The Digital Revolution Shakes Up How We Give To Charity

As we evolve into a cashless society, how do we make up the giving gap of collected spare change that so many charities have come to depend on? Historically, nonprofits like Ronald McDonald House, March of Dimes, UNICEF, and others have accumulated millions of dollars in donated pennies, dimes, quarters. In 2012, passersby tossed $148 million into Salvation Army’s red kettles, but a year later the collection total dropped 10%.  Many charities are also realizing the need for ongoing monthly donations to sustain their missions throughout the year.

In this rapidly evolving, mobile-centric culture, many nonprofits are searching for ways to stay relevant and for platforms that allow them to consistently connect with their donors.

New technology solutions are finally popping up at various points of customer contact to vie for that incremental level of charitable giving.  Point of sale platforms allows customers to “round up” their purchases or “Give $1” at the end of their shopping experience and donate to a charity selected by the retailer.  Companies such as Google, Lyft, and Amazon offer unique donation models through their platforms, including “Give $1 a Day”, “Round Up & Donate Your Fare”, and “Giving a % of Your Purchase to Charity”.  Crowdfunding and other one-time donation platforms such as GoFundMe and Crowdrise, are yet more examples of the digital revolution taking place in the world of philanthropy.


Another new platform invites donors to give on a recurring monthly basis to a cause they are passionate about while receiving a tax credit for their donations.

Coin Up ( a San Diego startup funded by Leena Patidar who has a MBA from the MIT/Sloan School of Business, is an innovative social impact app, enabling users to “round up and donate” their everyday credit or debit card transactions, until reaching a self-designated monthly goal.  Users select their cause from an “in app” list of nonprofit partners that are pre-qualified to meet basic efficiency standards.  They also receive a “Monthly Donation Snapshot” which reflects the individual impact they make for their chosen cause. For example, at participating nonprofits such as Miracle Foundation, $1 provides an entire toiletry kit to a child at an orphanage in India; at Fairy Tail Endings, $5 protects a dog from deadly heartworm disease for 5 days; and at Challenged Athletes Foundation, a $30 contribution will provide a monthly gym membership for an athlete with disabilities. Finding a preferred cause or charity is easy through Coin Up’s search by name, category or zip code feature. At the end of the year, donors receive an individual tax donation receipt for the full amount of their annual giving, allowing them to track and verify their Coin Up donations.

The great news for charities and donors alike? There are increasingly more digital options available for incremental, convenient and cashless giving to continue supporting our communities. Whether it is a one time at point-of-sale or monthly donation, every contribution counts and somewhere, someone’s world becomes a little bit brighter.

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