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In Conversation: Kiki Smith
As we often find, technology can be something of a divisive topic. There are still many among us who seem to harbour an irrational fear of it, simply because it’s new. Hence heated debates about whether mobile phones should be permitted within school premises.
And it turns out that, despite the fact that debit and credit cards have been around for what in technology terms is ages,
But looking at more progressive and positive thinking nations, we see quite a different picture. Sweden, a country which is often leading trends and topping international rankings (they’ve even pioneered the 6-hour working day for us, with tremendous results) is expecting to abandon paper money within just five years. Already, only 13% of transactions involve any cash, reflected by the halving of all notes and coins in circulation in the country.
I have insecurities of course, but I don't hang out with anyone who points them out to me.
Like the Swedes, we are all about embracing development and taking a flexible approach, and we think this is the key to accessing whole new realms of potential philanthropy. We can see how technology is revolutionising charitable endeavours much closer to home, in our very own capital city.
When it comes to virtual reality, we’ve seen the growing role it might play in conferencing and also in human connection (in a less corporate sense), but it’s also becoming increasingly important in the charity sector.
Even back in 2014, a virtual reality game was developed to convey terrible conditions through which some people have had to live. Players of This War of Mine have to rescue innocent civilians who are trapped in rubble or abandoned houses, starving, or ill.And now, Amnesty International (which is, by the way, a Wonderful charity) is giving its street fundraisers virtual reality headsets to take potential donors from Oxford Street to war-torn Aleppo. There has also been the development of cryptocurrency specifically for charities in AidCoin and also with the Red Cross and Save the Children trialling bitcoin donations.
It’s this area of digital donations that we’ve been thinking about. According to the Institute of Fundraising, a massive 70% of charities has seen cash donations decrease since 2015. Even those who had not yet noticed a drop know that one is coming: 86% of charities predict that cash donations will drop over the next five years. On a slightly longer timeline, the government has estimated that by 2026 cash payments will make up around 21% of all transactions – translating to a drop of 40% in 20 years. Some are already thinking of ways to tackle the reduction in cash that people tend to carry with them.
Some churches are amongst those organisations trying new cashless ways to make donations, with some allowing congregations to give money via text and over 16,000 churches being provided with terminals to take contactless card payments.