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Fundraising tech innovation

I led a design research project to investigate the viability of using contactless smart phone wallet payment technology to be able to make a donation and collect Gift Aid at the same time.

I carried out guerrilla and desk research into how organisations such as charity shops, museums, art galleries, horticulture and cultural centres engage their donors with Gift Aid at their sales desk, front door or ticket office.

I led a number of workshops for stakeholders and subject matter experts. I interviewed and shadowed Barnardo’s staff to understand how they process donations and submit Gift Aid claims. From these activities I created a process map for Barnardo’s Gift Aid process across different income streams. I had regular meetings with HMRC to make sure whatever we built was within their regulations.


I ran some user persona workshops with Barnardo's finance staff to baseline who we perceived our donors to be, using empathy mapping. I interviewed donors with a view to assessing how they perceived contactless payment technology and developed a set of 6 personas from this, leading to some clear mapping of specific target groups to engage with. 

I built a user journey map to define touch-points, activities, goals and barriers for both charities and donors. I also made a service blueprint to specify infrastructure requirements.

I worked with a tech team to start developing simple prototypes and also worked closely with a product manager to develop the strategy.

I finished the discovery phase with a report and feedback session to all major stakeholders, outlining the research techniques and activities, evidence gathered, artefacts created and the strategy developed.

Tasks included:

  • Leading Inception, Discovery and Alpha phases of a project looking into tech possibilities of collecting donations and processing Gift Aid at the same time.

  • Understanding current market trends, guerrilla competitor research.

  • Process-mapping current Gift Aid journeys within the organisation.

  • Journey mapping how a new journey would fit with the existing ones.

  • Developing a service blueprint.

  • Interviewing stakeholders, SMEs and charity donor groups.

  • Developing user personas.

  • Leading several workshops to focus priorities and define further activities.

  • Interviewing donors that engage with technology.

  • Measuring Tech possibilities against tax requirements.

  • Designing initial user journeys for a prototype.

Intended outcomes:

  • Strategy for developing a new and frictionless tech solution for charities.

  • Raising public awareness of what Gift Aid is, and how it can benefit charities.

  • Recent research commissioned by HMRC shows that charities are missing out on over £5.6 million in Gift Aid every year.


I use a highly visual storytelling approach to my work, when both working with stakeholders and disseminating complex data into readable formats.


I spent time with fundraising and account teams understanding how charity money is raised and Gift Aid is processed.

I turned this research into a large process map. 


I wanted to clearly articulate the barriers to understand what Gift Aid is for donors, to the project's stakeholders.


It turns out that Gift Aid is a simple concept until the complexities of running a charity are introduced.


One of workshops I facilitated for stakeholders and subject matter experts.


I facilitated subject matter expert workshops to empathy map the charity donor as well as the charity worker processing the donation, map the user journeys and lead the research towards persona mapping. 


I carried out interviews with a range of charity donors, from those who knew very little about Gift Aid, to those who had a deep understanding; from technophobes to technophiles.

I produced 6 personas measuring Gift Aid awareness, tech awareness, data risk awareness, financial risk awareness; Whether they were feelers or thinkers; Their donation habits and their online/device behaviours.

This led to some clear mapping of specific target groups with whom to engage.


Towards the end of the Discovery phase, I drew up a large-scale visual narrative for the project.


I described the four main components needed to make the project work, what had been done to understand the problem, proposed top-level user journeys and four pertinent questions that would need answering in order to drive the project forward.


I created a detailed service blueprint to segment activities, events and interactions across the both the service ecosystem and specific timeframes.

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