Rethinking Parks:

Leading innovation in charity giving

The future of donating to worthy causes

The Lake District Foundation has been leading a partnership project to look at the future of donating to worthy causes. The project set out to investigate whether new technologies would work in the Lake District National Park, how they would be received, what they should look like and where would they be placed.

The hope is that those who wish to donate money for local projects can do so, even if they don’t have any coins on them. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures, this type of transaction has become even more important.

The project was supported by the ‘Rethinking Parks’ programme by NESTA, a global innovation foundation which supports new ideas to tackle 21st century challenges.

The project is a partnership between the Lake District Foundation, Cumbria Tourism and the Lake District National Park Authority.

Sarah Swindley, Director of the LDF, says, “We know that people love the Lake District and want to help us look after it. We also know that people are carrying less cash with them and we are keen to understand how new technology can help.”

Using technology usually used indoors, this project tested both the hardware needed and public appetite to donate. This leaflet outlines our experiences, some of the challenges we faced, their key takeaways, and what it might take to implement this approach in other parks and greenspaces. We hope that this information will help councils and others interested in testing this technology as a way to financially support these important spaces in the future.

What’s happened so far?

Our challenges to date have been:

  • Developing marketing and communication strategies
  • Matching test sites and donation platforms
  • Developing marketing messaging
  • Recruiting volunteers
  • Cost of donation platforms to maximise test site opportunities

We have chosen to concentrate on visitor giving, information sharing and linking tourists with projects that contribute to the conservation and sustainable development of the park.

How will other parks learn from your work?

Our evaluation framework includes the dissemination of findings through the National National Parks Partnership and well as to the Nesta Partnership.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the project about?

The project aims to explore the potential for a new way to collect donations, we are interested in finding out if using contactless technology to collect donations, will help us raise funds that can be redistributed through grants to local projects.

Who is involved?

The project is funded by NESTA, who are a global innovation foundation, they back new ideas to tackle big challenges.  The Lake District Foundation is working in partnership with Lake District National Park Authority and Cumbria Tourism to discover how contactless donation technology could help raise funds to tackle the challenge of sustaining the Lake District now and in the future.

What happens to the money raised?

At the Lake District Foundation, our vision is that the Lake District will a place where people come together to sustain this special place. We raise funds through donations and award grants to local projects.

What will it look like?

The small contactless units will be housed sympathetically with interpretation giving information about the area.  The interpretation will ensure that they are in keeping with the surrounding area.  At this stage we are only testing the technology to see how it might work for the Lake District in the future.

Who looks after the Lake District?

There are currently 25 organisations involved in the Lake District National Park Partnership. It is made up of representatives from the public, private, community and voluntary sectors. In 2006, the Partnership agreed a Vision for the National Park in 2030, representing a collective commitment to work together in the best interest of the National Park, its environment, communities, economy and visitors.

NESTA information

Bournemouth Parks Foundation

Bournemouth Parks Foundation is developing a robust contactless donation solution for outdoors environments.

Would you Donate to a Park

Nesta is supporting two parks foundations to test contactless donations in public parks.

Back To Top