Americans for Common Cents (ACC) conducts research and provides information to Congress and the Executive Branch on the value and benefits of the penny.

October 24, 2018

Penny and Charity

Many corporations, national charities, schools, and local philanthropies have realized the worth of the penny. Through the use of point-of-sale collections, penny drives, and competitive penny fundraisers, these groups have turned thousands of idle pennies into real dollars for everything from college scholarships to cancer research and housing for the homeless. These fundraisers clearly demonstrate the true value of the penny.

Below are some examples of where the penny has helped charities:

  • How to Run a School Penny War Fundraiser
  • On the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society celebrated the 1.5 billionth ($150 million) penny collect by school students across the country for the “Pennies for Patients” program. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society certainly recognizes that every penny literally counts. Indeed, the $150 million collected in the Pennies for Patients programs proves that pennies do add up to significant sums. With every life saved from blood cancer, their annual penny drives debunk the nay-sayers proving the penny’s value.
  • The World Wildlife Fund relies heavily on microdonations. Over a six year period, over $500,000 was donated to the World Wildlife Fund through Coinstar┬« kiosks alone. “Every penny counts for an organization like ours and while individual donations through Coinstar┬« may be small, they add up in a big way,” says Terry Macko, vice president and chief marketing officer at World Wildlife Fund.
  • Common Cents New York helps organizations transform “idle pennies into useful dollars,” and has helped raise over one half million dollars (50 million pennies) through penny harvesting.
  • Habitat for Humanity receives a significant amount of funds from the Parade of Pennies, which is conducted by Church’s Chicken. Within the first year of establishment, the Parade of Pennies has raised tens of thousands of dollars. Joe Fallon, from Habitat, reported that with these funds “another family has a house.”
  • The Salvation Army recognizes the importance of the penny as illustrated by former Salvation Army commander, Lt. Bryan DeMichael, when he said: “If we can collect all those pennies and get them together, we could really do something good with it.” In addition to the crucial pennies that are donated to the Salvation Army around the winter holidays, the organization will occasionally run a Red Kettle Campaign in which large amounts — sometimes over 5 million — of pennies are collected from various communities.
  • A counting study conducted by the 7-11 convenience store chain found that one-third of all the money collected in store collection receptacles can be attributed to the penny. In 7-11’s situation, it amounted to $1 million of the $3 million donated in one year.

America’s charities are the foundation of our nation’s social safety net and help to ensure that people in need get the help they deserve. Can there be any doubt that penny drives and other innovative ideas are critical to all charities?

Links of interest: