New £1 coin – small change, £21m fundraising opportunity?

New £1 Pound coin

Stephanie Siddall | 28 March 2017

Today, a new £1 coin has come into circulation - but what's the opportunity for fundraising?

What’s new?

Today, a new £1 coin has come into circulation. Supposedly the ‘most secure coin in the world’, this snazzy new £1 is 12-sided, made of two metals and has a hologram-like image – it also contains a top secret high-security feature to protect it from being illegally copied. The current, round £1 is being replaced for the first time in over thirty years because of its vulnerability to counterfeiters – it’s suspected that approximately one in every thirty £1’s currently in circulation is a fake. The round pound will cease to be legal tender on 15th October 2017. That means, from this date, shops will no longer be able to accept these coins (although people will still be able to trade old pounds for new ones at their own bank).


What’s the opportunity for good causes?

We’ve seen successful fundraising campaigns before as a result of updated coins or notes – just last year, the #firstfiver and #fivergiver campaigns (backed by the Institute of Fundraising and initiated by John Thompson) was reported to have potentially raised £12.5 million.

The launch of the new £1 coin is likely to provide similar opportunities for charities to invite their supporters to give generously to the causes they care about. It’s estimated that over one third of the £1.3 billion worth of coins stored in piggy banks or jam jars around the UK, are the current £1 style (another third is probably stuck behind sofas and in the pockets of old pairs of jeans…). Government research suggests that that 5% of the public would consider donating their old £1 coins to a charity when they cash them in.

We’ve been working with the Royal Mint and others to encourage people to donate their old pound coins when they receive a new one, raising awareness using the hashtag #PoundforPound. As well as the initial launch of the new coin, there is also scope for charities to think about how they might organise their fundraising activities and campaigns during the transition period over the summer as people become more aware that the old £1 will be taken out of circulation in October.

We’ll be jointly releasing some further tips and resources over the coming months, particularly for smaller charities on engaging with local media, but know that the best ideas come from the sector itself – we’re calling on fundraisers to get involved in the Royal Mint’s publicity of the new coin launch and raise awareness of their cause by highlighting their fundraising messages on social media.



Okay, so maybe it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it…but don’t forget that the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) allows charities to claim a gift-aid style top up of 25% on cash donations without the need for a written gift aid declaration from each donor. This makes it much easier to maximise those smaller, but vital, donations you receive through public collections, for example. The launch of the new coin comes at a good time, as from next week (6 April 2017) new rules come into force which make it simpler for charities to sign up and claim more through the scheme – you will need to have claimed some regular Gift Aid on other donations, but it’s definitely worth a check to see if you’re eligible to claim through GASDS.

Stephanie Siddall, Policy Manager, Institute of Fundraising


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