Understand the Basics

Collecting leftover foreign currency is not a difficult thing to do. When you think of a toy drive, a food drive, collecting pennies or bottle returns, none of those collections are difficult. Sure, they require planning and awareness and there are some logistics involved, but everyone understands the basic concept.
Collecting leftover foreign currency is very similar: in each of the other drives, the donor is being asked to donate something, and that something is not something they are likely to have with them. No one is carrying around a new unwrapped toy or a bag of non-perishable food items … and certainly no one has all of their bottle returns with them. So asking for foreign currency is the same; you are asking people to get their leftover foreign currency from wherever they may have it and bring it to the location at the date and time specified.

Let’s Break It Down

Any sort of fundraising drive is composed of only a couple of things: who is collecting, why the collection is happening, what is being collected, where the collection(s) will happen, and when the drive will take place. Any sort of drive is only as successful as the planning behind it.


Who is collecting tells a story all on its own. If the Durham Children’s Aid Foundation is asking for donations, most people will intuitively understand the donation will supporting children in Durham Region.


When you hear about a toy or food drive, you have a pretty good idea why those items are being collected. A penny drive or bottle drive is about raising funds and that can be for anything and so can a foreign currency drive.
This is where your story comes in.
You need to clearly explain why you are collecting funds and what they are going to be used for … this is your opportunity to get the empathetic donor. The why is more important than the what and can even be more important than who the charity is.
If the why is valid, the donation will follow.


You need to articulate what you want. We have all heard the terms “new unwrapped toy” or “non-perishable food item” and when you hear about a toy or food drive happening, you know what they want even if they don’t say. When it comes to collecting leftover foreign currency, there is a little bit of a challenge since it is not a common method of fundraising (yet). We have recommended that all of our charity partners use “#AllCurrencyAccepted” in all of their social media posts to create awareness across programs which will help everyone. We also use the phrases “Any Currency, Any Amount” to make it very clear what is being asked for. The globes below were used for the Fired-Up Gala for SickKids on Friday February 24, 2023 at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto.

GCS FiredUp Gala for SickKids 4

Where & When

If this is a one-time event, making sure everyone knows where and when donations will be accepted is extremely important. One-time events (drives) will need plenty of marketing (social media and other if funds allow) to reach your audience. You can’t start too far out or people will forget but you also can’t start too late or no one will know about the event.
If you are running an ongoing program, it is important to remind your donors about your program periodically. A gentle nudge here and there, an update on the success of the program, or asking donors to post pictures of themselves making a donation is a good way to engage your audience. An on-going program is also a great way to partner with businesses in the community and to support them by promoting their locations as places your donors can drop off their donations.

Event Based vs. On-going Program

As with most means of fundraising, some work great being a one-off while others make more sense as a long-term, ongoing program. Foreign currency fundraising is one of those that work well in either instance, it just depends on what is right for your organization.
Foreign currency donations can be added to any event-based fundraising. Simply add it as a method of donating and you are good to go! It can be added to a food or toy drive (they both usually accept cash donations anyway). Collecting leftover foreign currency during a bottle drive makes perfect sense since they are both recycling these items. And if you are considering a penny drive, adding foreign currency to the mix could drive up the overall value received by as much as 20X!
Foreign currency fundraising is perfect for a long-term, on-going program. It gives the organization time to explain the concept and if you are working with a 3rd party to host the collection containers, you can not only build a great relationship with that 3rd party, but you can also promote them as your charity partner and support them! Durham Children’s Aid Foundation has a great method of supporting their community partners … they’ve created a Google Map linking to every location. It not only shows the donor where they can drop off donations but creates awareness for those businesses!

Mail-in Option

Believe it or not, but people will mail their donations if you give them the opportunity. Durham Children’s Aid Foundation does this and they have donations mailed in from across Canada, from the United States, and they have even received a donation from as far away as Hong Kong!
UNICEF USA’s Change for Good program invites Americans to mail in donations of any currency. Big or small, your charity can take advantage of this too.

Let Us Help You

Give us a call or send us an e-mail to connect and explore ways we can help implement new or enhance your existing fundraising initiatives.
We can be reached at:
+1-647-351-COIN (2646) or scott@globalcoinsolutions.com.

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