Do you make a difference?

16 Nov

I ran across an interesting article yesterday on Cheap, easy ways to donate to charity. The title kind of threw me for a loop. Cheap ways to donate? Seemed kind of odd. Easy ways? Sure, easy is good. But how do you work cheap into it?

I’ll outline the info, but one thing that I took away from the aticle that I thought was very interesting was this stat:

“Last year, charitable giving totaled $290.89 billion, with three-quarters of that coming from individuals…”

While most people think corporations do the most giving, it is, in fact the little guys. And it doesn’t matter if you can’t give a lot…even a little can add up.

1. At the grocery store. Next time the cashier asks you if you want to add a $1 donation to a charity, say yes. Those dollar donations add up and raise awareness of the need. You can also use coupons and pick up a few extra cans of food for a food collection or pantry. Look to see if your checkout aisle has a change donation spot and drop off your change.

2. Sign up for a credit or debit card that gives back. While I would never advocate getting a credit card, if you have a debit card that does this, all good. Honestly, I don’t trust credit cards or banks to “do the right thing” and I’d much rather give my money on my terms rather than theirs. But, if you do use credit cards, look for the ones that have that kind of program, or reward points that you can use to give to charity.

3. Empty that change jar. Loose change is everywhere. I have a coworker who has so much change in his car that it is spilling out all over the floor in the back. Take that change in to your bank or credit union and donate those dollars. Coinstar machines even have charities that they sponsor so using one of those machines to donate is an easy way to get ‘er done. And here’s an interesting tip: if you have gift cards you aren’t going to use with $25 or more on them, check out They allow you to donate up to 90 percent of the gift card value to one of 90 charities. Coolio!

4. Change, techie style. A lot of charities now allow donations through text messaging on your cell phone. The donation is added onto your cell phone bill. There are even “Like” campaigns on Facebook where for every new “like” to a page, the sponsoring company will donate a dollar to charity.

5. Donate you! Can’t afford to donate this year? Donate your time. Cook meals at a homeless shelter. Help out an elderly neighbor. Volunteer at a local school or hospital. Check out websites like and to find opportunities to help out. Don’t forget about donating blood to the American Red Cross.

6. Make your money go further. Seek out matching donations. Many companies will match their employee’s charitable donations. Donate to causes overseas. Dollars can go much further in underdeveloped countries. Check out the GiveWell website to find the best-performing charities that make a big difference in poorer countries. Another way to increase the donation is to pool your resources with others to form a group. Ask family members to chip in rather than purchase gifts for a birthday or holiday. Collect donations from coworkers to purchase gifts for a needy family.

Lastly, I’d like to add – purchase from social enterprises rather than corporations. Social enterprises, whether non-profit, or for purpose, offer an excellent opportunity for your purchase to do more for others. There is a vast array of companies out there that now adhere to one-for-one mantra, or donate benefits to others in monetary or basic living supplies. Visit the social enterprise database at for an astounding number of social enterprises. Rather than support the exports of China, look for products that make an impact right here in the US.


We are all in this together.

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