SPAR introduces contactless donations for Make-A-Wish charity

Irish tech firm Strikepay helps SPAR to enable consumers to donate to Make-A-Wish Ireland via their smartphones.

Retail chain SPAR is currently trialling an innovative digital ‘Smart Poster’ collection solution across its nationwide estate of more than 400 stores to allow consumers to donate to Make-A-Wish Ireland.

Since the advent of Covid-19, many people don’t carry as much cash, which has had very real impact on the charity sector with in-person donations at an all-time low. Bank of Ireland recently recorded its highest ever monthly levels of Visa debit card transactions, with spending levels spiking across the counties.

“Covid-19 has had a significant impact on our wish-granting and fundraising activities”

But the fall in cash donations was significant for Make-A-Wish Ireland as the charity does not receive any government funding and is dependent on donations from the public and the support of partners like SPAR to continue granting wishes.

As a result of reduced in person charitable giving due to the Covid-19, it is estimated that Irish charities could have lost out on as much as €500m over the last 15 months.

The digital future of giving

A new technology developed by emerging Irish tech firm Strikepay enables donations via contactless technology.

Customers in SPAR stores across Ireland can now simply tap their smart phones on the special posters and a web page is opened on their device.

The customer can then choose to donate directly to Make-A-Wish using the Apple or Android Pay capability on their phone or input their debit/card details directly.

As part of the initiative, SPAR will publicly campaign for people to openly embrace technology that facilitates cashless charitable giving, to safeguard the viability of critical charities across the country.

“Covid-19 has had a significant impact on our wish-granting and fundraising activities,” said Susan O’Dwyer, CEO of Make-A-Wish Ireland.

“This has resulted in planned wishes having to be rescheduled and re-imagined and we currently have more than 200 seriously ill children waiting for their wishes to be granted. Now more than ever, these children need what Make-A-Wish can bring in the form of hope, strength, and joy. We are so grateful for the ongoing support of SPAR and by deploying this innovative Strike technology in their stores, hopefully the public will react positively and donate using the posters.”

Future-proofing fundraising

The initiative is designed to make it easier for people to donate money to worthy causes such as Make-A-Wish, while instilling confidence in those who still feel uncomfortable about handling cash and donating via the traditional bucket or in-store collection boxes. It is the latest sign of how Ireland is moving towards becoming a ‘cashless’ society.

“Over the last 15 months we have seen a big decline in the number of people carrying cash in our stores and this has impacted the charity sector particularly badly,” said Colin Donnelly, SPAR sales director.

“As SPAR’s official charity partner, we are passionate about supporting the Make-A-Wish mission and are delighted to trial this innovative technology in our stores, which is a great example of how technology is playing a role in helping society one tap at a time.

“Helping make these sick children’s wishes come true is a way to give them hope and strength for their individual journeys and SPAR is proud to play whatever part we can.”

Strikepay’s co-founder Oli Cavanagh said that Covid has accelerated the move away from cash transactions which have been traditionally a vital revenue stream for charities. But the trial with SPAR and Make-A-Wish could help resolve this.

“Through this trial with SPAR and Make-A-Wish, Strikepay’s innovative and simple solution is being used to help future proof fundraising,” said Cavanagh.

“By providing an easy-to-use technological solution Make-A-Wish can continue to harness the spontaneous and ad hoc donations that Irish people are known for and as a result, the fantastic work done by the charity can continue for all the many children and families that it supports.”  

Main image at top (from left): Colin Donnelly, SPAR sales director; Strikepay co-founder Oli Cavanagh; and Make-A-Wish Ireland CEO Susan O’Dwyer

By John Kennedy (

Published: 13 July 2021