Sunday, 14 December 2014

Fundraising Ideas: How A One Yen Drive Becomes a Copper Coin Collection

The senior kids in our school in Yokohama went with HOPE INTERNATIONAL each year to Cambodia to build schools and libraries. The trip wasn't cheap, and the senior students held several fundraising events each year to help offset the costs.

The entire school community got involved in the Annual One Yen Drive.

A barometre was placed in the front foyer of the main building so that everyone could see how the Drive was progressing.

Each grade, from the kindy kids to IB seniors were invited to participate. Each class had a container to keep the yen in, and at the end of each term the grade that collected the most yen were given a merit award by the Parents Association which was worn proudly by everyone in the year.

All the money was then added together and the barometer updated. At this stage it became a whole-of-school goal.

EVERYONE was contributing and chasing the target! Each year, the school community wanted to 'beat' last years results.

At the end of the year, the grade that contributed the most was given a party by the Parents Association, and the rest of the school, 600+ students were shouted an ice cream for the efforts.

For the 3 years we were involved in the school, the One Yen Drive target was blitzed. It was fun to do, easy to participate in, required no skill and the results were on show for all to see.

Knowing how successful the One Yen Drive was, I tried (and sadly failed) to introduce it to our school in the UK - a Penny Drive. I can't remember the reasons now, but suffice to say, the answer was no. They did like the International Food Fair concept (another chat for another day), and modified it to Festive Fare for the Christmas Market (another chat for another day)

We wanted to have a NEW aspect to our Charity Bazaar for International Women's Club, and I thought why not change a YEN DRIVE into a COPPER COIN COLLECTION?

Everyone has oodles of little coins taking up precious space in purses - and they get heavy. Most of us dump them into a jar anyways, so why not collect them?

Euro Copper Coins 1c, 2c and 5c pieces.

We launched our first ever Copper Coin Collection this way:
  • Everyone was invited to participate, tho it wasn't mandatory
  • Each participant was given a ziplock bag (or similar) to pop coins into
  • We put a plain, white sticky label on the bag, and noted:
    • Organisations details
    • Date bag is to be returned
    • Allocated space for them to write their name/contact phone number
  • We nominated a collection period (we did a month) and drop off point (ours was the next monthly meeting)
  • Advertise a thank you for for everyone who returns a bag with coins as incentive
    • Scratchy lotto ticket
    • Complimentary raffle tickets if you have one coming up
    • Small bag of chocolate or a pop-cake ( try to have this donated)
  • Rather than counting the coins, WEIGH the bags!
    • Heaviest bag declared overall winner
    • Have a small posy of flowers, or offer a larger number of raffle tickets
There were a few things we didn't factor into this 'great idea' (which it is) 
  1. Copper coins are HEAVY!
  2. Banks need you to sort them into little plastic bags of the right currency/amount for depositing ( We could have put them thru the currency counting machines at the supermarket but they charge a % fee each time, and as the bags were so heavy it would have taken a few trips. Plus, our members had given the coins to charity in goodwill, we didn't want to 'waste' money, no matter how small an amount on fees)
  3. It takes ages to sort into 1c, 2c and 5c (If we do it again, we'll give everyone 3 bags so that they are sorted when we receive them)
  4. It takes more time to count the individual coins into €2, €5 and €10 bags.
We had a small Copper Coin COUNTING morning and managed to sort them in a few hours, after I'd spent a few evenings sorting the 21.68 kiloss of coins that were donated. The heaviest bag donated was just over 3.5 kilos Who would have thought!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We raised €194 in coins which is a great start to our Bazaar.

Several people forgot to bring their coins in, and others have simply continued to collect, so we'll be receiving more coins over the next few weeks.

So, two really easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy fundraiser ideas.

Hope you find a way to incorporate them into your next fundraising drive.

Any other suggestions for quick coin-oriented ideas?
What ideas have you seen done somewhere that you modified to suit your needs?


  1. congrats on your success! Here's one that has been done on a large scale, maybe it could be adapted for you?

    Pennies from heaven!

    1. I'm done for a while LOL but thanks for sharing the idea.

      Vodafone and many other companies are doing similar fundraising apps now; there's also a huge amount of online free charity donation sites to access (we used one for the mini marathon last year) and MissM used one for her MS Read-A-Thon which allowed family back in Sydney to sponsor her.

      Anything that helps charities raise money these days is a brilliant idea