[ad] Blackbaud. Buyer's guide. Finding your mission's perfect fundraising CRM just got easier. Get the guide.

Cancer Research UK raises funds via contactless benches

Howard Lake | 4 February 2017 | News

A street bench is the latest object to be transformed into a contactless giving opportunity. Cancer Research is introducing 100 ‘smart benches’ in London in time for World Cancer Day today, 4th February.

Developed in partnership with Strawberry Energy and MKTG, the solar-powered benches “enhance public spaces” by providing mobile device charging ports and free wi-fi access, as well as, you’ll be pleased to hear, a place to sit and socialise.


Getting Started with TikTok: An Introduction to Fundraising & Supporter Engagement


CRUK is claiming that this is “the world’s first use of contactless payment on the Smart Bench”. The public can use their contactless debit or credit card on the bench to tap and donate £2 to the cancer charity.

Cancer Research UK is the first brand to partner on the Smart Bench scheme. The locations in Islington and Lewisham were selected because of their high-footfall. 

Donating to CRUK via Smart Bench
Donating to CRUK on the streets of Lewisham – by smart bench.

Strawberry Energy

Strawberry Energy built the benches. It develops solar-powered street furniture for smart cities to enhance the outdoor experience of the 21st century mobile generation. Urban Partnerships, a division of MKTG, delivers projects within the public space that are mutually beneficial for both brands and non-profit organisations.

The first benches in London will not cost taxpayers a penny. Strawberry has taken on production and installation as part of its commitment to London as a smart city.

More contactless benches to come

Following this pilot, a further 10 benches will be installed by the end of February, with an additional 80 to be installed this year.

Michael Docherty, director of digital at Cancer Research UK, said:

“Having used contactless technology in innovative ways in the past to engage the public in the work we do, we are always looking for new opportunities to incorporate contactless technology further throughout the charity and make it even easier for our supporters to help us beat cancer sooner. These Smart Benches seemed like the next step in our use of contactless technology to bring charitable giving closer to our supporters, integrating it seamlessly into cutting-edge street furniture.”

Cancer Research UK has joined forces with smart city business Strawberry Energy to launch a network of Smart Benches (#SmartBenchUK) with contactless technology in time for World Cancer Day on the 4th February.

Miloš Milisavljević, founder and CEO of Strawberry Energy, developers and owners of the Smart Bench network, said that he was proud that they had worked with CRUK on a fundraising innovation, saying:

“Our charging stations bring people together, motivate them to spend more time outdoors, and enhance their enjoyment of the environment with information such as pollution sensors.”

World Cancer Day 2017

As well as making donations via these smart benches, Cancer Research UK is also urging the nation to wear a Unity Band® on 4 February 2017, World Cancer Day, to create an #ActofUnity that will help beat cancer sooner. The charity suggests a donation of £2 per band.


Where to sit and donate

If you want to try out a Smart Bench you will find them at the following locations, with map co-ordinates in brackets.


·         Contactless Essex Road (51.538116, -0.099604)

·         Contactless: Islington Green (51.535865, -0.103000)

·         Essex Road (51.540730, -0.095340)

·         Old Street (51.525104, -0.092511)

·         Newington Road (51.551009, -0.085991)


·         Contactless: Albion Way- Lewisham High Street (51.462605, -0.010379)

·         Contactless: Lewis Grove- Albion Way (51.461434, -0.010507)

·         Near the model market (51.4598471,-0.0114373)

·         Brookmill Road (51.473093, -0.023598)

·         Corner of New Cross Road and Childeric Street (51.475793, -0.036973)

Charities and contactless giving

CRUK is just one of a number of charities that has been testing contactless giving over the last couple of years.