Donation Boxes Courtesy of The Orphan Foundation

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Donation Boxes

Potential Revenues:


Revenue Source:

Loose change and bills left in the donation boxes




Donation Boxes


Local retailers, www.PlasticsPlus.Net,  www.Displays2Go.com

Volunteers Needed:

People to place, exchange and collect the boxes

How It Works:

This is considered one of the “core strategies” for many organizations that need to raise funds.  Look at any high traffic location and you are likely to spot a donation box or can.  Usually the box contains a simple picture, and a short message that describes the beneficiaries of that charity’s work.  Donors look at the picture, or the message, and decide right then and there to drop their change from the cashier into the box. 

Donation boxes can collect as much as $40 to $60 per month, or as little as $1 to $2 dollars per month.  The primary determining factor is how close the box can be placed to the cash register.  The closer you place the box to where change is handed out, the better your collections.  On the other hand, retailers don’t like to put the box close to their register, as it clutters up their counters.  So don’t go in with a giant water cooler bottle and expect it to get placed.   You want a box or canister that can hold $20 to $50 when full, and then go to the location often enough to change out the box. Look for locations that have a lot of cash transactions and give out change.

Ideas to Consider:

Best locations are grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations with mini-markets, fast food restaurants, and coffee shops.  These are the locations where a lot of small, cash transactions occur daily.  The longer these stores or gas station stay open, the better the collections.  The closer the donation box is to the cash register, the better the collections.  The less likely that a credit card is used, the better the collections.

What are the generally bad locations?   Sit down restaurants where meals are paid for using credit card, and at the diner’s table; mail box stores where very little cash is exchanged, are also disappointing; and dry cleaners that deal primarily in credit card transactions won’t fair well. 

Focus on the larger chains as you grow this fundraising revenue stream.  You will need to get permission at the corporate level to get into some of the larger fast food chains or retailers.   However, it might be easier to construct a deal that puts your boxes in 2,500 locations across the country, and in the best case, have the stores do the counting and collections for your organization.  It will take a lot of connections to convince a chain like 7-11 Stores or Burger King to sponsor you on a recurring basis, but the rewards are certainly well worth the effort.

There is no better way to start a charity from scratch than to consider this as one of your fundamental strategies.  Very few charities are lucky enough to start out with a donor who will simply hand them several million dollars.  It takes hard work and consistent fundraising effort to keep the lights on, and this is one of those efforts that will pay big dividends.

Source of Idea:  Unknown.  Donation boxes have become a common fundraising technique whose exact origin is unknown.

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