Cleo offers charity giving option (but only what you can afford)

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 26th Jan 2018

It’s always tricky to know how much you can afford to give to charity monthly. You set up a direct debit with a chugger holding a clipboard and then hope those £5 and £10 monthly direct debits don’t take you over your overdraft.

Now, the skills of AI are being brought to bear on charity giving. Cleo, the AI money manager (aka. in case you aren’t familiar with it, a natty and intelligent Facebook messenger bank balance and spending alerts provider. It goes something like this: notification – ding! You spend 97 per cent more than Cleo users in One Stop stores. Cleo is worth getting if you haven’t already).

Cleo (backed by Niklas Zennstrom, founder of Skype, among others) recently started offering a savings account to users (This Good Money Girl has not yet availed herself of this service).

It is now applying the same approach to charity giving. It will now, with your permission, take a % of your savings and donate them to charity – but only what it knows you can afford.

The thinking behind it is that fewer people are giving to charity, but more people are responding well to digital options to do so. Cleo is targeted at millennials, who, the research suggests, are a more charitable than average bunch, albeit of more limited means.

Since 2015 the number of people giving monthly has fallen, while the number giving on an ad hoc basis has risen. At the same time, the proportion giving via mobile and online – through websites, social media, and apps – has steadily increased to more than 25 per cent (source: NPT-UK 2017).

The feature will connect Cleo users with two independent charities: Toynbee Hall and The Money Charity, whose work in financial inclusion and education align with Cleo’s mission to simplify finance for a generation.

Barney Hussey-Yeo, CEO of Cleo, said: “Cleo is simplifying the future of finance for our generation – young people who want tech-driven solutions that help them take control of their money. We are very excited to launch a feature that satisfies the desire of our users to give to charity – especially to smaller, independent organisations like The Money Charity and Toynbee Hall – and to make it effortless for them.

“Cleo will do all the work for the user: no direct debits, no worrying about whether they can afford to give this month. Each month users will be able to control their giving simply, alongside all their other money management, powered by artificial intelligence.”

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