Mighty oaks from little acorns: digital giving in parks
Mighty oaks from little acorns
In 2015 Bournemouth Borough Council moved its parks and open spaces into the newly-formed Bournemouth Parks Foundation (BPF). With ongoing cuts to local government budgets it was essential that they found a way to encourage individual donations to support the Council’s non-statutory provision.
DONATE in action
DONATE and Bournemouth Parks Foundation have a joint partnership to provide a means for local residents and visitors to give around the council to such projects as the local aviary, new benches, add to the sculpture trail and make general donations to blooming Bournemouth. Across the town’s open and recreational spaces visitors can make donations either by texting, entering the web address on their phone or scanning the QR code.
Learnings from DONATE in action
Early signs are positive that locals and visitors will give when asked to do so be that with cash or by mobile. At the same time the last six months have provided a number of learnings to others who are considering attracting individual donations from park visitors.
1. Articulate your case for support
BPF went to a considerable amount of effort to break down the need across individual projects to explain to visitors why they needed funds (see image 1). Making the case is a key consideration to donors and this is all the more important in areas where funding has previously been seen to be the responsibility of the local authority.
2. Asking is key to giving
Whilst DONATE offers a range of features in a single platform (and is a charity), the key to giving is asking. BPF developed a speaking parrot near the aviary (see image 2) and this was seen to encourage donations, but more powerful still was a park-keeper who made an individual appeal on busier days. BPF and DONATE will be thinking about other opportunities during the summer that can be used by those around the bandstand, at refreshment locations or volunteers in the gardens.
3. Age is not a barrier
At the outset it was presumed that younger people would be more comfortable giving through their mobile phone. However, across DONATE our case studies consistently show a wide spread of donor profiles with sometimes as many as half of those giving through their mobile aged 55 and above.
DONATE is provided by National Funding Scheme, the UK’s mobile giving platform. National Funding Scheme is a registered charity (no. 1149800).