Fundraising News: Donation by cashpoint could be the next step

Customers could be able to make a donation to charity each time they use a cash machine, if a project being touted by an IT banking specialist becomes reality.

John Forster, an IT analyst programmer who codes screens for the financial industry, has had interest in his idea from several charities and banking organisations, although none has offered to take forward the proposal as yet.

"What charities seem to like is that it seems simple but could raise millions," he said.

Forster said the system would probably require consortia of charities to partner with banks. Customers withdrawing money from machines would be asked on-screen whether they wished to make a donation to a particular multi-charity campaign, such as the Make Poverty History campaign, due to start in 2005.

Forster said it would work better if the banks acted together on the concept rather than used it as a competitive brand marketing tool.

Action Aid, Cafod, Comic Relief, Traidcraft, 46664 and Care International have expressed interest, said Forster. He has written to more than 100 charities, mainly those involved in international aid, politicians and celebrities involved in charitable work to float the idea.

Link International, which runs the UK ATM network for the banks, said it is discussing the proposal internally. It has also been taken up by the British Bankers Association and the Association of Payment Clearing Services, the trade association for institutions delivering payment services to customers.

Forster's previous experience as a programmer convinced him it was feasible and affordable to implement the system. He said he was moved to kick-start the initiative after travelling in south-east Asia: "I saw beggars with missing limbs pulling themselves along on skateboards in torrential downpours, while Westerners, including me, walked on by. These images had a lasting effect on me."

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