit cards because they don't want the congregation going into debt. It's a convenience to their worshippers to make their tithe as simple as possible.

Why not install these kiosks in central areas for donors to give to their favorite cause? This would be something that could be in every shopping mall in the country for people to give when the spirit moved them (like during the holiday shopping season). Organizations with annual conventions, meetings and conferences could install them for donors to make a contribution when they are the most motivated about the purpose of the charity. The use of a touch screen that guided people to make their gift would be simple service to donors.

Yes, donors can make their gifts online at any time. But a visible kiosk with the novelty of giving at an opportune time, may be a new way to acquire new donors. Bank ATM machines ought to consider giving their customers the opportunity to make a donation either to a selected charity or to select from a list of registered non-profit agencies.

This would be an ideal concept for United Ways to utilize. They could install kiosks in company lobbies for employees to make their donations. Perhaps these are only installed during peak "drive" times so the novelty remains fresh. (Consider this the old "Girl Scout Cookie" fundraising technique: offer the ability to make a donation only during a very specific time.)

Making gift-giving a simple and convenient opportunity should be the goal of all development officers. Watch for kiosks to start popping up all over the place. If you are the first to try something new, all the better!

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