On Wednesday 11th November, Pennies held its very first virtual event, hosted by BBC’s Sally Bundock and featuring industry leaders across retail, hospitality, pay tech and financial technology.

As the roster of cross-sector speakers and panellists joined forces to discuss how businesses can thrive, not just survive, in 2020 and beyond, one thing was high on everyone’s agenda: responding to stakeholder demand for brands demonstrating true social purpose.

Pennies CEO, Alison Hutchinson CBE, inspired 200 virtual guests with stories of the impact made with Pennies and the momentum of the digital micro-donation movement. Pennies recently celebrated 10 years and 100million micro-donations and is delighted by the overwhelming response from partners and supporters, new and old, to reach the next 100million in less than three years.


The event included a keynote address from Roisin Donnelly, a Marketing leader and cross-industry Non-Executive Director. Roisin shared insight into how important social purpose is for businesses, stressing that “there has never been a more important time for social purpose, and those not doing it will need to move fast”.

Roisin Donnelly - The Pennies Autumn Event

“Successful brands have redefined their businesses to earn trust – as purpose and trust are now much more important to the consumer.” Roisin Donnelly, Non-Executive Director

Mirroring Roisin’s sentiment, panellists Helen Dickinson OBE CEO of the British Retail Consortium, Kate Nicholls CEO UKHospitality, Dan Brames EVP, Head of North America and International Merchant at FIS and John Mewett CEO of Screwfix, alongside Alison Hutchinson of Pennies, discussed how brands need to adapt to customer demand and work together to thrive.

Helen Dickinson OBE said:

“There has been a structural shift in the way that people shop, and doing the right thing as a Board makes for better business for the company and the environment in which it operates… the time is now – the pandemic has given us the momentum to drive change in retail businesses around the environment and our communities”.

Kate Nicholls added:

“COVID-19 has become a reset moment for hospitality… business in hospitality will return, demand will come back. Hospitality lights up our high streets and it will give us all a big hug when businesses reopen!”

Panel discussion at The Pennies Virtual Autumn Event

A panel of cross-industry leaders from retail, hospitality, charity and payments at the Pennies Virtual Autumn Event, hosted by Sally Bundock.

Pennies is always at the forefront of creating technology solutions to fit with the way people shop and pay for things. As more people moved to online shopping during the pandemic, retailers like Holland & Barrett were able to ‘switch on’ the Pennies donation option within 10 days.

Dan Brames of FIS echoed how important it is for payments providers to make implementation ‘easy’ for merchants – stressing that they must put the resource in to enable even more opportunities for digital micro-donations.

John Mewett, CEO of long-term Pennies partner Screwfix, explained their journey with Pennies during the discussion too:

“Pennies has been fantastic for us and was our biggest driver for donations through the pandemic. We found customers have been more giving during this difficult time than ever before.”

The Pennies Recognition Awards also took place during the event, highlighting and congratulating some amazing partners who have helped drive the momentum in the micro-donations movement. Read the full story of the awards, and discover the full list of winners, here.

Pennies would like to say a huge thank you to Worldpay from FIS for their support for this virtual event, and Avvio Reply for the production.

And we also extend a massive thank you to our guests, supporters, partners and everyone who helped make it a ‘virtual’ reality. The response to this event is already proving that people want to lean in and do more, to give back, help others and support their communities. Together, with our partners in the micro-donation movement, we will continue to make it more accessible to do so.

Because micro-donations matter.

If you missed the Pennies Autumn Event, or would like to re-watch, you can find the entire event above, or on YouTube here.

Alison Hutchinson CBE and Sally Bundock - Pennies Virtual Autumn Event

“If everyone donated the cost of a Montezuma’s chocolate truffle a week, we could raise £1billion for UK charities.” Alison Hutchinson CBE, CEO of Pennies


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