As budgets tighten and discretionary spending changes, charities must offer consumers the most seamless payment experience to encourage donations.

For consumers, disposable income can be used on anything from travel experiences to a new video games console, to a regular donation to a charitable organisation.

And while monetary donations to support a good cause are a priority for many consumers, they’re not immune to broader economic pressures. As these pressures mount, there is a real concern that organisations relying upon generous donations will suffer.

So, how is charitable giving being impacted by changing spending trends, and how can organisations encourage donations?

Tough times impacting charitable donations

Paysafe’s recent Lost in Transaction: The Disposable Income Report surveyed 14,525 consumers across the UK, the Americas, and Europe about their discretionary spending habits, uncovering a number of trends, including those related to charitable donations.

It’s no surprise that economic disruption has reduced disposable income for many consumers, who will find it increasingly difficult to focus spending on anything other than necessary outlays, or the occasional treat.

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Unfortunately, this is having a serious impact on charitable donations. According to our research, over a fifth (22%) of respondents who give to charity are now spending less on donations, and 11% have stopped entirely. Very few consumers (13%) are spending more.

And so, as consumers continue to keep a closer eye on their discretionary spending — at least until the economic forecast brightens – charities must ensure the experience they offer to potential donors is as swift, seamless and secure as possible.

For those who are still able to make donations, it would be easy to turn away from a website that failed to offer this experience, instead seeking out an organisation that more readily caters to their payment needs.

For a charitable organisation, it is essential to not only cater to these needs, but to understand that they are changing.

Consumer payment expectations are changing, even for charity donations

Consumer expectations change. Whether driven by evolving technology – that always-on device in your hand giving you access to everything right now – or other factors.

Regardless the reason, many consumers are no longer content with a payment experience that fails to deliver the choice, speed, and efficiency people are increasingly accustomed to.

This is no different for charitable donations, with a growing number of consumers embracing different ways of giving funds to their chosen cause.

Local payment methods (LPMs) have become an essential part of the checkout experience – one that organisations of all kinds, charities included, cannot ignore.

While debit card (29%) and credit cards (19%) may remain the preferred payment method for making charitable donations, digital wallets (17%) are close behind, and only growing in prevalence.

Paysafe’s research found that half (51%) of consumers would be more likely to make donations if a charity offered alternative ways of paying in addition to credit and debit cards. And 13% of consumers say that a lack of payment options would make them most likely to abandon a donation to a charity website, with 10% pointing to poor checkout experience.

The difference between a successful or missed donation, may be a lack of choice at the checkout.

Security is essential for charitable donations

While it’s vital to allow consumers to pay for charitable donations the way they want, security also remains a priority.

For 33% of consumers, having to input sensitive financial information/data and a lack of clarity around security are the likeliest reasons to abandon an online donation. Such concerns are understandable – as disposable income becomes harder to come by, protecting what’s yours has never been more important.

Thankfully, LPMs can help charitable organisations tackle security concerns. Digital wallets and eCash, for example, allow consumers to make payments without entering their personal financial details. This offers a swift, seamless, and secure process — providing peace of mind for even the most cautious consumer.

While navigating the current economic landscape can be difficult for charitable organisations, offering a friction-free and secure online donation experience can help meet changing consumer expectations, and encourage them to continue giving to a good cause.

Rob Gatto is CRO, Paysafe