Catholic humanitarian organization Misereor has found a unique way to encourage donations. Working with Hamburg, Germany-based agency Kolle Rebbe, the NGO created The Social Swipe: a digital poster that can accept credit card donations with a simple swipe right through a space in the middle of the advertisement.
It works like this: Passersby swipe their card through the poster, which triggers a donation of €2 ($2.75). The card becomes the tool to free the rope-bound hands of an imprisoned Filipino child or to cut a slice of bread off a large loaf for a hungry Peruvian family. (The video above shows this in action.)
The agency worked with mobile payment service Stripe to ensure that the donations were authenticated securely. And when users open their monthly credit card statement, a message appears next to the donation asking them to turn this one-time donation into a regular monthly payment.
Contagious, FleishmanHillard’s Dallaskidd Weigh In
Contagious: There is a “global decline in giving and support for charity,” according to the World Giving Index 2012, with hundreds of millions fewer people donating than in recent years. This has resulted in many charities exploring new, more effective ways of receiving donations. For example, earlier this year U.K. charity The Pillion Trust resorted to shock tactics to get people to wake up and pay attention in a campaign boldly called #FuckThePoor (See the video).
Misereor’s campaign engages its audience rather than incites to neatly overcome barriers to donation in two key ways. First, the mechanism for donation is eye-catching: Cutting through rope to free a prisoner is a powerful visual representation that shows exactly how your money is helping the charity. The visual depiction identifies the recipients and direct benefits of aid, making the link between donation and relief much more tangible.
Secondly, the efficiency and ease of the mechanics only add to this campaign’s merit. By asking for a credit card donation, rather than cash, the charity overcomes those sheepish looks from potential donors who lack small change. (A survey by Bankrate found that two out of five U.S. consumers carry less than $20 in cash on a daily basis.) By adapting to this consumer shift, this campaign neatly sidesteps a key stumbling block for many fundraisers.
The use of the card also minimizes what behavioral economist Dan Ariely calls “the pain of paying.” The amount, €2, appears more negligible because consumers don’t have to physically hand over cold, hard cash. Essentially, what Ariely is saying is that it’s easier to agree to put something on a plastic card than dig into your pockets and give coins or notes.
We also really liked the additional prompt at the end of this campaign: the call to action in donor’s credit card statement. It’s a small, yet powerful, reminder of the initial experience delivered in a personal way.
Sean Dallaskidd: The creative behind the Misereor campaign revolves around an often hard to execute principle: Keep it simple, but make it interesting. This visionary idea landed the advertisement in a unique and privileged place of being able to achieve that many times over.
By leveraging a tool that we all have in our wallet—the credit card—and investing in a compelling rendition of an entertaining platform—the interactive ad—Misereor was able to develop a truly original piece of creative. On Social Swipe, the play between the motion of the swipe and an immediately visualized benefit from the donation is a truly powerful thing that makes the experience something you want to share—and repeat.
The creative managed to turn an act typically attempted in private into a public display of community support, which may not necessarily be able to be shared immediately (although if you have a smart phone nearby, you can capture the act on video for sharing), but can be appreciated by those people walking through the very public places where the billboards were erected. Asking for just 2 euros also meant it was possible for most people to consider participating.
The real breakthrough technologically is providing a contributor a graphic illustration of what the act of swiping will mean for someone else on the planet, a tangible reward not often available from donations. It also reinforces an often-mouthed sentiment by charities—that no matter how much you give every dollar or euro counts
The charity also didn’t stop at the billboard. What truly elevates the campaign is the call to action on the donor’s credit card statement that asks the contributor to consider making the donation monthly and linking it to the positive experience the donor had with Social Swipe. It seems hard to imagine that other charities won’t follow in the footsteps of this breakthrough campaign.