U.S. Bancorp subsidiary Elavon is partnering with The Royal British Legion to help an iconic, century-old charitable effort adapt to changes in the way that people prefer to make donations.
Inspired by the poem In Flanders’ Field by John McCrae, The Poppy Appeal began in 1921 in the wake of World War I to support former service members and their families. Nearly a century later, the Legion carries on the charitable effort by selling decorative poppies that are worn pinned to clothes, for example, as a show of remembrance. Funds raised go toward providing physical and mental health services, elder care housing, employment support and more.
Historically, the Legion has driven the effort by hitting the streets to collect cash donations. In recent years, however, the increasingly cashless society has created a challenge for the organization. To adapt to the shift in consumer preferences, it tapped Elavon, which provided 1,200 contactless payment terminals – making it possible to donate via card, phone or even watch – as well as employee volunteer support to both train fundraisers and to wake up at the crack of dawn to collect donations themselves.
Simon O’Leary, assistant director of fundraising for The Royal British Legion, explained, “This is an exciting step for us. Often, people want to donate but can’t as they don’t have cash handy. By working with Elavon, we can make it simpler for the public to support our Armed Forces community.”
To date, more than 120,000 people have “tapped” to use the terminals to donate funds. The Poppy Appeal ends on November 11, Remembrance Day in the UK (and Veterans Day in the US) which honors and commemorates those who have fallen in wars.
Hannah Fitzsimons, executive vice president and general manager of Elavon Europe, added, “We are very proud to support the Poppy Appeal. As consumer behavior and cash use changes, we want to be at the forefront to help important charities like the Royal British Legion provide vital assistance to people in need.”
Digital innovation is a top priority for U.S. Bancorp and Elavon, which have more than 350 employees in the UK and nearly 2,500 across Europe. Earlier this year, the company hired a chief digital officer, making it the first major US bank to have such a role reporting directly to its chief executive.
Supporting those who have served is also an important part of how U.S. Bancorp approaches corporate social responsibility. The company provides specialized banking products for customers, an internal resource group for employees, and funding and volunteer support for community partners. Among those partners is The National World War I Museum & Memorial which, located in Kansas City, Missouri, is known for its field of poppies in remembrance.
Written by Pat Swanson of U.S. Bank.