As shops and restaurants in England begin reopening their doors from 12th April, our CEO, Alison Hutchinson CBE, shared her thoughts on how micro-donations can play a role in supporting our beloved charities and communities in the months ahead – and how business can make all the difference.

It’s official. The government has announced we are on track to begin to open up society once more – with most of the caveats and cautions rightly in place. With retail and hospitality get set to open their doors to consumers or just open, we wish them all the best for their return. The past year has been extremely challenging for these sectors – and of course for us all – but the exciting evidence is that we’re ready to return.

I was interested to read PWC’s annual sentiment index (Spring 2021) indicating consumer confidence is at its highest level since they began benchmarking customer sentiment in 2008. This confidence appears to be driven by older consumers on the back of the vaccine rollout, and the optimism is permeating down the demographics.

Welcome back to giving back: reopening with Pennies

Welcome back to giving back: reopening with PenniesWelcome back to giving back: reopening with PenniesWelcome back to giving back
The past year has been extremely challenging for everyone – but it has also given us a chance to reconnect with our communities and what matters. We’ve all had to adjust, and fundamentally change our lives. As consumers and colleagues, we are asking more questions of businesses about their activities and how these align with the environment and our communities.

We’ve had much more time on our hands to consider what’s important to us. Now, we are seeking ways to give back more than ever – and as a movement – Pennies and our partners are helping to do just that.

Take last year for example. In the thick of various national and regional lockdowns and when 80% of our partners’ doors were closed, the volume of Pennies micro-donations increased by 6% year on year – because where they were able to donate, customers did in droves.

We also had a record number of new merchants join our micro-donation movement as their customers increasing are looking at how they are giving back and supporting the charities and communities broken so much by the pandemic. It is just incredible. Thank you!

“Customers can start giving back right away”
If you’re a partner of Pennies the good news is while you’re busy getting back to what you do best, your customers will be able to start giving back right away! I want to say thank you for putting social purpose at the heart of your business. By being part of the Pennies family, you’ve shown the UK what making a difference really looks like.

And to businesses that we aren’t yet working with, my request to you is simple. The opportunity ahead is huge. The micro-donation movement has the potential to raise £1bn a year in new income for the charity sector – if we all gave just 35p a week. Let’s be clear, this additional money will be an injection of support to help revive communities and prove support where it really matters.

For example, just 10 minutes​ of Pennies donations from people ordering pizza in-app or online with Domino’s​ could fund an hour of tailored emotional support for a young person with cancer with Teenage Cancer Trust. And in less than one day​ of donations at Screwfix, customers could fund a vital repair project for a charity in the community through The Screwfix Foundation.​

60% of consumers will donate when they know how their money is helping
It’s these tangible social benefits that make us feel good about giving, and why it’s so important to communicate them. When we see our pennies making a difference, we feel good and grateful for the chance to join in. Our own research indicates over 60% of consumers are likelier to donate when we are told how our money is helping, and it connects us to our communities.

We’re now over a year on from the first national lockdown and while we reflect on the scale of the tragedy and the change that the pandemic has brought, the only way we can move forward is with optimism about our future.

I for one would like to create a future which empowers us all to make a difference even more simply, swiftly and powerfully than ever before. In challenging times it’s never been more important to feel good by fuelling good causes.

Alison Hutchinson CBE, CEO, Pennies


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