2020 was a very different year for all of us and technology undoubtably played an incredible role in helping us through – from the health sector and education, to business, working and socialising. Technology is also at the forefront of what we do here at Pennies, allowing us to protect and grow micro-donations and offer crucial support to charities across the UK, Republic of Ireland and beyond.

We see many thousands of digital micro-donations through our digital charity box every day and even with challenges, restrictions and lockdowns in 2020, we have seen more people donating digitally in the past year than ever before. During the height of the first lockdown in April 2020, we collected millions of donations through our e-commerce partners, and when shops, pubs and restaurants were allowed to open, customer generosity showed no signs of slowing with millions of digital donations at the till too.

As circumstances over the last 10 months have pushed us to make more cashless purchases, and charities have needed greater financial support, the technology behind our digital charity box has helped us collect millions of pounds for causes and communities in need.

To mark National Technology Day 2021, we asked two senior leaders in business, technology, and payments to share their thoughts on why Pennies’ form of tech for good is making such a difference:

First up, we spoke with Jon Braithwaite, UK & I CIO at Compass Group. Jon was keen to stress why Pennies is vital as the way we pay for things is changing:

“As traditional charities face the challenge of declining cash use, Pennies’ digital giving is simple and relevant for consumers, great for businesses and socially vitally important.”

Jon Braithwaite, UK & I CIO at Compass Group

Pennies makes it possible for people to give to charity when shopping online and in-app

We also caught up with Ian Rutland, a leader in the paytech world and Strategic Advisor at Pollinate International and Advantio, to gain his opinion on the positive impact Pennies’ technology has for both charity and business:

“I have always held the view that technology is a means to an end, not an end in itself, and that ultimately it has to enrich a human activity if it is to have any real value.  In my opinion, Pennies’ use of technology in this respect is a great case in point. 


Pennies’ digitisation of micro-donations as a seamless part of a consumer’s card payment is not only protecting a decades old form of charitable donation, the collection tin, which was and is at real risk of disappearing as people increasingly use cards for even the smallest purchases…but has also taken the concept into the increasingly important world of eCommerce.  The latter development means that micro-donations can be made any time, any place, anywhere…[and] at the same time has retained that factor that so many donors desire – anonymity.


From a corporate’s perspective, Pennies’ technology provides a way of engaging with their customers in a deeper, more personal way and can become a core element of their Corporate and Social Responsibility programmes [and Environmental, Social and Governance agendas] as consumers increasingly look at what organisations are giving back to the communities that support them.


My personal involvement with Pennies, which dates back almost to the very start in 2009, is one of the highlights of my career and something I am incredibly grateful and proud to have been involved with.  I absolutely believe that micro-donations will become an increasingly significant proportion of the charitable sector’s income and I look forward to continuing to contribute to Pennies’ success at the vanguard of that change.”

From our own learnings, and insights, feedback, and consensus from paytech industry leaders, we know how important tech innovation is for us at Pennies and throughout society.

As a charity we protect and grow micro-donations by working with industry leaders across payments and technology to develop more ways for people to donate digitally and support their communities. This goes hand in hand with our work nurturing partnerships across retail, hospitality, and the service sector, driving future innovation across sectors and ensuring that digital micro-donations can be given with ease as part of daily life.

This National Technology Day and every other day, we celebrate technology – and our payments and technology partners here at Pennies – for the positive impact tech can and does have on society.


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