Innovation In Giving

National Funding Scheme

The National Funding Scheme (NFS) has launched DONATE, a mobile giving platform that’s freely available to all arts and cultural organisations in the UK.

Think back to the last time you visited an art exhibition, museum or heritage site that particularly inspired you: chances are the easiest way to donate to that institution was to round up your loose change for the donation box. But what if you could take out your smartphone and give as much as you wanted to, right there and then? That, in a nutshell, is what National Funding Scheme is looking to achieve.

By ‘digitising the donation box’, the platform – conceived and developed by digital specialists Panlogic – aims to significantly increase donations by allowing visitors to give quickly and simply (and at the point of maximum emotional impact) via their phones.

NFS also aims to address the high levels of unclaimed Gift Aid (tax relief that boosts charitable donations) – estimated at more than £750m a year – by providing a single platform where users can claim Gift Aid for each gift they make.


The DONATE platform launched nationally in January 2014, following a successful six-month trial with 11 partner organisations. During the trial, average donation levels were £150 per organisation per month; the average amount given per person was £32, and individual donations ranged from £3 to £1,562.50.

The platform enables a multi-channel route to donations, including text giving, Near Field Communication (think London’s Oyster cards), QR codes, pre-stored debit and credit cards and web apps, via a simple interface. NFS takes a 4% cut to cover its costs.

The national roll-out follows the launch of a new ‘self-service’ portal, enabling organisations to adopt the platform with minimum intervention from NFS, (via the NFS website).

By February 2014 some 200 arts and cultural organisations had registered to adopt the platform, and NFS aims for DONATE to become the “lingua franca of arts giving” by the end of 2015, with more than 5,000 arts organisations on board.

NFS also wants to share the knowledge gained from running the platform with the wider arts sector. Along with its online knowledge bank Culture Juice, NFS visits arts organisations to share insights on mobile giving and the opportunities digital technology can bring.

Award and follow-on funding

National Funding Scheme was awarded £50,000 in the second round of the Innovation in Giving Fund for

  • Appointing an interim director
  • Drawing up a draft licensing agreement
  • The legal set-up of the charity
  • Improving and mapping user journeys across the platform.

NFS was awarded a further £150,000 to help build the self-service portal, enabling organisations across the UK to adopt the DONATE platform easily.

The organisation has also been backed by Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, the Garfield Weston Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and a number of individuals.

Following the launch of the self-serve portal, NFS expects to achieve sustainability in 2015-16.


Paul Cutts
Chief Executive, National Funding Scheme

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