Easy Ways to Donate To Charity

The Traditional Way to Donate to Charity

Once upon a time, donating to charity was straightforward - someone came round with a can and you put money in. These days aren't completely over (in the UK at least) but there are definitely far fewer people rattling cans on the High streets or doorsteps than they used to be.

New Ways to Donate to Charity

Nowadays there are many new ways to donate to charity that make it easy for you and the charities. Some ways don't even involve you donating your own money!

Source

Direct Debit

Many charities encourage us to sign up for a direct debit. In fact, you could almost say donating by direct debit has become the new tradition.

The main advantage to charities of getting donations by direct debit is that this gives them a better idea of what their income will be throughout the year and so they can more easily plan their outgoings and activities in advance.

Advantages of Donating by Direct Debit

The main advantage to you of donating through direct debit is that once you have set up the direct debit you rarely need to think about this again. At least that's the theory. As family, we donate to 4 charities by direct debit, and this year 2 of those charities have phoned up asking that we change from a yearly donation to a monthly one - and of course that we increase the amount.

If you regularly donate to only one or two charities, then a direct debit is probably the easiest way to do so.

Disadvantages of Donating by Direct Debit

The main disadvantage of donating through direct debit is that it is less flexible than just giving a one-off donation when you want to. If you (like me) think that there are a great many worthwhile charities, you may want to vary which charities you donate to and so a direct debit may not be the best choice.

If direct debits do not appeal to you there are other ways to donate to charity that take very little effort, and with some of them you don't even use your own money!

A Charity Credit Card

My WWF credit card (with details blanked out.)
My WWF credit card (with details blanked out.) | Source

Charity Credit Cards

With a charity credit card you donate money to charity without giving them a penny - or a cent of your own money. This is because that when you buy using your credit card a small percentage of the cost of your purchase is donated to the charity to which your card is linked. Often when you sign up for the card there will also be a one-off donation.

Money experts generally say this is not the best way to donate to charity. For example, the website Money Saving Expert says that with charity credit cards the percentage that charities get is very small. What this site and others suggest instead is that you get a credit card that gives cash back and then donate that to charity instead. I can see the logic in their arguments and agree that the amount donated to charity is small. However, it is considerably more time-consuming and complicated to get money back and then donate it to charity, and there is something really satisfying about knowing that without having to do anything other than pay by credit card instead of debit card, you are giving money to charity. Although typically charity credit cards only give 0.25% of spending to charities, cashback cards only have very high rates for the first few months. From then on the percentage drops hugely and generally the more you spend the higher percentage you get back. Therefore if you don't spend much by credit card, you may not get much more cash back than the charity would get from a charity credit card, and you have to administer the donation.

Advantages of a Charity Credit Card

This method makes it effortless to support your chosen charity, and costs you nothing if you pay off your bill each month.

Disadvantages of a Charity Credit Card

The amount donated per sale is small.

Some experts also warn that the APR on charity credit cards tends to be high, so these are best used only if you always pay off your card in full each month.

Source

Donate As You Shop Online

There are many sites that enable you to raise money for charity as you shop. These work in a similar way to charity credit cards, in that you don't spend anything extra to give money to your chosen charity.

Give As You Live is one example of these sites, and one that I recently registered with. This is a UK based site, and it works in two ways. Either you can download an app that should automatically process the donation when you shop at any store that is registered with Give As You Live. Or you can go to the Give As You Live on-line storefront and from there click through to the store of your choice. For example, I have just ordered some goods from Amazon, and I accessed it through the Give As You Live Site.

Give As You Live is just one of many sites that offer this service. In the UK another example is easyfundraising.org.uk.

In the USA some examples are iGive.com or GivingCurve.com

In some cases, there is a limited number of charities you can support, and in other cases, eg iGive.com, you can even add a charity that is not already registered. The donation made is generally a percentage of each sale, and this varies from store to store. For example Amazon.co.uk donates 1% of sales, whereas Play.com give 3%. If you use a charity credit card to pay for your goods you are setting in motion two donations!

Advantages of Donating as you shop online:

There is no cost to you, apart from what you are already spending.

Disadvantages

I can't think of any disadvantages to this system.

A charity shop

Oxfam is one well known charity that stocks a wide range of fair trade products as well as selling second hand goods.
Oxfam is one well known charity that stocks a wide range of fair trade products as well as selling second hand goods. | Source

Do Your Shopping From Charity Stores

Many charities produce catalogs of goods for sale or have on-line stores. These are usually fairly traded and high quality. Some mainly stock gift items such as jewellery or tee-shirts, but some carry a wide range of products. For instance the Goodwill of Orange County runs an internet auction site selling a vast range of goods, including antiques.

In the UK many charities have stores run by volunteers, selling everything from old books and clothes to fair trade chocolate. Many also sell Christmas cards and wrapping paper. If you are buying these anyway, why not get them from a charity shop?

Advantages of buying from Charity or Goodwill Stores:

You are buying products you already want to buy, and supporting charity at the same time so it does not create any extra cost.

Disadvantages of buying from Charity or Goodwill Stores

Your choices may be more limited, particularly when buying second hand goods.

Donate Your Old Cell Phones or Empty Printer Cartridges

Many charities provide prepaid envelopes for you to easily donate your old cell phones or empty printer cartridges. The cell phones are then sent on for reusing or recycling, and the printer cartridges are either recycled or sent to companies that can refill them for further use.

This means you are helping both charity and the environment, so it's a double win.

Do you feel inspired to donate the easy way?

Which easy way will you donate to charity?

  • I will set up a direct debit for my favorite charity.
  • I will get a credit card that gives to charity.
  • I will open an account to donate as I shop online.
  • I will buy from charities whenever I can.
  • I will donate my clutter to charity.
  • I will do all of these.
  • I already do some or all of these.
See results without voting

Declutter and Donate Your Clutter to Charity

If your children have outgrown their toys or clothes, if you have outgrown your clothes, or are just having a clear-out, instead of dumping everything into the garbage, donate it to your nearest charity or goodwill store. Or you could take toys to a children's hospital, or baby clothes to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

In our house we permanently have a "charity bag," for anything that is no longer used. When we've filled a bag or two, we take it to a charity store. What is clutter to you could be very useful to someone else and could make money for your favorite charity.

Advantages of Donating Your Clutter to Charity.

It doesn't cost you a cent. It gets rid of clutter. It makes decluttering easy because you know you are helping someone out instead of creating more waste.

I can't think of any disadvantages!

I hope this has inspired you to make a donation to charity the easy way. Please fill out the poll if it has!

More by this Author


Comments 25 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Great suggestions Yvonne! Hopefully this will spur on some giving this holiday season.


btrbell profile image

btrbell 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

This was very interesting and contains a lot of good information! Thank you for sharing! Up and useful!


Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Bill, I hope so too. It really is very easy with these ways!


Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Hi btrbell, glad you like the suggestions and thanks so much for vote up and for sharing.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

So comprehensive, detailed with helpful pros and cons.

At gift giving time, I try to find something to directly benefit a charity. I shop pretty exclusively at Ten Thousand Villages, fair trade with beautiful hand- crafted items from third world countries.

This year I wrote a check directly to ACS when a girlfriend made beautiful crocheted necklaces...I will be giving as gifts to family and girlfriends.

This is a fabulous contribution to H.O.W. Voted UP and UABI.


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

I really appreciate this. I am a "big tine" volunteer.


HoneyBB profile image

HoneyBB 3 years ago from Illinois

Excellent information and research to let people know how different charities work and how much goes toward the actual people in need. Thanks for sharing.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Interesting Yvonne! I do have a few charities I regularly donate to (St. Jude is my fav!). I also donate items to Vietnam Vets...clothes and whatever each time the call. They bring a truck over and take it away.

Great hub!


Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Hi Maria,

How great that you buy gifts that are fair trade and hand-crafts. I do try to do that as much as possible too, but sometimes I still end up ordering through Amazon. Some years we've bought everything from a charity catalogue.

Thanks very much for your kind comment,


Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Mhatter99, with your generosity in commenting I am not surprised that you are big time volunteer. I bet you have brightened many lives. Thanks for your comment!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Thanks for the detailed information about this topic! Lately more organizations are also giving people the option to donate $10 via a text message.


Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Hi HoneyBB

Thanks for your comment.


Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Hi Kelly, some charities in the UK leave bags for people to fill and then they come and collect them, so it sounds as if they do a similar thing in the US. (I wasn't sure if this was just a British thing so didn't include this in the hub - so thanks for that info!) There are some companies who try to take advantage of this and pretend to be charities but aren't so we have to be careful.

Thanks for your comment


Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Hi randomcreative,

I didn't know about the text message donating. That's a way I would guess will be very popular. Thanks for adding to the hub!


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

Nice summary!


Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Maren Morgan M-T.


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Where I live, we regularly receive calls for donations from Easter Seals and the Vietnam Vets. I always try to have something to leave on the porch for them. We also get requests from Goodwill and the Salvation Army. I try to avoid those charities for personal reasons. I look for ways to give to charities that don't take the items to their "store" and ridiculously mark up the prices to sell to others when I truly wanted to donate, give to others less fortunate. Great and important hub Yvonne!


Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Sharon, I can relate to choosing which charities to give to. There are so many it is sensible to select causes that feel "right" to you. We don't actually have Goodwill here in the UK, so although I've heard of them I don't know much about them. Likewise Easter Seals. Actually we don't have Vietnam Vets either, but I do know what they are.

Also it's interesting the different ways charities operate in our two countries. I'm not sure many of the UK charities use the items directly, they almost all take it to stores and sell them on. One charity we regularly donate to supports the homeless, but even then the items are sold in their shop rather than passed on to homeless people. We often get bags through our door for us to fill and donate to charities and we are constantly clearing out but so often we seem to get the bags just after my husband has taken everything to a charity shop!

Thanks for your interesting comment!


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

Hi Melovy,

I have always donated my unused stuffs to Charity.

Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas.

Merry Christmas a very happy New Year.


Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Hi Vinaya,

Donating unused stuff to charity is a great idea.

Thanks for your comment, and wishing you a great festive season too!


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

With all the tax issues in the USA (I realize you don't live here) this is very timely - I have worried that non-profits would suffer from the changes we may be facing. Voted up!


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 3 years ago from Western New York

We always donate our boys' outgrown clothes and toys (and any other unused household goods) to charity. We also have a few charities that we give to annually - the John Tracy Clinic is our favorite. We also drop whatever spare change we have into the Salvation Army kettles at Christmas time.

They are an amazing resource for families of deaf and hard of hearing children. We have to pick and choose which organizations we give to, as there are so many it can be overwhelming!


Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Marcy, in the UK some charities are suffering, for sure, yet it is so easy to give. Glad you found this useful and thanks for your comment.


Melovy profile image

Melovy 3 years ago from UK Author

Leah, donating out-grown clothes and toys and other stuff is a great way to pass things on. Right now we have 3 carrier bags of things to drop off this afternoon.

I'm glad to hear there are good resources in the USA for families with children affected by deafness. I don't know what's available here. I know what you mean about needing to pick and choose - we give regularly to several charities and it can be hard to say no to others, but it's impossible to support them all.

Thanks for your comment, and wishing you and yours a good 2013.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

Fine Hub. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. (Our's here in the USA is the 4th Thursday each November. Highlighting this Hub at this time of year is a "No disadvantage" too.

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