Giving Machines will spur episodic giving

Giving Machines from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) became a big success last Christmas allowing people to donate to global charities from a vending machine, similar to one where you and I typically buy potato chips.

This is a brilliant concept and will catch on as more reports surface about how our data is being manipulated by Facebook and Google. Kelly Ross, an LDS member wrote in a recent article in the Houston Chronicle that these Giving Machines are “providing a safe and effective method for people of any faith, or no faith at all to make small donations to those in need all over the world.”

Giving Machines allow us to give to pre-select charities with a simple swipe of a card or with cash on a well lit large vending machine. This is excellent for episodic giving, especially during Christmas or Ramadan or during other religious occasions.

Feeling blessed with all that you have and would like to give to someone in need? Go to a Giving Machine and you can buy a goat for a farmer in Africa or help a teacher with school supplies in another developing country. Why spend your time browsing through the Internet when a Giving Machine from LDS can help you do that at the City Center or a place of worship?

This “point of giving” concept sells an emotional value during a limited time when we all feel gratitude for what we have compared to the less fortunate. I’m sure these will soon be repurposed into smaller, leaner kiosks allowing folks to donate to nonprofits close to you.

Healthcare clinics could definitely use them. For example, in an eye clinic, a donor could give funds for an eye exam and spectacles for someone who cannot afford a visit to an optometrist. The interface could immediately provide a “thank you,” and a receipt for a tax deductible donation. Digital fundraisers can analyze the data, find recurring donors and move them on to the pipeline for major gifts. This will allow fundraisers to get a greater understanding of sporadic/episodic giving habits of individuals, helping us create better messages.

Corporate vendors could do a matching gift right on the vending machine. For instance, when you buy a packet of Lays, would you like to add 25 cents so that it helps a farmer get safe drinking water in India and Lays will match it by 25 cents?

The need is endless. Unlike the vending machine that made you mad because it sucked your money and didn’t get you chips, these will actually make you feel good. I am foreseeing the day when the global microloan lending business will use this concept as well.

Armed with good usability features, Giving Machines can become a potent tool in episodic giving. Here’s a video that describes it all.

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