The Hope Locker uses tech to raise money for charity

It's simple but effective

It’s not particularly difficult to refuse to outright hand your money to charity, but would you find it so easy to ask for it back? That’s the main inspiration behind the tech-infused charity campaign called Hope Locker. Created by digital marketing agency Proximity London in conjunction with charity WaterAid, the Hope Locker involves inserting a video display into coin operated changing room lockers to create the opportunity for what’s being called “micro donations.”

The idea is that when visiting your local swimming pool, you simply insert a pound into a locker to secure your things as normal with the video display telling you to enjoy your swim. The difference is that when you return from your swim, rather than have your pound returned, the video display asks if you’d like to donate it to WaterAid.

Extra weight and context is added to this request when the integrated screen asks you if you swallowed any water during your swim, telling you not to worry if you did because nothing in the pool will kill you, but that in the time you were swimming dirty water killed one child every minute in other areas of the world and your £1 donation, should you choose to give it, could provide a child with safe drinking water for up to 4 months.

They’ll need to add life guards to the changing rooms now to stop people drowning in their own guilt.

My initial reaction was that the entire idea is a bit, well, cheeky. But actually, it’s an incredibly clever way to provide context and relevancy to requests for charitable donations and seems more likely to elicit empathy than other methods.

Visiting a pool or fitness centre out of concern for your personal fitness is, really, a luxury of living in a developed country and reminding you that whilst you’ve been swimming in relatively clean water others are desperately seeking some to drink just to stay alive is an effective and non-confrontational means of making an emotional connection with a simple fact.

Plus, it’s a one-time £1 donation; there’s no expectation to commit to a long-term donation system. You can even have the £1 back if you genuinely need it.

The lockers were trialled in Richmond, London, at the end of 2015 and if the appropriate funding is received, the aim is to roll them out across the city. When an advert comes on TV or you’re walking past fundraisers in the street, it certainly is easy to feel a disconnect between yourself and the cause they’re campaigning for. The Hope Locker innovatively uses the immediate and non-confrontational nature of tech to make an emotional connection and provide context to charity campaigns in a way that could be essential to securing a donation.