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01 Jul 2020

Retailers adopting micro-donations to bridge charity funding gap during COVID-19

Pennies Stand: H31

Despite the Government coronavirus support package, the charity sector is extremely challenged from an estimated drop in income of 48% over the course of the next 12 months (NCVO). And responses to a recent survey from The Institute of Fundraising indicates charities expect to lose 48% of their income whilst facing an increase in demand of 43%. Many charities are also furloughing colleagues in an effort to protect funds, which further hinders capacity and resource to raise income.

However, retailers and other businesses, reports Pennies, are seeking ways to help combat the shortfall in charities' funds by offering customers a way to give a little on top of purchases when paying by card or mobile wallet ' for causes the brands nominate.

Take-up of micro-donations from consumers is significant, says Pennies CEO, Alison Hutchinson CBE, 'The response from customers ' particularly online - during the pandemic has been nothing short of inspiring. The retail community has proven just how powerful this way of giving is and has broken records in the process - with customers regularly making a quarter of a million micro-donations a week during the COVID-19 pandemic. What we're seeing is how much micro-donations matter ' now more than ever.'

This week, Screwfix reported that thanks to customers and colleagues donating via Pennies, The Screwfix Foundation was able to award over '1m in grants to charities and not for profit organisations across the UK during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Screwfix Foundation Trustee and Screwfix CEO John Mewett said: 'The generosity of our customers throughout this crisis has been phenomenal. Their record-breaking donations have helped us to support so many more community charities and not for profit organisations with grants. We'd like to say a huge thank you to all of our customers and colleagues for allowing us to award these fantastic charities, who go above and beyond for their communities. Your kindness has truly blown us away.'

And at the height of the coronavirus in April, health retailer Holland & Barrett chose to add a micro-donation option through Pennies to its website, app and stores; which they managed through in just two weeks ' soon raising enough every day that could fund 20 blood pressure monitors for patients self-isolating unable to leave their home.

Nick Collard, Holland & Barrett's chief customer and digital officer has explained the business decision as being driven by the ethos of the company and consumers' expectations; 'Stepping in to support [charities] feels like it's something a good responsible retailer or brand should be doing'Customers absolutely expect more from retailers ' not just to show up and sell them products but to demonstrate their values.'

Pennies suggests the opportunity for micro-donations is urgent, and ground-breaking in its possibility. It estimates that there is an opportunity for UK consumers to raise '1bn a year for charity (10% of all giving in the UK) if each of us gives around 35p a week through micro-giving whilst shopping.

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For more information, contact Rob Dyson, Head of Marketing & Communications at Pennies on 020 7600 9286 /

About Pennies

  • Pennies is an award-winning fintech charity (registered no. 1122489) with an important mission:''To protect and grow micro-donations - ensuring the public has digital ways to keep donating the small amounts of money that are so vital for charitable causes.
  • Pennies runs the digital charity box, the digital upgrade of the traditional charity tin, designed to fit with our increasingly cashless lifestyles. Donating a few pence to charity when paying by card or mobile wallet is as simple as a single press of a button or click of a mouse.
  • As our daily lives are changing, Pennies wants to make sure everyone has the chance to donate to charity where they can, especially online and in-app. The opportunity is urgent, and groundbreaking in its possibility: there is a potential if each of us gave around 35p a week, for UK consumers to raise '1bn a year for charity.
  • Pennies has enabled an incredible 96 million small change digital donations to date through its digital charity box, raising over '23 million in extra income for around 600 charities, and growing.
  • Pennies is live across a breadth of 60+ retail, hospitality and service sector leaders across the UK, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland, including Domino's, Holland & Barrett, The Entertainer, Boots Opticians, Screwfix, Hobbycraft, Topps Tiles, and thousands of Rontec and MFG roadside retail outlets.
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