Charities could be missing out on up to £50m in donations as people hold cash longer

Charities could be missing out on up to £50m in donations as research suggests that individuals have held on to cash for three times longer than they did before the pandemic.

A new survey by the trade association UK Finance shows that cash as a method of payment has declined because of the Covid-19 pandemic, with people storing cash at home rather than spending or donating it.

This is particularly the case with lower denomination coins, with more than half of the the 1,000 people surveyed saying they usually leave 1p, 2p, 5p and 10p coins at home.

Researchers found that nearly six in 10 of those polled said they were keeping small change coins at home and were also holding onto them for three times longer than before.

The top answer for accumulating cash during the pandemic was “security”, followed by “to pay someone back for shopping” and “to give as a gift”.

The report says: "Industry and policymakers may need to actively encourage greater recycling of hoarded cash to avoid significant wastage to the UK economy.”

UK Finance, alongside the Charities Aid Foundation, said that one way to do that was to urge people to give their loose change to charity.

The trade association said that donating accumulated change would provide a real benefit to charities and would reduce the need to mint new coins, which is better for the environment both in terms of production and distribution.

Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at UK Finance said: “Putting your pennies in a charity box is a great way to help those in need.

“The public has stored over £50m of loose change over the course of the pandemic and, as the UK is opening up post-lockdown, every pound and penny that can be spared for worthy causes will make a tremendous difference.”

CAF revealed in October last year that despite an £800m rise in donations during last year’s spring lockdown, cash donations, normally the most popular way of giving, dropped off substantially between March and April.

Neil Heslop, chief executive of CAF, added: "As charities struggle to resume fundraising, while continuing to work on the frontlines of the response to the pandemic, donating spare loose change would be a huge show of much-needed support at a critical time.”

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