Have you ever donated your foreign change to charity?

I’m always mystery shopping and collecting stuff that charities are doing, with a view to stealing ideas, or copying them – and with any luck making the idea better.

Have you ever donated your spare foreign change to charity on your flight home? On a recent trip I came across two airline and charity partnerships giving passengers the opportunity to make a difference. Below are my observations.

Qantas has a partnership with UNICEF as part of the *Change for Good campaign. The envelope looks like this.

Qantas Unicef charity partnership envelope front Qantas Unicef charity partnership envelope back








There was an announcement shortly before the flight landed telling passengers about the envelope and asking us to donate any spare foreign change.

I like the clear thank you, the story about a boy in Pakistan and that I know what my $6 dollars can buy – as well as the difference it will make. I like that they use the opportunity to ask for a cheque donation, card donation and contact details. But it’s hard to fill in the details once you have filled the envelope with change and sealed it – and you have no time to get another envelope as the plane is about to land. Do UNICEF gain significant income from cheque and card donations from Change for Good I wonder?

I don’t like that there are two options to hand in my envelope; to cabin crew or if you are a domestic passenger to place it in a UNICEF bin in the terminal. I wonder how clear that is or if people forget?


British Airways have a partnership with Comic Relief called **Flying Start. The envelope looks like this.

British Airways and Comic Relief donation envelope front

British Airways and Comic Relief donation envelope back








There was no mention on the flight (that I recall) about making a donation in the envelope.

I like the £1, £3, £5 shopping list options telling me the difference my donation would make and the clear instruction to hand the envelope to a member of the cabin crew (If only we had been told about them).

There is no ask for a cheque or card donation on the envelope. I wonder if that is something that has been tested in the past?

Do UNICEF and Comic Relief ever share data for their Change for Good and Flying Start programmes? Testing different approaches and sharing results could help both partnerships raise more by better understanding their audiences, identifying what works – as well as avoiding duplicating what didn’t work so well.

There is not much space on an envelope to make an impression. Next time you take a flight think about what would grab your attention. And what messaging would nudge you to bother to fish out your unwanted coins, or even make a further donation?

*Change for good has raised over $70 million since its launch in 1987.

**Flying Start has raised over £4 million since the partnership began in 2010.

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