I was at McDonald’s the other day, looking at the mostly empty donation box in front of the cash register, and was wondering if Ronald McDonald House Charities had felt an impact from the current trend of plastic money over paper. I have rarely carried cash for several years now, and I know many others do the same. Several years before then, when I did carry cash, I didn’t hesitate to throw my change into the donation box.
There’s got to be a way for us plastic users to easily donate to this and other worthy causes. I remembered a few years ago, when another fast food restaurant was asking for donations to help the homeless, and they asked if you would like to round up your bill. I thought this was an excellent idea and made it so easy to give. For example, if your meal cost $4.45, you could round up your bill to $5.00, and the extra $0.55 would go to charity. This method works for plastic as easily as it does for cash. You are told the total amount of your bill, including the donation, and you pay as you wish.
I think McDonald’s and RMHC would do well in implementing a similar program. To raise the idea another level, what if the credit card terminal prompted the customer for a donation amount? The options would be something like “round up”, “$1.00”, “$2.00”, and “Cancel”. This may prove to increase donations even further, as many people may opt for at least the one dollar option.
I have diagrammed the process below. Do you see any barriers to this implementation? What may work better?