Charities Bank On ATM Donations

Move over SMS and QR, there’s a new acronym in the giving game – ATM. That’s right, the old automatic teller machine may have a new life as a powerful channel for consumer philanthropy.


Since March 14, a “Donate to Charity” button on Wells Fargo ATMs has raised $1.5 million for the American Red Cross for disaster relief in Japan. The month-long program is believed to be the first national effort by an American bank to solicit ATM donations. The campaign may owe its success, in part, to its simplicity. The program is flexible, allowing consumers to donate any amount from one cent up to $249.99, and each ATM automatically prints a tax receipt for the donation. But what really differentiates the effort from other giving applications today is there is no overhead or transaction fee – 100 percent of every donation goes directly to the Red Cross. Wells Fargo is also chipping in $500,000 of its own, as well as matching employee contributions up to $500,000.

Unfortunately, the effort ends today, but we hope Wells Fargo and its competitors pick up where this campaign leaves off. What could be better on an ATM than these words: “In lieu of a $2.00 fee, would you like to make a donation to charity?” Now that you could take to the bank.


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