From a Tip Jar to a DipJar for Charity

With all the innovation happening in the payments space, it’s no surprise that nonprofits are also utilizing unique ways to take donations. Companies like DipJar are tackling the nonprofit payments space, providing creative ways to engage donors and increase charitable giving.

We invited DipJar’s CEO, Chris Selland, onto the Payments Innovation podcast so he could unpack DipJar’s unique take on giving, how it’s helping increase donations, and what’s coming in the future.

Here’s the highlights from our interview:

DipJar evolved from a tip jar

Chris came on board with DipJar in November 2018, but the company was actually founded several years before that, in 2012.

If you mentally rewind to 2012, you’ll remember that cash was rapidly decreasing, while credit card usage was skyrocketing. Yet, Square and various P2P payment platforms hadn’t yet taken over the payments space.

With this sudden plastic takeover in payments, employees in many traditionally tipped locations, such as coffee shops and pubs, weren’t able to collect valuable tips for their services. DipJar founders had an idea:

“What if we created a jar-like device where people could swipe their credit card to tip their bartender and baristas?”

DipJar was born.

The idea was fairly simple — a stand-alone device with a light indicating the preset tip amount (say, $1). Whenever anyone dips their care, the machine would light up, and debit that amount from their card. 

The idea was innovative at the time, and many customers purchased their device. However, the viability of the product was difficult to maintain; for one, the margin for the employees on small-dollar transactions was not very good after transaction and interchange fees. But, a new idea began to emerge — many people who had seen DipJar inside of their favorite pub or coffee shop would say “Hey that’s fun! What a great idea! Wouldn’t this be great for our charity event?!”

And, DipJar 2.0 was born.

Non-profits usually aren’t looking to garner $1-2 donations; rather, they are looking for $25, $50, or even more for each transaction. So, DipJar pivoted into the non-profit space, and they’ve run full-force since. 

Engagement is the secret sauce of DipJar

Besides solving transaction fee / small-dollar issues, nonprofits offered another win-win for DipJar and charities: engagement was higher.

The fun of DipJar is that it makes a really fun sound and lights up every time you make a donation, and it makes you want to do it again and again just to see the mini-show (no for real, people literally give more just to hear the cool sound and see it light up!).

“That’s really our secret sauce: we engage the donor. We’re not just your typical boring POS device; there’s an engagement factor with DipJar, and in terms of where we are going, that’s really what we are trying to bring out.”

It’s not just a device — it’s a platform

Chris wasn’t the founder of DipJar, but he told me why he joined in 2018 — he noted the passion of the team. When he found out they were looking for a CEO, he started talking with the team, and he was really impressed with how much they cared about what they were doing — bringing in more and more money for charities across the country.

To that end, Chris was adamant during our interview that DipJar is a platform for charities, not just a device:

DipJar is a management platform.

DipJar’s platform allows non-profits  to manage multiple DipJars from one platform, manage disbursements, change the giving amount, etc. They are fully PCI-compliant and work with Payfac and WorldPay.

Spark: a visualization platform.

“Spark” is another product inside of the DipJar ecosystem. Spark allows nonprofits to extend the messaging app onto a bigger screen and give more detail about the charity. 

Currently, Spark is moving to a  more fluid platform, so people can give their info, stay in touch, get a receipt, etc., all from any browser.

Biggest area of growth — socially responsible for-profits

Interestingly, Chris said that they’ve seen the largest growth in the for-profit sector, as more and more businesses are looking to partner with DipJar to enhance their corporate citizenship. 

To find out more:

To find out more about DipJar, checkout DipJar.com

To ensure that you never miss an episode of Payments Innovation, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or Spotify, or here

Until next time!