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In 2018, Ronald McDonald House Charities provided more than 2.5 million overnight stays to sick children and their families. Credit: McDonald’s

McDonald’s creates cashless round-up program to help reverse decline in Ronald McDonald House donations

Chain said cash donations dropped 15% last year as fewer people carry cash, coins

Donations made to Ronald McDonald House Charities are declining at McDonald’s restaurants amid a cashless society, prompting the Chicago-based chain to launch a new program to reverse the trend.

McDonald’s customers over the years have donated to the program, which provides parents of sick children free lodging near hospitals, by dropping loose change in donation boxes found at the order counter or the drive-thru.

“However, as we’ve become a more cashless society, it has impacted giving. In 2018 alone, there was a 15% drop in coin contributions to RMHC donation boxes in McDonald’s restaurants,” McDonald’s said.

In 2019, the downward trend of cash donations continues. Starting Tuesday, Dec. 10, McDonald’s hopes to fix the cashless conundrum with the nationwide launch of Round-Up for RMHC. The program will allow customers to round-up their order to the nearest dollar.

Donations can be made at the kiosk, drive-thru or order counter.

At a kiosk, for example, a customer can select the “Round-Up for RMHC” button to make a cashless donation ranging from 1 cent to 99 cents.

McDonald’s said this option “will make it easier than ever before for customers to continue to support Ronald McDonald House Charities” at the brand’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants.

The burger brand said the new round up program has the potential to raise “millions of dollars for children and families.” 

In restaurants where the “Round-up for RMHC” program has been tested, customers have donated $2.2 million, McDonald’s said.

Donations boxes will still be available at restaurants for cash donations. The round up program is not available on mobile orders made through the chain’s app or a third-party delivery company.

McDonalds-Menu-of-Moments.jpgImage: McDonald’s Corp. is promoting the round-up program with this “Menu of Moments” campaign, which highlights “priceless moments” made possible by Round-Up for RMHC donations.

The first Ronald McDonald House was founded in 1974 by former NFL player Fred Hill, who is now a McDonald’s owner-operator in Orange County, Calif. Funds were raised for the house through a Shamrock Shake promotion. The Chicago-based burger giant has been supporting the group’s mission to help families of sick children ever since.

“At McDonald’s, we know the importance of bringing families together. For over 45 years, McDonald’s, our franchisees and our customers have been proud supporters of Ronald McDonald House Charities,” Chris Kempczniski, McDonald’s CEO, said in a statement. “As a founding mission partner of the charity, McDonald’s remains committed to leveraging the size and scale of our restaurants to promote and raise money to support the growth of the charity.”

Today, more than 370 Ronald McDonald Houses are located near hospitals around the country. The organization also supports more than 250 Ronald McDonald family rooms located inside hospitals. The rooms allow families to rest while sticking close to their sick child.

In 2018, the charity provided more than 2.5 million overnight stays to sick children and their families, saving them roughly $930 million in food and lodging costs.

“Round-Up for RMHC will support the expansion of core programs and services to help families find strength and comfort when they need it most,” RMHC CEO and president Sheila Musolino said in a statement.

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected] 

Follow her on Twitter: @fastfoodmaven

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