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Mobile app transforms Oxfam shops into 24-hour information and fundraising spaces

Mobile app transforms Oxfam shops into 24-hour information and fundraising spaces

Oxfam is using augmented messaging app Traces to make the most out of its network of 650+ charity shops even when they are closed. Passers-by will be able to discover, via their mobile device, more about Oxfam, the local shop, volunteering and how to make donations if they wish.

In effect, the app gives Oxfam shops an even bigger ‘shop window’, with a wider choice of information than even the biggest window display could convey.

Digital content is available at over 650 Oxfam shops across the country. A geo-located virtual ‘trace’ has been created for each shop.


Oxfam shop with mocked up indication of 'traces' - mobile augmented information


Traces is a new app, which only launched public traces for partner organisations in March this year. Oxfam is the first charity to implement it.

Matt Jerwood, Oxfam’s Digital Fundraising Lead, said of the initiative:

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to explore a new form of digital distribution to invite people to virtually look beyond our shop windows to engage with our digital content. We hope to reach new supporters by sharing stories to help people understand our work. The Traces platform enables us to make the connection between location-based marketing and the publishing of digital content at scale. It presents an interesting new opportunity in mobile fundraising.”

Neuroscientist Professor Beau Lotto, founder of Traces, said:

“At Traces, we want to help organisations create meaningful digital experiences by harnessing the power of location. Oxfam is one of the world’s leading charities and has digital right at the heart of its public engagement strategy – we’re delighted that they are using the Traces platform to reach and connect people to their work in a completely new, location-based way.”

What is a Trace?

Traces - screenshots of the augmented messaging app


Any content that can be shared on a mobile webpage can be shared via traces in location. This could be text, video, sound, but also commercial opportunities such as digital downloads, contact capture, vouchers and payment links. The platform is free to use, with some features such as geo-fencing being paid.

To run a campaign the content and actions can be published to locations anywhere in the world. You don’t have physically to go to the location to set it up.

You can download the Traces app from Traces. Currently it is available for iOS (Apple devices) only. Oxfam’s campaign is currently featured on the app.

What does it look like?



Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

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