Heritage event fundraising: Festival of Archaeology

Museum of Gloucester donation device

How are Heritage organisations engaging their visitors, and driving donations with events?

We thought by speaking with a couple of our customers in the sector, it would be a great way to showcase how it’s possible to capture new audiences and the all important public donations upon which many charities and services will need to be sustainable.

Telling stories and celebrating discoveries are a key part of this year’s The Festival of Archaeology which is aimed at creating awareness around all things archaeology and heritage. 

What’s the Festival of Archaeology about?

Incorporating hundreds of in-person and virtual events delivered by community groups, heritage organisations, universities, commercial units, and more in-person and online across the UK, this years event, held from 16th-31st July 2022, takes a look at the theme of ‘Journeys’ and how they intertwine with the discoveries and stories found within the sector.

Find out more

Learn more about Donation Station.

Using a national event to capture interest and grow your audience

Sussex Past

Sussex Past are a Sussex based society, devoted to bring together experts in the historical field in order to further explore the county’s rich history, conduct valuable research and educate others on the importance of Sussex’s heritage. They have been around for 175 years, making them the oldest county archaeology society in England! 

“As the oldest county based archaeological society in the UK we have a proud tradition of making history and heritage more accessible to people, whether that’s through visiting our properties, attending educational sessions or using our collections and research libraries. In total more than 120,000 people a year visit our sites in addition to our thousands of members, who we regularly engage with at events, walks, talks and conferences.” 

– Sussex Past

Building a resilient recovery from the pandemic

Like many charitable organisations who rely on public donations, Sussex Past felt the effects of the pandemic, as a large percentage of their support comes from visitor footfall and this was not possible during the UK’s multiple lockdowns.  

Fortunately, they’ve shown huge resilience, adapting their services to offer online and physical events: 

  • Allowing people to donate online, and in person through contactless payment devices by GWD, ensuring a seamless and secure donation process
  • Encouraging visitors to become one of their 2,500 members  
  • Putting on events and promoting them online and through socials 
  • Hiring out their venues for events, such as weddings 

The network puts on regular events across multiple sites and by visiting the sites, visitors are helping support their work by providing income which helps protect the heritage of Sussex for generations to come.

For this year’s Archaeology Festival, they are giving people the opportunity to try out being an archaeologist with hands-on activities at Lewes CastleMichelham Priory and Fishbourne Roman Palace; learning about the role archaeologists play in helping us to understand the past.

The contactless fundraising stations allow Sussex Past to encourage those who can and want to support their work, in their own time and at their own personal discretion. 

Families can also drop in to Lewes Castle to meet their Finds Liaison Officer who will help to identify your finds and share with you some of the recent local finds that have been recorded on the data base.  You can also explore how to look up what has been found close to where you live. 

Want to know what else is on? Visit their website

Lewes Castle and Museum – Sussex Past
Lewes Castle and Museum – Sussex Past

Who are GWD?

We help socially-minded organisations transition to digital systems, building stronger relationships through impactful products and services.

Our experience goes back two decades, with a foundation building and providing critical digital services and products for the financial services and retail industries.

With a long-proven ability to handle challenging projects and a team of trusted experts, we work hard to solve problems and deliver change that helps others.

Attract Loop

Part of the Donation Station’s key visual design features, the Attract Loop are screensavers purposefully designed to run on a loop. Created by GWD with your input, they use visuals or photography, plus an emotive call to action, to catch the donors interest and lead them towards donation through interactive storytelling.


The entire Donation Station is open to branding, from external display to on-screen logos, photography and your brand look and feel.

Our design support service can adapt visuals and graphics to suit your brand.

Wifi or 4G/5G Data SIM

Where you need it, the Donation Station can be supplied with Data or Wifi connectivity.

If using the device in a remote location or at an event, it’s worth considering the signal strength available – GWD can support you to ensure there’s a smooth running operation on the day.

Safe & Secure

All data is transmitted with full encryption, so you can be sure that all individual donor data is safely used, in accordance with GDPR regulations.

Choice of Donations

Giving choice on where the donor wants their money to be spent empowers them further. The Donation Station asks this question and gives charities freedom to present their causes and activities as separate campaigns.

Gift Aid Up Sell

An integrated Gift Aid function on all Donation Stations helps boost fundraising a further 25%. This tax relief can be claimed from HRMC from any donor that supplies their contact details and makes a declaration, as a UK tax payer. The Donation Station is designed to encourage and secure this additional fundraising income easily, through simple reports that can be downloaded and submitted to HMRC as part of a Gift Aid claim.