Shelter is first charity to join Pennies micro-donation scheme

The homelessness charity is to start using it in its shops next year

Pennies asks customers to round up their bill with the difference going to charity
Pennies asks customers to round up their bill with the difference going to charity

Shelter has become the first charity to sign up to the micro-donation scheme run by the Pennies Foundation.

The scheme, called Pennies, asks people buying items by credit or debit card in shops or online if they would like to round up their bill to the nearest pound with the difference going to charity.

Any retailer taking part in the scheme decides on the charity or charities to benefit from 75 per cent of the amount collected. The remaining 25 per cent is split equally across 10 other UK charities chosen by Pennies.

A spokeswoman for Pennies said the scheme would eventually roll out in all of Shelter’s shops, but would begin with a trial in several of them at the beginning of next year. She said Shelter would be raising money for itself by using the scheme in its shops.

The announcement about Shelter was made this morning at an event to mark Pennies’ first anniversary. It was also announced that one million micro-donations have been made through the scheme, raising more than £250,000 for at least 20 UK charities.

Retailers who have already been using the scheme this year include Domino’s Pizza and Travelodge. Several new retailers will introduce the scheme in 2012, including the outdoor equipment company GO Outdoors and the hardware retailer Screwfix, Pennies announced today.

A number of smaller stores are also offering the scheme through a community initiative enabled by the technology company Cardsave, which provides card processing technology for small and medium-sized businesses. Last week, it launched the Pennies scheme in five smaller shops in Grimsby and Cleethorpes, and 100 other local shops have said they also want to launch it.

Pennies is also launching a mobile payment scheme next year in conjunction with Mobile Money Network, which enables people to shop on their mobile through an app called Simply Tap.

Alison Hutchinson, chief executive of the Pennies Foundation, said: "We believe that 2012 could mark a real step forward in micro-donations, adding to the British public’s overall giving by providing the option of donating their virtual ‘loose change’ in shops and restaurants, online and by mobiles."

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