5 Free Ways to Support Your Favorite Cause While Buying Holiday Gifts

gifts that give back to charity
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Christmas is the season of giving, right? Peace on earth, goodwill toward men, and all that?

Let’s be honest, though. It can be tough to think about giving to charity when you’re already maxed out buying presents for loved ones.

Here’s a thought: What if you could do both?

 Now you can. Thanks to a growing number of “shopfunding” websites and apps, you can donate to your favorite cause while shopping online — without spending an extra penny. They’ll contribute a percentage of your purchases to a charity of your choosing.

Here are some of our favorites:

1. Goodshop

Support your chosen cause by using Goodshop to shop at any of 3,000 partners, including retail giants like Amazon, Pottery Barn, Old Navy, Walmart and Staples. You can also find discounts and coupons here.

On the site, search for each business to see which purchases count and how much of the price the site will donate. Click through to that retailer’s site to buy. Or use the site’s search engine, goodsearch, to start shopping.

You can choose from more than 100,000 charities, including the Red Cross, SPCA, World Wildlife Fund or the American Cancer Society. If a charity isn’t there, you can add it. People often add their local animal shelters or their kids’ schools.

2. AmazonSmile

If you shop on Amazon, you may as well do it via AmazonSmile. Every time you make an eligible purchase, the AmazonSmile Foundation donates 0.5% of the price to your chosen cause.

Did we mention you pay nothing extra? One more time: You pay nothing extra.

Choose from nearly a million charities. Tens of millions of products are eligible for the program. Check for the “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” tag on each product’s page.

3. iGive

Similar to Goodshop, iGive partners with 1,700 retailers like J.C. Penney, Best Buy and Walgreens. Charities get an average of 3% of the take from your qualifying purchases. Check each store’s iGive listing for details.

Aside from its website, iGive also has a smartphone app. There are 35,000 charities to pick from, or you can list your own.

4. Shop2Care

A slightly smaller site, Shop2Care works with nearly 600 retailers like Macy’s, Kmart and Office Depot. It kicks back an average of 5% of your purchase price to charity.

Instead of sticking with a single nonprofit, you choose two out of six categories to donate to: Animals, Arts, Education, Health/Human Services, Hunger or Veterans.

5. GiveBuy

The new kid on the block, this growing site partners with 700 retailers like Kohl’s and Sears.

Download GiveBuy’s browser extension, which works with Chrome, Firefox or Safari. Whenever you shop online at a participating retailer, the site will divert up to 10% of your purchase price to one of 100 supported charities.

Add your favorite charity here if you don’t see it listed.

To sum up: Buy your holiday gifts through these tools, and you’ll give to charity without spending extra money.

This, people, is what you call a win-win. You win, the good guys win, your favorite cause wins, needy children and puppy dogs win, everybody wins!

Peace on earth, y’all. Goodwill toward men.

Your Turn: What cause would you most like to earn money for while shopping?

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com), a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder, has never met a cup of eggnog he didn’t like.

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