Wednesday, November 26, 2008


How many times have you used a gift card and been left with a balance, although not enough of a balance to actually purchase something else? You can either supplement the remainder with your own cash for an item you don't even need, or you can opt to save it for next time, stashing the card in the back of your wallet or bag, never to be used again.

The Idea: gift card balance donations.

After completing a transaction, the cashier would ask, "Would you like to donate the remaining balance to cause (x)?" If a person elects to donate what is left on their gift card, a button would be keyed and the remaining money would be charged to (x) charitable account. Merchants could offer a variety of causes and funds, giving the customer the ability to choose who they would like to help. Should merchants worry that too many of these gift card balances were going towards donations rather than sales, then they could easily make a policy that only gift card balances under a certain amount (i.e. $4) could be donated. - it doesnt make sense. it makes it sound as though you havent thought it out, or worse, you dont understand how gift cards work

This system would benefit all parties involved. The customer would be able to donate money which may have previously gone unused, or, on the same note, the customer wouldn't feel compelled to spend additional money of their own just to "get rid of" the remaining $3. For businesses, they would be able to boost both their image and their amount of charitable donations – a win-win situation. Lastly, and most importantly, deserving causes would be able to receive aid from previously untapped sources – retail, restaurants and hospitality.

To learn more about deserving charities that could benefit from this system, check out

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I recently visited the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO and experienced a situation not unlike that described in this post: while purchasing a handful of postcards (sadly, there were no instant postcards to be found and a couple magnets, I was asked to round up my purchase to the nearest dollar, and the difference would go to support the Arch - and of course, I obliged.