Lunchbox: Fill a tummy with a tap

It’s time to rethink charitable giving one tap at a time with contactless donations.

This week we launch Lunchbox, the contactless donation box that enables you to buy a child in the developing world school lunches for a week with one tap of your card.

The contactless donation box that sits at point of sale in lunch shops across London, is set to take 30p when tapped with a customers contactless card. This is donated directly to our partner charity, Mary’s Meals – so when you buy your lunch, you can easily buy one for a child less fortunate than you.

We are particularly proud of this venture and hope that you will soon be filling a tummy with a tap in one of the lunch venues across London.

The idea for Lunchbox came from a simple problem

Today, 80% of people in the UK already give to charity on a regular basis, however as technologies adapt and evolve charities are struggling to keep up with the way people pay in their every day lives.

We think it’s about time the world of donations moved on from change in a bucket and being hassled while you do your shopping.

The fact is the easier giving is, the more habitual it becomes – especially if it’s done in a context that relates to the cause.

Ever had one of ‘those’ conversations in the pub?

The ones where you dream up a big idea but nothing ever comes of it? Well, Lunchbox was conceived in the very same way – but this was an idea too good to forget.

An ‘Earnest Labs Podcast’ led to the discussion of why there wasn’t an easy way to do a good deed for someone across the world when you buy your sandwich and led to a six-month journey of turning that thought into a living, breathing (and most importantly, functioning) product.

First up, finding the right charity partner

For millions of the world’s poorest children, a school lunch is so much more than just a meal – it’s the fuel they need to stay focused and ensure their minds get fed too. And that means a brighter future.

Mary’s Meals, who run lunch programmes in schools across the developing world, were the perfect partner for the launch of Lunchbox and working together we have found a way for them to open up a new revenue stream to support their amazing work.

Your 30p donation is enough to buy a week’s worth of school lunches for a child in the developing world.

Making Lunchbox a reality with the right technology partners

Charity contactless donation technology is in its infancy, so finding the right technology partners to bring it to life has been quite the learning curve.

The box itself is provided by Payter – a technology company who have experience specifically in charity payments.

The great thing about the device is that it’s completely stand-alone so it’s not connected to a shop till or payment systems– a real bonus for our partner shops.

The payment side is made possible by Elavon – an acquiring bank who are leading the charge when it comes to charity contactless donations.

Most importantly all partners are PCI compliant (there was a lot of paper work in the process), so Lunchbox is completely secure.

Great idea, will it work?

We think so – and there is a science behind it.

A 2013 report by the Cabinet Office, ‘Applying behavioural insight to charitable giving’, outlined four key behavioural elements that will makes a charity campaign successful.

Lunchbox adheres to these principles in the following way:

Make it easy
The beauty of Lunchbox is in the simplicity of the donation process and the cognitive ease for the donor with which people can donate. Customers already have their card out ready, the message is simple, the donation takes just one tap, and the cost is small.

Attract attention
The story of a Lunchbox donation is one that can be quickly and easily explained. Pay for your lunch and pay for someone else’s. It’s attention grabbing, and due to sitting in places that most people visit every day, easy to drive home.

Make it a social norm
We think that donating using Lunchbox will become habitual – an everyday part of paying for your lunch.

The right timing and context
Timing and context is the key feature to making Lunchbox a success. 90% of people say they’ are motivated to donate to charity due to a compassion for those in need and 62% will give if they feel personally affected.

Lunchbox asks for donations for people who can’t afford lunch and will go hungry, exactly at the point where the donors are themselves hungry and buying their own lunch. This context throws the fact that they could feed a child for a month – for just fraction of what they spend on themselves as a matter of routine – into stark relief.

Your chance to do something beautiful and fill a tummy with a tap

Lunchbox is starting with a three-month trial in 5 eateries.

Mortimers Café
Reynolds Eastcastle Street
Reynolds Charlotte street
Lynwood Café, Oxfordshire

If you want to see Lunchbox in action pop along to one of the shops (they all serve delicious lunches) and give the box a tap.

It’ll make you feel fantastic – we promise.

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If you want to find out more please email