You might be surprised at how fast a few extra cents can add up to help a nonprofit and make a difference in our community. The process, coined “charity rounding up,” raises money for nonprofits by asking consumers, who are dining out at a restaurant or making a purchase in-store or online, to round up their transaction to the next decimal or dollar. That roundup is then donated to a selected charity. So, for example, if you were dining out and your bill was $36.82, you might consider rounding it up to $37.00 and having the difference of $0.18 donated to a local nonprofit.
At first your $0.18 may not seem like much, but when hundreds and thousands of people start to give just a little, the dollars quickly add up. According to EngageForGood.com, “In 2016, over $441 million was raised in the United States by a group of 73 point-of-sale fundraising campaigns that each raised in excess of $1 million. In total, these programs have raised more than $4.1 billion over three decades.” And now, thanks to innovations in technology with countless new apps and point-of-sale systems, these rounding up programs are now not only accessible for the large national corporations and charities, but for local restaurants, companies, and nonprofits of all sizes, as well.
Here in the Mid-South, it seems like there are more and more restaurants and stores asking, “Would you like to round up?” to support a selected nonprofit; and to me, that’s a good thing, especially if the beneficiary is local. If every local business would select a local cause and consider implementing a round up program that not only engages their customers, but also uses or matches with their own corporate dollars, we’d find that we can do a lot of good together by literally nickeling and diming our way there. So, if you’re a business owner, consider rounding up for a cause and joining the effort.
As a consumer and donor, even if you prefer to give larger amounts to your own selected charity, there’s a valuable lesson in rounding up for a cause, especially for children. Consider sitting down as a family and devising a plan where every time you eat out or do something like get gas, you’ll round up and put that money aside, in your own “charitable coin bank.” Then, at predetermined times, like once a quarter, or when the extra change adds up to a certain amount, you can vote as a family to decide where the funds will be donated. It’s a great lesson on counting, saving, and giving; and once again, the dollars add up. We had some friends who did this last year with their family and they donated more than $250 just from rounding up their extra cents. So, I guess you might say that it does make sense to round up and donate your extra cents!