Twenty-five million additional single dollar coins will be distributed in Australia in the years to come, as part of a unique initiative to inspire Australians to give to charity.
The ‘Donation Dollar,’ by the Royal Australian Mint, is the world’s first legal tender currency explicitly intended to be donated. The front face of the dollar coin features the well-recognised side profile of Queen Elizabeth II, while the reverse — which typically portrays five kangaroos — simply reads: “Donation Dollar: Give To Help Others.”
Royal Australian Mint CEO Ross MacDiarmid said the new coin has the capacity to do a lot of good.
"Like any other one-dollar coin, the cycle of a Donation Dollar is ongoing, as is its potential for positive impact. If every Australian donated a Donation Dollar just once a month, it has the potential to raise an additional $300 million annually for those who need it most,” he said in a media release. “With Australia’s support, we believe Donation Dollar has the power to make a real difference.”
The coins are notably created with a green centre, which, over time, will erode to expose a collection of gold ripples — signifying the continuing impact of each coin.
The Donation Dollar can also be spent like any one dollar Australian coin.
Introducing Australia’s Donation Dollar – the small coin made to make a difference. We’re minting one for every Australian, creating millions of reminders to give. Find our more: https://t.co/Wb3gNwxUFC#DonationDollarpic.twitter.com/X7c55eWe1a— RoyalAustralianMint (@RoyalAustMint) September 2, 2020
The initiative comes at a time when Australia is dealing with its first recession in almost three decades.
Economists have blamed the downturn on the nation’s record-breaking bushfire season earlier in the year and the ongoing economic impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
According to a recent report by JBWere, economic hardship in Australia could see charitable giving decrease by 7% in 2020 and 18% by 2021. As a result, countless non-profit organisations could go under completely.
The demand for charitable aid, however, is expected to rise — with 1 in 5 Aussies anticipated to be in-need in the next year.
Zed Seselja, the assistant federal minister responsible for charities, praised the initiative’s potential to raise funds for organisations dedicated to helping vulnerable individuals — like those experiencing homelessness, food insecurity or poverty.
"This year, we know there are many Australians doing it tough in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Australia’s 57,000 charities and not-for-profits have not been immune to these economic challenges,” Seselja said. ”The Donation Dollar is a long-term idea we hope continues to provide a simple reminder to Australians that if you are in a position to donate it, please do so.”
Almost 15% of Australians — around 1 in 8 adults and 1 in 6 children — currently live below the nation’s relative poverty line, while around 116,000 people are homeless on any given night.
An unprecedented 1 million Australians a month are now in need of emergency food.
Initial research into the coin’s effectiveness looks promising, with 3 in 5 Australians announcing they would “likely donate the coin if found in their change.”
Two in five Australians also said finding the coin would prompt them to give more to charity as a whole.
Three million Donation Dollar coins have so far been released into circulation.