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Pennies micro-donation scheme signs up more retailers, including Monarch Airlines and furniture chain DFS

Alison Hutchinson, chief executive of the Pennies Foundation, says it has tried to attract a wide range of retail partners

Alison Hutchinson
Alison Hutchinson

Monarch Airlines and the furniture chain DFS are among the latest retailers to sign up to the micro-donation scheme Pennies.

The initiative, run by the Pennies Foundation, allows people who pay by card to make small charitable donations, usually by rounding the amount they pay up to the nearest pound. The donation goes to the retailer’s chosen charity.

Other firms to join the scheme, announced today by the foundation as it celebrates its second anniversary, include Evans Cycles, the London-based bar group Drake & Morgan, the Savile Row tailor Gieves & Hawkes and Adnams Cellar and Kitchen stores.

Alison Hutchinson, chief executive of the charity, said the scheme was starting to take off. "We wanted to prove that Pennies is what charities, retailers and customers want – and we’ve surpassed our expectations," she said. "More organisations, consumers and payment providers are coming on board.

"The movement is being unlocked by new payment providers, meaning we have doubled the growth we have predicted this year."

Hutchinson said the charity had been trying to attract a wide range of retail partners. "Once it’s proven, you get the early adopters – and then it starts to grow," she said. "Very deliberately, we have not wanted to get only one segment of retail."

It also has more charity shop partners, including the cancer charities Clic Sargent and Tenovus. The Fragrance Shop has agreed to donate 5p from each purchase to its charity partner Rays of Sunshine and customers can agree to match this at the checkout.

Pennies has also announced new payment provider partners, which will allow more small and medium-sized enterprises to join the scheme. These include Barclaycard, Global Payments (HSBC Merchant Services) and Sagepay.

Domino’s Pizza was the first big-name retailer to sign up to Pennies in November 2010. In the first year, one million customers donated £250,000 in total. Hutchinson said that, by the end of this year, more than three million people would have made donations totalling nearly £1m through the scheme.

"If every UK adult with a card gave 30p once a month, it would mean £150m of new money for charities every year," she said. 

Pennies retains about 5 per cent from each donation to fund its work as a registered charity. This has allowed it to move from getting grants from individuals and foundations to fund its work.

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