Many Twitter users in the UK will have seen tweets about a new charity concept called ‘Ploink!’ – which I’m guessing sounded to website founder Marc Simpson a former advertising Art Director who spent five years working exclusively for charities, like a penny dropping into a piggy bank or a collecting tin. And Ploink! is all about the pennies – as many pennies as possible being collected and redistributed to named charities.
And it is quite amazing just how quickly a few pennies given here or there mount up. Psychologically few people miss a few pennies, and having helped distribute thousands of Unicef’s ‘Change for Good’ envelopes in my previous airline job, I also know how quickly those pennies add up. They really can make a difference…
Ah, I hear people say, while a lot of pennies from a huge number of airline passengers can add up to a lot of pounds, they’ll never amount to enough to, say, save a species (which some estimates put at £30,000 or more) or fund a major expedition. Who knows what Ploink! might become, but right now that would be missing the point because many smaller organisations are run on shoestring budgets where relatively small amounts can make the difference between keeping going or shutting down. I’m only guessing, but I’ll bet that’s where Ploink! is positioning itself (at least in the interim while the website expands).
And if I’m right, the real question is why nobody thought to start Ploink! before now?
I’m hoping to get that and many other questions answered in the near future, because I emailed Marc asking if he would be interested in an interview, and I’m extremely pleased to say that he said yes. With one caveat – could he delay until ‘Version 2′ of the Ploink! website is launched…well, of course!
In the meantime Marc sent me though some bullet points about Ploink! which I’m posting below with his permission:
- Marc Simpson, 07 Feb 2012: It’s worth noting that one of Ploink’s main aims is to help charities build donor relationships, as well as generate a new income stream. This sort of giving is often the first, gentle step on the donor journey and Ploink allows charities to cultivate the relationship by enabling them to use the message system built into the site to contact and thank people who choose to support them.
- As of early February (2012) there are over 1200 donors registered
- Over 380 charities are also registered
- Almost £2,500 has been donated
- £2066.22 worth of pledged coins are currently in the piggy banks
- Registration is free, we only apply charges when charities receive donations
- We claim gift aid on their behalf and this covers our fee and still leaves money to be added to the original amount
- Payments are made electronically and are accompanied by a notification email detailing amount of donations, etc
Based on feedback from donors and charities we’re in the process of developing version 2 of the site and these are some of the main improvements:
- Visitors to the site will be able to look around at charity and donor pages without the need to register first
- There will be a sponsorship facility
- Charity of the month matched funds will be provided by other companies as well as us and the matched amount will vary between £50 and £250
- Charities will be able to register under more than one category
- Charities will be able to see the names of people supporting them and how much is pledged in the piggy banks and how much has been donated.
- Donors will be able to support as many charities as they wish (currently has maximum of three)
- The whole site as well as the piggy banks are being revamped visually
- V2 will work on smart phones and ipads
It all sounds very good doesn’t it? Only time will tell if the idea will catch fire (I’m obviously hoping it will), but I’m willing to bet that by the end of 2012 English will have a new verb in the lexicon, and many more people will be ‘Ploinking!’ on a regular basis…