Poll - would you donate to charity through an ATM?

29 December 2010

uk-money.jpgAn inspired way to encourage generosity in society? Or a back-door to cutting public spending?

The government is considering asking banks to allow customers to make charitable donations every time they withdraw cash from an ATM. It's one of many ideas put forward and under consultation; other suggestions include schemes for consumers to round up credit card payments to the nearest pound with the difference being paid to charity, and being prompted to give money when completing paperwork for tax returns, passports and driving licences.

It's all part of David Cameron's drive to create his "big society". However, it comes against a backdrop of massive cuts in public spending and increases in taxation; as a country we face paying more tax for fewer local, regional and national services.

Whether the scheme would be successful depends on a number of issues. How transparent would these schemes be; would you trust the money you donate to reach a specific charity? And who would fund it? Would the third party vendors who currently facilitate credit card payments expect to take their percentage?

There's also the matter of which charities would be supported, since we tend to make regular donations to very specific causes. Would there be the ability to choose a charity making a difference close to home, or only pick from a list of pre-determined national charities?

Would such a scheme see funding responsibilities shift from the government to the public? One example might be Help For Heroes - a very worthy charity that supports Armed Forces personnel injured since 9/11, by building recovery centres across the country for servicemen and women. Should the public need to fund schemes to ensure veterans receive adequate care? Where does state responsibility end and that of society begin?

There's a maze of issues to resolve before the government suggests we support charities beyond the point we already do. At a time of escalating unemployment and an increasing cost of living, how charitable will the public feel? Take a vote in our poll about donating through cash machines and let us know your mind thoughts in the comments, avid readers.


11 comments

  • Zleet
    I stopped giving to charity when it went from a few quid in a bucket to a monthly direct debit.
  • ebenezerS
    they obviously didn't consider how much it would cost to change software and hardware to implement this idea. more money would probably be spent on upgrading than given to charity, as most charity givers would likely prefer to give via alternate methods so gift aid can be donated. they can't expect people at machines to key in all that data to agree to gift aid
  • Car B.
    Not a chance. Most charities waste most of the money donated. Isnt the figure something like 80% of all money donated goes on admin. I only donate to locate charities
  • The B.
    @Car Buyer, define "admin"? Take a hospice for example, the receptionist is "admin", the cleaning staff are "admin", the nurses are "admin", the fundraising team are "admin", the catering staff are "admin", 20% spent on wear and tear of the building versus 80% spent on palliative care and trying to get funds to keep the hospice going seems reasonable but then 99.6% of stats are made up anyway. A hell of a lot of the staff in hospices are volunteers, if don't feel like giving them money then give them some time.
  • PJH
    No option for "I already unwilling donate to charity through my taxes?" (BookStart, ASH, Barnardo's et.al all get substantial subsidies from the tax payer.)
  • defcon
    @ebenezerS, You obviously did not use your brain thinking about this did you? :) No new hardware would be required; it is essentially only the addition of a new screen to be displayed to the customer. I am also pretty certain that there is already an automated update system in place to distribute software updates to the ATMs.. The development of this simple system would only likely take about a week including testing.
  • Joe
    HSBC, for what it's worth, already do this. They also have various charities set up as payees on their Internet Banking service.
  • Smith
    Agree with PJH. I already give money out of my earnings, and giving any more is just pointless. Charities are just tax-free businesses with a lot of corruption involved. If I had any confidence that my donations where actually being 100% utilised for the charity cause then I'd consider giving, otherwise any charity may as well be called Splatt Inc.
  • Kevin
    Ebay does this each time you buy from them. Maybe the government should get some figures on how many people donate that way?
  • Brad
    The idea in theory is a good one, but then again ill give it 5 minutes before funds become misplaced, misappropriated or given to some Scam/Criminal activity using this service. Then again, I guess charity muggers out on the streets seemed like a good idea at them at the time, where now everyone hates them and gets sick of them harassing you.
  • Slacker
    No chance, When I go to an ATM it's to get money, not give it away. It's bad enough that some waste my time by asking if I want to top up the mobile phone I don't own. I'll stick to avoiding charity muggers, thanks.

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