Mayor of London Sadiq Khan taps homelessness contactless giving point on City Hall.

TAP London

Homelessness is spiralling in the UK, and people want to help but are unsure how and no longer carry cash. In partnership with Mayor of London, TAP London has installed 100 contactless giving points across the city, enabling Londoners to give a £3 tap to support local homelessness services.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Homelessness has increased drastically over the past 10 years, rising 165% since 2010. A major factor contributing to this has been cuts in government funding under austerity measures in the UK, meaning services are receiving fewer grants and have been seeking funds from alternative means.

People feel and see the effects of the homelessness crisis but are often unsure how to help. A study that organisers conducted in 2017 found that 4 out of 5 Londoners were unable to name a local homelessness charity, yet they would be ‘very willing’ to donate. As one respondent put it “When I see someone homeless I always make a mental note to find a charity to support - but then I forget and end up doing nothing and feeling bad, then the cycle repeats".

TAP London was started to connect this gap between willing donors and the charities that need their support. By giving a £3 contactless donation, 100% of every donation is divided between 23 nominated charities in the London Homeless Collective (LHC), in support of the Mayor of London’s Winter Giving Appeal. The LHC is a group of charities providing vital frontline services to rough sleepers in the city. TAP London's eye-catching giving points are installed at over 100 locations across the city; on high-streets, in cafes, bars, cinemas, shops, nightclubs, and even City Hall.

This initiative is the first to engage donors purely through contactless; embracing the gradual move towards a cashless society.

The objectives are to:

- Increase funding to services in need
- Make a way for donors to give that is easy and effective
- Create a more connected London; helping people to overcome the apathy and feeling of helplessness experienced by seeing rough sleeping by giving them a small and practical action

Launched over a year ago, the pilot year was highly successful, raising over £150,000 from 50,000 donors, making TAP London one of the most popular crowdfunding campaigns worldwide (in terms of numbers of donors). This funding has provided a huge boost to the Mayor of London’s Winter Giving Appeal; directly funding services for thousands of rough sleepers, including shelter, legal advice and counselling sessions.

There are two parts of the model that are particularly appealing: the first is that the running costs are very low, providing a passive income revenue stream for organisations doing incredible work. TAP London needs very little maintenance and therefore is volunteer-led to keep costs low. Since launch, it has already offset the initial investment of the infrastructure, achieving an ROI of 350% within its first year. The second, is that it empowers community involvement. The giving points are 'hosted' by various venues across the city and participating organisations take pride in fundraising and engaging their clients to donate. One coffee chain has single handedly raised over £15,000. A retailer raised £4,000 in just three days through hosting an event.

Following a review of the pilot, organisers have ambitious expansion plans, their aims are to

- Raise £1 million from over 300k individuals by 2023
- Expand their infrastructure and number of giving points year-on-year, with an addition 25 units having been procured for this year’s campaign
- Continue to help other cities replicate the model; TAP London has given advice and support to other UK cities who are running their own campaigns including Leicester, Peterborough and Oxford.

Innovation Description

Innovation Development

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Year: 2018
Level of government: Regional/State government


  • Evaluation - understanding whether the innovative initiative has delivered what was needed
  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

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