CashMoney in physical form such as banknotes and coins. Expanded Philanthropy during the Pandemic
While experts braced for a steep decline in philanthropic giving during the Covid-19 pandemic, cash donations did not fall as severely. According to Viviana Zelizer, a sociology professor at Princeton University, this arose from the fact that cash gave a chance to express human solidarity.
- In November 2020, an anonymous donor sent $180,000 in physical moneyFrom the Latin word moneta, nickname that was given by Romans to the goddess Juno because there was a minting workshop next to her temple. Money is any item that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts, such as taxes, in a particular region, country or socio-economic context. Its onset dates back to the origins of humanity and its physical representation has taken on very varied forms until the appearance of metal coins. The banknote, a typical representati... in a cardboard box to the City College of New York (CCNY), part of the City University of New York (CUNY). The package languished in a mailroom during the pandemic until it was delivered to Vinod Menon, chair of the Physics department. While authorities proved the legitimacy of the funds, the donor’s identity was untraceable. The gift will fund two full-tuition scholarships each year through 2032.
- Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, 87% of the French public considered cash an “essential” instrument for donations, tips, and gifts in October 2020, according to an IFOP survey for Brink’s France. The French still prefer using cash for all types of donations, according to the 2021 IFOP surveys for the Monnaie de Paris.
- During the pandemic, the British public accumulated £50 million of loose changeThis is the action by which certain banknotes and/or coins are exchanged for the same amount in banknotes/coins of a different face value, or unit value. See Exchange., mainly coins of lower denominations. “Donating spare loose change would be a huge show of much-needed support at a critical time,” said Neil Heslop, CEO of the Charities Aid Foundation.
- “At a time of excruciating social distancing, when quarantine rules separated us from one another, money became a tangible social connector, bridging the physical gap by allowing us to express concern for intimates and strangers. Notice the paradox: cold cash, the ultimate transactional medium, alchemized into a warm social currencyThe money used in a particular country at a particular time, like dollar, yen, euro, etc., consisting of banknotes and coins, that does not require endorsement as a medium of exchange., strengthening multiple social bonds and affirming community solidarity.” – Viviana Zelizer.
Cash Donations Across the World
- During the winter holidays, charitable organizations use buckets to collect cash, allowing them to create awareness and raise high volumes of small, one-off contributions.
- After natural disasters, many U.S. businesses collect donations at their registers, such as Walmart and Sam’s Club, after Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana. In other disasters, mutual aid groups had difficulties after collecting funds through Venmo and CashApp, such as with Snowstorm Uri in Texas.
- In Canada, the Currency for Kids program allows donors to give their unused foreign physical money to Durham’s Children’s Aid Foundation. UNICEF USA pioneered the scheme in 1987.
- In 2020, the Royal Australian MintAn industrial facility manufacturing coins. launched the Donation Dollar coins to stimulate donations to charities, struggling businesses, or needy people.
Cash Tips and Gifts Are Best for Essential Workers
Gratuities are a significant part of the retribution of service workers worldwide. Employees in the hospitality sector greatly appreciate getting their tips in cash, as they accrue taxes and card fees on gratuities and receive funds with substantial delays. Delivery couriers and other gig workers have lost tips from unscrupulous clients and the abusive practices of Amazon, Uber, Doordash, and other platforms.
- In Spain, the accelerated adoption of digital payments has reduced consumers’ willingness to tip, greatly diminishing the earnings of restaurant and hospitality workers. While most Spaniards (52.5%) refuse to accept one and 2-cent coins (usually left behind as tips), a broader majority (65.9%) oppose their elimination.
- While digital payments have grown since the pandemic, “there might be some places where tips are very much appreciated, where you can only do it in cash, so it’s important to have small bills for the maid in your hotel room or somebody who helps you with your luggage,” said Pauline Frommer, the editorial director for Frommer guidebooks.
- Etiquette experts advise giving cash to houseworkers, superintendents, doorkeepers, and security guards during gifting season.
- While postal workers cannot accept cash or gift cards in the United States, postal workers in Mexico distribute labeled envelopes for tips in advance of November 12 (Postal Workers’ Day).
Figure 1. Mexico: Labeled Envelope for Postal Workers’ Day.
The Gift that Never Gives: Unused Gift Cards
Many U.S. consumers are using their unused gift cards during the inflationary spike. In July 2022, 47% of U.S. adults reported having at least one new gift card, voucher, or store credit, according to a Creditcards.com survey.
Each person in that survey reported having an average of $175 in unspent gift cards, vouchers, and store credits. Younger respondents are likelier to have unused gift cards and store credits than older and lower-income customers.
Cash as a Wedding Gift? Of Course!
Asking guests to bring cash as a wedding gift is becoming more socially acceptable if couples request it tactfully. “While specifically requesting cash is quite gauche, the savvy couple can gently direct guests toward a monetary gift,” said Jodi Smith, an etiquette consultant.
- Catherine Windorf, 28, a content marketing manager from Berlin, Tennessee, had always heard that “asking for cash is crass.” But when she married Kevin Windorf, 31 and a firefighter, they told their guests “that cash would be very appreciated. I think it was actually a relief for most people. Writing a check or sticking cash with an envelope is much easier than going out and trying to buy a gift.”
- At their June 2020 wedding party, Michael and Alexis Campbell set up a table with boxes labeled with things guests could give cash toward, including household goods and a future home. “As each guest walked in, they could just drop off their gift into the area they wanted to contribute to, and this way they still had some say in how the money was spent. The goal was to make gift giving as simple for the guests as possible, and to help us get started with our lives,” said Alexis Campbell, 28, a certified nursing assistant in Madison, Wisconsin.
- “Overall, the trend is definitely that many couples are becoming more interested in choosing cash funds that fit their relationship and weddings,” said Emily Skurnik, a spokeswoman for Zola. This wedding website added the option to create registries with customized cash funds in 2020. Couples favor cash gifts as they marry later than before or are already living together, according to columnist Thomas Farley.
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