Why your supporters are wealthier than you expect. Course details.

Let’s put philanthropy on the new £1 coin

Howard Lake | 1 October 2014 | Blogs

What kind of design should appear on the new £1 coin that will come into circulation in 2017? Let’s make it something that evokes the philanthropic nature, tradition and achievements of the people of Britain.

The Royal Mint is offering the public a chance to design the next £1 coin. This is the first redesign for this ubiquitous and popular coin in 30 years.

During that period, millions of them have been dropped into charity collecting tins, paid for raffle tickets, been used to buy items in charity shops, and paid for entry to charity fundraising events. All of them are then used to save lives, combat disease, overcome poverty, providing housing, feed the hungry, educate children, provide companionship to older people, and so much more.


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.

So why not an image of charitable giving on the new coin? It seems to fit the criteria given by the Royal Mint:

“Whatever you choose as your inspiration, it must be readily understood to represent Britain. Think of symbols, heraldry, words, aspects of the natural world, man-made structures such as buildings and monuments, British achievements, whether social, political or cultural, and British institutions”.

Why philanthropy on the £1 coin?

1. Philanthropy underpins life in the UK, and elsewhere of course. It changes and improves everyone’s lives in innumerable ways, whether you are aware of it or not. And of course most Britons contribute to that change – as donors, volunteers or charity staff members.

2. Other sectors have already been recognised on UK banknotes and coins. We’ve had scientists, economists, architects, inventors, politicians, military leaders and more. Why not the charity sector?

3. The charity sector is a huge component of the UK economy. Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s Chief Economist, recently said that the economic value of goods and services created by volunteers could be worth around £50 billion per year. Volunteers in England’s 10,000 village halls alone give almost £85m each year in the value of their time, according to ACRE.

4. Most Britons benefit directly from charities. According to IPPR, 79% have used a charity’s service in the last 12 months and 51% have done so in the last month.

5. The charity sector generates and spends substantial sums. The total income of voluntary organisations in 2011/12 was £39.2 billion, £17.4 billion of which came from individuals according to NCVO.

What kind of image?

I don’t have an image to suggest at present, beyond the general one I created above, but I’m hoping others will have some ideas. I am putting the call out to fundraisers and their charity design agency contacts to see what they can produce.

Themes that could be featured include:

* charity

* giving

* helping people (and animals, the environment, culture etc)

* volunteering

It can be difficult to sum up the work and impact of the diverse charity and voluntary sector, not to mention social enterprises. We might have to stick to some common icons such as:

* a charity collecting box

* a helping hand

* some clearly understood words such as ‘give’ or ‘volunteer’ or ‘donate’. (Actually, I’d love to see every £1 coin in the UK carry the suggestion that it be donated – “Give me”).

It should not be a recognisable individual. That is part of the design brief anyway, but I don’t think philanthropy can or should be summed up by one member of the great and the good.

I believe it needs to be simple, unambiguous and, ideally, a call to action.

What design do you think might work best? Let me know. Send me yours and I’ll display them, with credit of course.

£10,000 prize

The winning designer will receive a £10,000 prize or fee from The Royal Mint. If my idea is accepted, then of course I shall choose to donate the prize to charity. If you create the winning design inspired by my suggestion, then that might be an appropriate choice too.

Putting charity on our coin

Money changes lives in the UK, and UK citizens give money every day to thousands of charities, whether a pound or many pounds. Charities are very good at making a pound go around.

So, let’s recognise that and declare that charity begins at home in our pocket, and be reminded of the power to do good whenever we hold in our hand the new £1 coin for the next generation.

This article was first published by Howard Lake on LinkedIn on 24 September 2014.