Why would an airport collect cash for charity?

Let’s consider a few facts:

  1. Currency travels the world much like people do … on planes
  2. Foreign currency, upon returning home (wherever that might be) has no value
  3. Foreign coins, low denomination notes, and in fact many entire currencies cannot be exchanged by your bank or currency exchanges once you get home
  4. Many people try to spend their last little bits of foreign currency before returning home, in some cases buy things they don’t even need or want
  5. Once you and your leftover foreign currency make it home, what do you do with it? Toss it in a drawer somewhere, maybe keep it in a jar … regardless, you likely never give it another thought
  6. In some cases, leftover foreign currency simply gets tossed into the garbage because you either can’t be bothered to find a home for it or believe there is nothing you can do with it

Aren’t we moving to a cashless society?

While we are changing our payment habits and we are spending less cash (at home), it is a different story when we travel.

First off, in most countries, cash in circulation is at an all time high (and growing every day)!
Secondly, cash is still one of the most used methods of payment when travelling.

So why should an airport be interested in collecting leftover foreign currency?

To put it bluntly, it is too easy for them not to collect it to support charity.

They need a plan of course, but the execution can be anything from simply putting collectors in place throughout the airport to building a comprehensive plan that can include in-airport marketing (still images and/or videos), external marketing to let passengers know about the program before even getting to the airport, or even partnering with the supported charities to create more awareness.

What is the potential for fundraising?

A passive program, that is just having collectors throughout the airport will obviously collect the least amount. We are talking about fractions of a cent per passenger.
Our experience with such a program with a large quantity (17) of collectors yielded roughly $0.0025 per passenger … that is ¼ of 1 cent. 17 collectors provided fairly good coverage throughout the airport and most of them were highly visible in high traffic areas.
Heathrow Airport’s program has 30 collectors in place and has raised over £1.3 Million between 2013 and 2016! Granted, they are one of the largest airports in the world and their passenger traffic was over 75 Million passengers in 2016 so it makes sense they would do well. However, while they have raised significant amounts of money, they are still in the £0.0025 per passenger range.

It is our belief that an airport program should be able to collect no less than an average of $0.01 per passenger. Just think about that for a minute … 1 cent. Can you do anything with a penny? Not likely. But what if 20 Million people donated the equivalent of 1 cent each? That’s $200,000.00!
1 cent at a time by donating money that can’t be used locally.
What about an airport with 50 Million passengers a year? $500,000.00!

So, what would it take to collect $0.01 per passenger (or more)?

First off, a larger number of collectors would be needed and they would need to be in high traffic areas. Those locations need to be shown on airport maps and on interactive maps, there needs to be a category for them so passengers can easily find them. Still images and/or videos need to be shown on the many screens throughout the airport including the gigantic displays seen in many of the larger airports. A strong partnership with the charity or charities being supported by the airport would also increase donations. These partnerships will ensure that locals travelling through the airport know what they can do with their foreign currency when they return. Of course, it never hurts for an organization like an airport (or any large corporation) to be seen supporting charities.

What is the first step?

Contact Global Coin Solutions. We can provide all of the necessary support to create, execute, and maintain a foreign currency program at any airport in Canada or the U.S. We will provide the collectors and artwork, manage the collections, and handle all aspects of the foreign currency.
And all at no cost to the airport. If you are outside of Canada or the U.S. and want to launch your own program, let us know and we will put you in touch with someone close to you that can support this.

International Airport Review published an article our President, Scott Hutchings, wrote in 2018 talking about the benefits of airport collection programs. The message of the article hasn’t changed in that time and given the circumstances over the past few years, we need more airports involved today than ever before!

Note: The globe in the image below contained 169.9kgs worth of mixed currency from all over the world.
After processing, the contents were valued at over $12,000.00!

GCS Globe - $12,000.00 worth!

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