Ever since the COVID-19 crisis, donations have been trending down this year.

That’s why, in a global first, the Australian Mint has started circulating the green and gold “Donation Dollar”. There’s one coin being minted for every Australian. That’s 25 million in total. The coin is different to any other dollar. It is not a collectable. It’s a bold initiative aimed at prompting donations to charities who are struggling to maintain the great work they do in the community.

It’s been a tumultuous and difficult year for most Australians, but especially the charitable sector. Charities and NFP’s have suffered a drop in revenue and a loss of volunteers. JBWere research indicates giving will drop by almost 20% over the next two years and research by Social Ventures Australia (June 2020) found two thirds of charities surveyed experienced a 50% drop in donations during March and April.

At the same time, the SVA report also showed that as revenue was dropping, demands for charity services rose due to the pandemic and the resulting economic fallout.

But there is hope. The coin’s co-designers, Adam Ferrie and Peter Cvetkovski, have estimated that if every Australian donated their “donation dollar” each month, over $300 million could be raised for charity every year.

So what can the Donation dollar do?

Make giving front-of-mind

Practically, giving the donation dollar is quite hard – with very few traditional “tin fundraisers” and the growing use of cashless payments. However, they do serve as an important reminder to think about your giving prior to donating. By reflecting on your donation dollar, you have more time to really think about which causes and charities mean the most to you and where you can make meaningful and targeted donations. Is it by setting up a monthly donation to support injured wildlife? Or by purchasing artwork from our struggling local artists? Or maybe you can join your local giving circle and meet likeminded people? By putting more thought and strategy around your donations, you can really enjoy the act if giving and see the difference you are making.

Stimulate discussion

“Have you received a donation dollar yet? Who would you like to give it to?” We are all set to receive a donation dollar. By asking this simple and universal question to our clients, friends and family, we can contribute to growing giving. While the Australian Philanthropic sector has grown quite a bit, we still have a long way to go, and many philanthropists still like to remain private. In addition, there appears to still be big gaps in those who don’t give, especially at the top end. According to the latest research by ACPNS on tax deductible giving, 4 in 10 tax payers earning above $1 million still don’t claim any charitable donations in their tax returns. Is there a lack of awareness or no time? By talking about who we have supported or who we volunteer with and how we are using our donation dollar, we can encourage others to think about their giving and continue to promote the importance of the charitable sector and the work they are doing for all Australians.

Teach your children

Collect some donation dollars and decide as a family on who you would like to donate to. It could be a charity, a local sports club or a family or friend in need. Encouraging ideas and then agreeing as a whole family on who to support, instils a strong giving tradition in your family and importantly it equips your children with life skills. We often encourage clients to use giving to teach core values with their children around helping others, gratitude, awareness of others, self-sufficiency and importantly compromise and trade-offs.

Prompt bigger ideas

While one donation dollar may not go far, if you saved your donations dollars (and some additional dollars), you can consider creating your own ongoing giving legacy. Giving structures such as charitable sub funds and Private Ancillary Funds (PAFs) are growing in popularity and can be a perfect solution to create a gift that keeps on giving, well beyond your lifetime.

So, when you receive your Donation Dollar, stop and reflect. Think about what small actions you can take, and how they can make a big difference.

At Elston NFP & Philanthropic Services, we are passionate in supporting private individuals, families and organisations to understand how they give with more enjoyment, thought and structure.

If you would like to have a confidential chat about your charitable giving, please get in touch with us at philanthropy@elston.com.au or 1300 ELSTON.