Posted: 23 September 2016

Will you donate your #FirstFiver?

It’s always a dream for charities when campaigns “go viral”, breaking into the public consciousness and gaining a life of their own.  That happened this week for the whole charity sector involved in #FirstFiver. 

It started for me early on a Saturday morning as I scrolled through Twitter and found myself copied to a late night tweet by John Thompson, fundraising consultant and fellow fundraising tweeter, who pledged to donate his first new plastic five pound note to charity and encouraged others to follow. 



Donate your #firstfiver to us

The idea immediately grabbed me. Simple, easy, fun – who wouldn’t want to get involved!

It can’t have escaped anyone’s attention last week that brand new fivers, made from polymer, were being launched into circulation in England. There were news stories about The Bank of England printing 440 million of the new plastic notes which featured Sir Winston Churchill on one side, were 15% smaller and more durable – so they wouldn’t disintegrate in the wash.

And people were already having lots of fun trying to test how sturdy they really were - with people dipping them in coffee, trying to rip them and see how much they crumpled after being screwed up. Well known broadcasters like Piers Morgan and John Humphrys even had a go at chewing them! Somehow, the fivers survived.

Now for people to do something meaningful with their plastic fivers. I was keen to ensure we at The Children’s Society got involved quickly and so I got tweeting, coining the hashtag #firstfiver and #givefive to help spread the word.

It was great to immediately see people taking up the challenge and we’ve already started to receive some fivers.  And we can do something special with every fiver we receive. For example, at The Children’s Society …

  • £5 could pay for a hot meal for a child who hasn’t eaten all day
  • £5 could pay for a young person to travel to a counselling session

Right now, in this country, 3.9 million children are living in poverty, an estimated 16,500 are at high risk of sexual exploitation and about 100,000 run away from home or care every year. Every penny, pound and fiver really does count.

We run local services, helping children and young people when they are at their most vulnerable, and have nowhere left to turn. We also campaign for changes to laws affecting children and young people, to stop the mistakes of the past being repeated in the future and we are determined to give every child in this country the greatest possible chance in life.  

It’s really easy to #givefive. You could put your first fiver in one of our collection boxes, send a text or donate online. It’s wonderful that so many people have felt inspired by this campaign and we are very proud to be a part of it.  I hope as many people as possible support as many charities as possible, so we can all make a difference.


By Joe Jenkins - Leadership team


Donate your #firstfiver to us

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Posted: 1 January 1970