Money that's made to give away

Australia’s world-first ‘donation dollar’

“The Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”(Acts 2o:35)

It seems the Royal Australian Mint is in agreement with this biblical sentiment, having just released a special $1 coin that’s designed to give away.

About 3.5 million of these “donation dollars” have already been released into circulation to coincide with the International Day of Charity on Spetember 5. A total of 25 million of these coins will be created over the next three years – that’s “one coin for every single Australian”, according to the Donation Dollar website.

The aim of this world-first coin is to encourage Australians to give to charities at a time when donations are at low point but the needs of many people are greater, thanks to the financial impact of COVID-19 and this year’s bushfire crisis.

“If every Australian donated a donation dollar just once a month, it has the potential to raise an additional 300 million dollars annually for those who need it most.” – Ross MacDiarmid

“Hopefully, they will look at the message that is being conveyed on that coin and they will look to donate it,” Mint CEO Ross MacDiarmid told the ABC.

The donation dollar features the message “give to help others” around a distinctive green centre with ripples that symbolise “the ongoing impact each Donation Dollar has made to those who need it most.”

While the donation dollar is legal tender, the idea is that when the coin turns up in your loose change, it will serve as “a daily a reminder to give”, “not only in times of crisis but all year round.”

The website gives some suggestions on how to go about this: “You can donate it to a cause or charity of your choice [wherever cash donations are accepted], to a local business that is doing it tough, or to anyone you think needs it more than you.”

“If every Australian donated a donation dollar just once a month, it has the potential to raise an additional 300 million dollars annually for those who need it most. So with Australia’s support, we believe donation dollar has the power to make a real difference,” said MacDiarmid.

The donation dollar is intended to “inspire a national spirit of charitable giving”.

Aside from physically handing over the $1 coin, the donation dollar is also intended to “inspire a national spirit of charitable giving, with a tangible reminder which encourages all Australians to give smaller amounts, more often across more charities.”

The Mint is hopeful that’s exactly what will happen, with two in five Australians surveyed for their “Australian Generosity Report” saying the donation dollar would encourage them to donate more to charities.

At Bible Society Australia (BSA), head of strategic partnerships Scott Walters is encouraged by the possibility that the donation dollar could prompt people to think about giving.

“BSA and charities generally are still potentially going to suffer a downturn in revenue as a result of the impact of COVID-19,” says Walters, who is anticipating a tough year ahead based on previous economic downturns.

“Now, in a recession, as more people lose their jobs, they are less inclined to spend discretionary income, including on giving to charities.”

In saying this, Walters notes that a few kind BSA donors have decided to give even more despite the pandemic because they recognise the importance of organisation’s work – now more than ever.

“The Bible is a constant source of hope for the future and a comfort to those in trouble. The need and desire from people to have the Bible in their heart language is now greater than it’s ever been. So the need for the translation, distribution and gifting of Bibles is as great as it’s ever been,” Walters says.

To find out more about how your donation dollar – or dollars – can support the work of Bible Society Australia, visit