Community2 min read

Convincing loads of people to give a few pennies

Has this thought ever occurred to you?

“It would be pretty easy to convince someone to give me 1p, or even 5p… and if I could convince 1million people to each give me 5p I would be quids in🤑. 50 grand richer.”

This ridiculous thought first occurred to me when I was no more than 8 years old and, admittedly, has popped into my head a few times as an adult too 😜.

It reminds me a little bit of the million dollar homepage story.

I suppose you can look at things like The Million Dollar homepage either as brilliant examples of ingenuity or as stupid scams.

Either way, they do demonstrate that truly spectacular things can happen when a significant number of people devote a negligible portion of their resources. That’s The Power of Many.

I believe that when you apply this model to a cause which is for the greater good, there is no downside.

Take, for example, the classic charity box. The type you see at the till in newsagents or McDonalds. You put pennies into those boxes for three reasons:

  1. You probably don’t like having lots of coppers in your purse or wallet
  2. It feels good to do good
  3. You will not miss those pennies

Many of us in UK are fortunate enough to quite literally not notice those pennies in our budget. It doesn’t feel like any effort whatsoever for any individual. AND YET… McDonald’s collection boxes in the UK raised over £3 million for charity in 2017. They raised $227.4 million dollars in the States. Do you think any individual gave a second thought to putting a penny or two into the jar? I’d say they were more concerned with getting stuck into their BigMac and melting McFlurry.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s a win-win.

But, this is 2019 and as we all know, cash is dying, card is king. Those charity boxes are becoming more and more empty as everybody pays with card.

There are some fantastic tech solutions to this problem out there (which I will discuss on another post) but the loss that the third sector will suffer as a result of this cultural change is cause for concern.

I hope and believe that roundups can help to reduce the loss.


Article updated on: 27th April, 2020

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