Community charities are turning to digital apps to help them go cashless and improve their operational effectiveness, say expense management app provider Expend.

Johnny Vowles, founder and CEO of Expend explains: “Charities which focus on social support for their clients often need to manage cash, as part of the process of helping with daily tasks, such as shopping.

“Covid restrictions meant that cash handling became an infection risk, so charities turned to Expend for technology which could help. Through the use of an expense management app, community charities have been able to continue with cashless operations. So, they can continue to serve their local neighbourhoods safely and effectively. Also, an expense management app reduces the security risks associated with handling cash.”

The Expend app works by providing cashless technology, including pre-paid debit cards, which are used by charity staff and volunteers. The digital solution allows charities to provide support services, such as food shopping, taxi fares and clothes shopping, without the need for cash to change hands.

Case Study
Expend has been working with is Community Action Dacorum. The aim of the Hertfordshire based charity is to make a positive difference to people’s lives in their local community. One of the services it provides is to do the weekly food shopping for vulnerable people who have no support or are unable to get a grocery delivery slot.

Expend has provided support through its cashless technology platform, which includes prepaid debit cards for approved users. This means that a volunteer can do the weekly shop on behalf of an elderly person without any money changing hands. To help manage the process, there is the facility for the charity to set different spend limits on each card depending on how many people each volunteer is shopping for.

Using Expend’s mobile app, volunteers of Community Action Dacorum can upload a receipt for any shopping they do on behalf of a vulnerable person. The details of the transaction are entered into the charity’s expense management system and this can be approved centrally by the charity in real-time. As no physical money is changing hands, there’s no risk of spreading infection.

Deborah Fogden, community transport manager at Community Action Dacorum says “When trying to implement our Store2Door service, I was struggling to overcome the challenge of how clients and the volunteers would pay for their shopping without relying on physical cash.

“The simplicity of the Expend system allows us to reduce the anxieties of vulnerable people and their families during a really challenging time. The system is easy for everyone to use and helps make our Store2Door service safer.”

For the elderly, or vulnerable, the process is simple and transparent. The details of the shopping and total spent can be shared directly with them. In turn, they pay the charity direct for the shopping through a bank transfer.

Expend’s Johnny Vowles says: “It’s tempting to believe that Covid restrictions have eased, but many charities serve clients who remain clinically vulnerable, so hygiene safeguards need to remain in place. A cashless, digital solution remains imperative.

And, in situations where Covid restrictions have begun to loosen, we are seeing the digital technology remaining within their operations.”