Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

Blue Cross’ Tap Dogs to offer contactless giving across the UK

Blue Cross’ Tap Dogs to offer contactless giving across the UK

Animal charity Blue Cross will be extending its team of ‘Tap Dogs’ to fundraise across the UK, thanks to support from .

The charity first used dogs wearing dog coats with contactless payment devices fitted in a pocket in May 2016. Anyone wishing to donate can simply ‘pat and tap’ the dog to make a £2 donation using their payment card or smart device (smartphone or watch) – or speak to its Blue Cross volunteer if they’d like to give a different amount.

This year the new team of Tap Dogs will start appearing at events from 10 March, when Gracie the Italian spinone will reveal the new dog coats at Crufts 2017.

Contactless giving

The charity became one of the first to combine beneficiaries with contactless giving. Other charities using contactless giving have used it in shop windows (Cancer Research UK), on cardboard cut-outs of comedians (Comic Relief), on public benches (Cancer Research UK), and on collecting tins (Royal British Legion).

Support from PayPal

PayPal offered its support for the scheme and funded a range of new contactless dog coats and donated PayPal Here card readers for each of the coats.

Julia McKechnie-Burke, Director of Fundraising, Marketing and Communications at Blue Cross said: “Tap Dogs were created to raise awareness of our work helping thousands of pets every year. We were limited in the capacity of Tap Dogs as a fundraising tool with our prototype coats but now, thanks to PayPal, we are able to expand the scheme and have Tap Dogs at even more events.

“We are in an increasingly cashless society and need to be versatile in the ways people can donate to us. We love that dogs are able to directly help us raise funds as pets are at the heart of everything we do. We are grateful for PayPal’s support and look forward to exploring further expansion of this scheme and other initiatives.”

Blue Cross has presented dogs at events before, to raise awareness of different aspects of pet welfare. All dogs involved in such activities are assessed for behaviour, and are usually owned by dedicated volunteers.

Bas Gevaert, Director of PayPal Here in the UK said: “PayPal is proud to support this new initiative which allows people to easily donate to Blue Cross using contactless cards. It goes without saying that fewer people carry cash on them now, so this new way to make donations with a card or smart phone really highlights how forward thinking Blue Cross are as a charity.

“It’s such a fun and innovative way, not only for people to donate to a charity but actually get to engage with what the charity does as well. It’s nice to think that rescue dogs are helping to raise money for other rescue .”


Here comes the Tap Dog science bit

The Tap Dog technology consists of PayPal’s contactless card reader sitting in a pocket of the Tap Dog’s coat linked to the PayPal Here smartphone app via Bluetooth. The card reader accepts contactless payments by card or smart device phone or watch.

The app is operated by a Blue Cross volunteer via a smartphone. It is set up to take a £2 donation. Donations for other amounts can be adjusted by the volunteer using the app and receipts can be issued by email or a text message if required.

You can follow Tap Dogs on social media via the hashtag #patntap.


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.

Get free email updates

Keep up to date with fundraising news, ideas and inspiration with a weekly or daily email. [Privacy]

* We do not share your email or personal details.
" />