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Easy Ways to Donate To Charity

Updated on March 20, 2013

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!


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.


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

In the USA some examples are or

In some cases, there is a limited number of charities you can support, and in other cases, eg, 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 donates 1% of sales, whereas 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.


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?

See results

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!


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