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3 Tremendous Straightforward Methods to Donate to Charity


woman holds out hands filled with coins and a piece of paper that says

While we’ve talked about how you can help charities in the past, today we’re sharing three super easy ways to donate to charity that only take a few minutes — or a few minutes to set up and than zero time after that! These strategies make giving to charity simpler than ever, whether you prefer to contribute money or make in-kind donations, and whether you like to give to local, national, and/or international organizations.

How do you donate to charity? Do you give regularly?

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Order items from charities’ online wish lists

More and more nonprofits are creating Amazon wish lists (or wish lists at other retailers, such as Walmart’s Walmart Rise) rather than simply sharing lists of needed items on their websites. It doesn’t get much easier than turning a few clicks into an in-kind donation. Check your favorite charity’s website to see if there’s a link to a shoppable wish list, and if you don’t see one, shoot them an email to ask.

If you don’t feel too strongly about your choice of charity, check out AmazonSmile Charity Lists (which I only just discovered while writing this post!). You can find Amazon wish lists for organizations in the following categories: Pets & Animals, Environment, International, Arts & Culture, Faith & Spiritual, Human Services, Education & Youth, Health, and Veteran. (You can also use the search box on the charity list page to find any keywords you like, e.g., “museum.”)

I chose Arts & Culture at random and found more than 1,000 lists to contribute to — from organizations that range from the New Orleans Musicians’ Assistance Foundation to the Japanese Cultural And Community Center Of Northern California to Roanoke Children’s Theatre in Virginia. (Note: You’ll find that some Charity Lists are currently empty.)

{related: which charities do you give to, and why?}

Set up repeating deliveries of a charity’s ongoing needs

This quick and easy charitable giving method can work even if your favorite organization doesn’t have an Amazon wish list or other shoppable wish list. I’d say this works best for an org that needs specific products to constantly be replenished, such as food banks, soup kitchens, animal shelters, and organizations that provide free school supplies.

Here’s an example: My husband and I have Amazon Prime, so we set up a Subscribe & Save order for a pack of 12 boxes of pasta that a local food bank has on their wish list. The monthly order is $18 — a small enough amount to make it a “set it and forget it” sort of thing. (Amazon tells me that we’ve been doing this for 13 months so far.) If you want to buy multiples of a particular item, you can cut down on packaging by choosing something that’s sold in bulk.

Once you’ve set up the recurring order, you’re done, indefinitely (unless the agency’s needs change, of course). Nothing to drop off, no further decisions or transactions to (consciously) make. Each month, I get an email confirming that a shipment is coming up (you can cancel if you like), and I also receive delivery confirmations.

{related: open thread: charitable giving}

Donate to more than one charity with a single online payment

The nonprofit evaluator Charity Navigator not only makes it easy to research charities (e.g., their list of 4-star charities is helpful) but also makes it simple to donate. The My Charities feature lets you build your own list of favorite organizations — just click “Add to My Charities” after you find an org in their database. Once you have a list, you can add your own notes for each charity, create groups of selected charities (whatever you like, e.g., “local” vs. “national”) and easily compare ratings. Right from your list, you can donate to any of the charities you want, and if you want to donate to more than one at the same time, just add them to your “Giving Basket” and use a single checkout process for the individual contributions!

Bonus: If you prefer to give anonymously (to avoid getting placed on mailing lists, etc.), you can do that through Charity Navigator, too.

{related: under pressure: charitable giving at the office}

P.S. More topically, here are some worthy charities to consider supporting right now:

What are your favorite easy ways to donate to charity? How often do you donate to charity?

Stock photo via Stencil.



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