8 Awesome Tools That Help You Donate to Charity Without Spending an Extra Cent
You know it’s important to give back.
You wish you could give more to the causes you admire, but you’ve already maxed out your charitable giving budget.
Or maybe things are especially lean this year and you’re not sure how to carve out any extra money to give.
Don’t feel bad.
Thanks to a slew of what you might call “cash-back sites with a conscience,” you can now donate to your favorite charities and causes -- without spending a dollar more than you already spend everyday shopping.
Much like traditional cash-back websites, these sites, extensions and apps help you donate a percentage of your online purchases to charity.
We especially like these eight tools:
Why not put some of those dollars to good use by shopping through AmazonSmile instead? Prices are the same as shopping through the regular URL, but a percentage of your purchase helps out a charity of your choice.
Simply designate your charity (there are nearly a million to choose from), and every time you make an eligible purchase, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase amount to your selected charity.
Tens of millions of products are eligible. Just look for the “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” marking on each product page.
However, unlike the other sites on this list, if you don’t see your favorite charity listed, you can’t add it yourself unless you’re an organization administrator. But you can send the head of your favorite charity here if they’re interested.
Do good and save money by shopping through this charitable site.
Through Goodshop, you can shop at more than 30,000 participating online stores and support more than 110,000 charities and schools (you can add yours if it’s not there already). The site also offers over 25,000 discounts, deals and coupons to make giving even more enticing.
Search for the retailer of your choice to find out how much of your total qualifying purchase will be donated. Percentages usually range from 1% to 30%.
Just click through to that retailer’s site and shop your heart out.
Qualifying purchases are determined by each retailer, so check out each store’s Goodshop page to determine which purchases it counts.
With more than 35,000 causes to choose from and more than 1,700 participating online stores, iGive is another easy way to be philanthropic with money you’re already spending.
Just activate the iGive Button, a web browser and smartphone app, or shop directly through the site.
Charities receive an average 3% of your qualifying purchases, determined by each retailer. Check out each store’s iGive listing for its particular exceptions.
Don’t see your favorite cause? List it yourself here.
With an average rebate of 5% and more than 700 participating retailers, Shop2Care may not be as large as some of the other sites listed.
But it’s a good choice if you know what type of cause you’d like to support, but don’t have a particular charity in mind.
Choose from five categories: hunger, children, health, human services and education.
Shop2Care will channel your contribution to one of its carefully selected charities, vetted for “creating recognizable impact” with their efforts -- so you know your donation will really be put to good use.
When it comes to numbers, Buy4’s are impressive.
It has more than 1.5 million registered charities, more than 2,500 participating merchants and up to 30% earnings on eligible purchases.
As with other sites, donation percentages and eligible purchase terms vary by store. Be sure to check out each merchant’s page for further details.
If your favorite charity’s not currently listed, add it to the Buy4 database right here.
Download the GiveBuy web browser extension or shop directly through its site, and up to 10% of your purchase will go to a deserving cause.
A relatively new site, GiveBuy currently lists about 400 major online retailers and 100 charities, though it’s growing.
Register your charity here if you don’t see it listed. If you’re not sure who to choose, your earnings will automatically go to GiveBuy’s monthly featured charity.
EScrip works a little differently than the other sites on this list.
It allows you to select up to three charities or schools to support. Earn donations by shopping both online and locally in two ways: Register eligible store loyalty cards and debit/credit cards and use them normally, or shop through the eScrip Online Mall.
Earnings percentages vary by retailer -- but can be as high as 16%. You can also earn donations by dining out and booking travel.
The site lists thousands of participating merchants, charities and schools. If you don’t see yours, add it here.
8. Giving Assistant
With Giving Assistant, your charitable donation is up to you.
You’ll earn around 5% back (depending on the retailer) from each eligible purchase you make through the site, but you choose how much you keep and how much you donate.
So you could use Giving Assistant as a combination of a cash-back site, personal savings goal fundraiser and charitable giving tool.
Just add the Giving Assistant extension to your web browser, search the store you want to shop and you’ll be taken to a page that gives you all the info about the store’s policies, cash-back percentage and more.
Giving Assistant has thousands of participating stores and charities available.
If you don’t see your favorite organization, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to add it to the list.
Your Turn: Which of these sites are you most excited about using? What causes would you like to earn some money for?
Kelly Gurnett is a freelance blogger, writer and editor who runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits, where she documents her attempts to rid her life of the things that don’t matter and focus more on the things that do. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.