Supporting micro-philanthropy with Pennies Foundation

A guest blog by Alison Hutchinson CBE, CEO of Pennies, the digital charity box.

27th February 2018

It is a pleasure to share with Pears Foundation – such generous supporters of Pennies – some of our key developments from last year, and to spotlight some direct impact of the digital charity box.

2017 was a key year for expanding the ways in which customers can donate using Pennies. One of our proudest successes was becoming one of Apple’s approved charities, making Pennies iOS app compatible and adding Apple Pay to the ways in which customers can feel good and give. The first company using Apple Pay at the checkout is one of our ‘founding partners’, Domino’s.

We also launched two contactless solutions last year, including our first simultaneous multi-channel launch (online, in-store and contactless) at Fulham FC (now also at Cardiff City FC). The other contactless Pennies option is being offered in-store at The Entertainer, which helped the toy store to surpass £2M raised through cashless donations in just over 6 years. And this month, The Entertainer supported charity The Grand Appeal celebrated their milestone of receiving over £300,000 (in total) to save lives and support sick children and their families at Bristol Children’s Hospital.

Another impact highlight in February, has been Rontec roadside retail customers raising a remarkable £100,000 in less than four months for Young Epilepsy. More than 400,000 Pennies donations were made in total – that’s thousands of donations every day, supporting youngsters like Greg.

Pennies is now in its 8th year – and has just surpassed 50M small-change digital donations made to date – half of which were collected in the last two years alone. Together with our partners in payments, retail and charity, and supported by funders including Pears Foundation, we have unlocked around £12M of extra income for over 300 UK registered charities. These represent a diverse array of causes including Maggie’s (shown in the main image), the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation, National Deaf Children’s Society, and the Eve Appeal.

2017 was another challenging year with uncertainty for consumers and a challenging trading environment for retailers; and we begin this year with some examples of the charity sector not acting in the way the public rightly expects. As we look forward to 2018 these challenges remain, if not increase – given the new regulatory and economic environment.

However, in our view there are some things that don’t waiver, including UK public’s generosity and desire to help others in need.  Pennies will continue to innovate, such as in self-service checkout payments and exploring more mobile options, to meet the public’s appetite to keep doing good and feeling good, and we’ll make it easier than ever to give in 2018.