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McDonald’s is making it easier to donate to Ronald McDonald House

The burger giant will let customers round up their order to donate to the charity.
Photograph courtesy of McDonald's Corp.

McDonald’s is adding a new product to its menu: the Ronald McDonald House.

The Chicago-based burger giant this week said it has added an option to let customers round up their order amount to the nearest dollar, with the additional funds to be donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC).

The new technology is designed to promote more giving as customers increasingly pay with credit and debit cards, which has led to a decline in donations from diners in recent years.

McDonald’s digital, self-order kiosks will present customers with a “Round-Up for RMHC” button at checkout. Customers who order from the cashier can also let them know they’d like to round up their order.

“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” RMHC, CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a statement.

RMHC provides families with sick or injured children a place to stay together, providing meals, bedrooms, kitchens and laundry facilities near leading hospitals.

McDonald’s has been supporting the charity for more than 45 years. The burger chain for decades has provided a donation box at its counters to collect customers’ spare change. As fewer people pay with cash, those boxes have become increasingly obsolete, however.

Donations to the boxes “remain significant,” the company said, but they dropped 15% in 2018.

Customers have donated $2.2 million to the charity in tests of the new technology.

To highlight the new technology and the charity, McDonald’s operators this month are hosting 60 Minutes of Moments events at select restaurants around the country, inspired by activities that take place at RMHC such as dancing and crafting.

The company is also highlighting how small donations can make a difference at the houses.

For instance, the company says a 92-cent donation can allow a parent to read a bedtime story to their sick child, while 42 cents can provide 10 minutes for a family to sing together. It costs an average of $80 a night to house a family, and last year RMHC provided more than 2.5 million overnight stays in communities around the world, amounting to more than $930 million in food and lodging costs.

“We could not achieve our mission of providing families a place to stay while their child undergoes medical treatment without support from the community and corporate partners like McDonald’s,” Sheila Musolino, CEO of RMHC, said in a statement. “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.”

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