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‘Electronic charity box’ scheme alternative to tins

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Summary of story from The Guardian, December 5, 2011

The charity Pennies, an ‘electronic charity box’, has raised £250,000 from ‘micro-donations’ in one year.

Alison Hutchinson, chief executive of The Pennies Foundation, says very few shops, restaurants and pubs are willing to put the tins on their counters for fear of theft and fraud.

And as retailers become ever-more wary of collection tins and electronic payment methods have increased in popularity, Pennies offers people the opportunity to round up their bill and give the difference to a charity chosen by the retailer.

Dominos Pizza customers have donated £178,000 to the charity Special Olympics using this scheme.

When a customer pays by card they are given the option of making a small donation by rounding up their bill or for a pre-set amount such as 5p.

The customer just selects ‘yes’ or ‘no’  – and no one else knows what they have chosen, so they are not under any pressure.

Alison Hutchinson hopes that this will just be the beginning.

“If every cardholder in the UK donated just 30p a month – 1p a day on average – it would raise more than £150m a year,” she explained.

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