Royal Australia Mint produces one dollar coin designed to be donated

The Royal Australian Mint has unveiled a new world-first coin that is designed to be donated. Picture: Karleen Minney
The Royal Australian Mint has unveiled a new world-first coin that is designed to be donated. Picture: Karleen Minney

A history-making plan to motivate Australians to donate to charity regularly will have people thinking twice when they reach for small change.

In a world-first, 25-million one-dollar coins carrying the phrase "give to help others" will be released into circulation over the next three years, in a bid to encourage Australians to donate more money to charities more often.

"Most Australians who are very generous are only usually generous once a year, they think of giving before tax returns and that's a one off," Community Council for Australia chair Tim Costello said.

"This is in our pockets all the time, it's making the routine of giving not just once a year, but every time we pull out a donation dollar we are challenged to say 'Am I spending this on myself or giving it others?'

"It's a mindset change that I think is very profound."

Through the many crises of 2020, charities have found themselves hugely in demand with donations drying up.

In announcing the program on Wednesday, Assistant Minister for Charities Zed Seselja said some 300,000 charity workers were reliant on JobKeeper as the sector suffered a severe decline in revenue.

An Australian Generosity Report found one-in-five Australians will need some level of charitable aid over the next 12 months for themselves or their family.

It also found three-in-five Australians would likely give the donation dollar coin if they found it in their change.

Three-and-a-half million coins will be in circulation in the coming weeks, with further three million to be released before July.

Up to 25 million coins will be added to circulation over the next three years.

Royal Australian Mint chief executive Ross MacDiarmid said cash, particularly coins, had been in decline before the pandemic struck, which has prompted many retailers to prefer cashless payments.

Ross MacDiarmid, Royal Australian Mint CEO Picture: Karleen Minney

Ross MacDiarmid, Royal Australian Mint CEO Picture: Karleen Minney

Mr MacDiarmid expected the message of the program to prevail despite the decline in cash use.

"I think people are going to look for them, and hopefully when they do get them in their change they'll look at the messages being conveyed on that coin and they'll look to donate it," he said.

He said it was likely most Australians would end up with a donation dollar in their change and the initial 25 million could be expanded if the program took off.

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If every Australian donated $1 to charity every month an extra $300 million would be received by charities annually.

Mr Costello hoped the coins would be a "regular trigger of compassion" for people who were not regular donators.

He said the coin were easily spread throughout the community, whether that be by cash or online.

He said 45 per cent of Australians earning more than $1 million a year didn't donate to charity.

"It's rather shocking," he said.

"We know those who donate often come from the poorer postcodes."

It is the first time a one-dollar coin has been embossed with colour, the green circle design represents the impact donating one coin could have in helping many others.

This story World-first coins minted to motivate donations first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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