By Tracey Dowdy
Now that 2020 – a year that has felt more like a decade – is drawing to a close, you may be looking for ways to end on a high note. One of the most positive ways to wrap up such a challenging year is by donating to a charity that’s near to your heart. And before you say, “I can’t afford to give, I should be receiving charity!” these options make giving simple and, in most cases, won’t cost you a dime beyond what you were already spending.
Before you donate to any charitable organization, do a little homework. Sites like GiveWell.org, Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance rate charities and will verify whether the organization is registered to raise money in your state.
Giving Assistant is like having your pwn pocket-sized personal assistant who takes care of your charitable donations. Simply shop online through your desktop browser to earn cashback on your purchases. Then simply choose to donate all or a portion of your rebate to the charity of your choice. There are thousands of stores to choose from,
Altruisto is a Chrome browser extension. Through its 1000+ partner stores, a percentage of your purchase becomes a charitable donation to underfunded charities vetted by GiveWell.org. For example, your purchase of a $150 tablet from Microsoft means a family gets enough clean, safe water for a month.
Benefit is a mobile app that enables you to support the charity of your choice through purchases like groceries, Airbnb reservations, plane tickets, or your morning Starbucks. Each purchase earns between 2% – 20% of the transaction total sent to the cause of your choosing. Only downloaded, simply have the cashier scan the barcode on your phone in-store or enter the redemption code in the gift cards section when shopping online. At the end of the month, Benefit sends a check to the charity you’ve selected. Alternatively, you can choose Life Expenses, and the money comes back to you each month.
If you’re an Amazon shopper, use Amazon Smile or Amazon Red. With Amazon Smile, shop as you usually would, and Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of all eligible purchases to the charity of your choice. You can choose major charities like the United Negro College Fund or choose something closer to home. Among my options were a local elementary school and a poodle rescue. Items purchased through Amazon.com/RED raise funds to fight AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis around the world.
Finally, Charity Miles is one of the top-rated free Fitness and Health apps in the Google and Apple app store. Once you download the app, choose from a rotating selection of charities. The app will log your movement – walking, running, cycling, dancing – and corporate sponsors donate based on your activity level.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.