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How to Give to Charity Without Spending a Penny

Lucy Miller 8th Nov 2023 14 Comments

Reading Time: 4 minutes

However much we might want to give to charity, often it’s just not possible to sign up and commit to a direct debit every month. 

So, how can we do good and help out charitable causes when we haven’t got that much money to spare ourselves? 

Luckily, there are a few ways you can incorporate helping out charities into your daily life, without having to spend money you don’t have. Here are just a few of them…


Give to charity when shopping: use Amazon Smile

You don't have to spend anything to give to charity

Yes, it’s great to support small business – but sometimes, the sheer range and convenience of Amazon just can’t be beaten. 

There is a way that you can do good whilst shopping for all your essentials online, though. Amazon Smile works in exactly the same way as the regular Amazon site, but a percentage of what you spend (0.5%) goes to charity. You can choose which charity you want to support, too. Over a million organisations have signed up since the scheme was launched in 2013. Just log on to smile.amazon instead of the regular site to get going. Guilt-free shopping! 

Donate via a cashback site

You might already use a cashback site – but if you don’t, we’d recommend signing up to giveortake.com. Unlike other cashback sites, Give or Take allows you to make a charity donation using your cashback. This way, you’re not spending anything extra on top of what you’d normally spend. You could make money for yourself from cashback sites, but if you want to give to charity and are on a tight budget, this is a neat solution!

Give to charity online with Charity search engines

Search engines don’t always have to be massive, Silicon Valley based companies that funnel billions of dollars into their founders’ pockets. Over the past few years, more and more search engines with a social good at their heart have been popping up. Many of them are offering money to charity every time users click, which we think is a great way of giving to charity as part of your normal day to day life. 

Some of our favourites include: 

  1. Benelab – this site, founded by a US teenager, funds itself through advertising in the same way that Google does. The difference is that its profits go to charity, with a different cause being chosen every month 
  2. Ecosia – Berlin-based Ecosia is the “search engine that plants trees”, with 80% of its profits going directly to reforestation charities. Nearly 93 million trees have been planted so far 
  3. GoodSearch – the original search engine that was founded with social good in mind, Good Search donates 50% of its profits to various charities, as chosen by its users. It’s been around for 15 years and has set up various other charitable causes since then, too

So, is it time to show Google the door? We think so! 

Remember to tick the Gift Aid box 

Never really been sure what Gift Aid is? No worries – we’re here to explain once and for all how this nifty government scheme can help charities, with literally no effort from you at all. 

Gift Aid is a long-running government scheme that gives charities a basic 20% tax relief on whatever you’re donating to them, as long as you’re a UK taxpayer. The scheme has been in place for 30 years, and has gifted charities billions of pounds in that time. All you have to do is tick the Gift Aid box whenever you’re making a donation, sponsoring your neighbour to run that 5k, etc, to ensure Gift Aid is included. Easy! 

Gift Aid doesn’t cost you anything extra – but means the charity gets the tax relief on your donation. This puts more money in their pocket!

Give to charity by donating your stuff

Clear clutter and do good by donating your stuff to charity

You don’t need to be giving money to charity to be helping them out. Instead of throwing out that old chair or pair of jeans you’re bored of, or those kid’s shoes that don’t fit anymore, why not drop them off at your local charity shop instead? 

Of course, you can support charities by shopping in their high street stores too – books, DVDs, clothes and lots more will be significantly cheaper than they would be in other retail stores, and you’ll be doing a good deed in the process. Remember to hand your donation bag to a member of staff and ask for the Gift Aid form to make sure they get the most from your donations, too.

play games online and give to charity 

Did you know you can raise money for charity just by playing games online? Turns out you can! 

Our favourite new find is the Free Rice website, from the World Food Programme. For every correct answer, the site’s sponsors will send the cash equivalent of 10 grains of rice to the World Food Programme, who will funnel it into feeding those in need around the world. Spending time on your phone has never felt so worthy! 

We hope these tips have inspired you to give to charity, even if you’re not able to drop cash into the collection box or set up a monthly direct debit. Remember, every little helps! 

Share your charity donation ideas

Is there something you do to help charities that we haven’t mentioned here? Shout about it to our fellow Magpies on the Magpie Messageboard! We love to share tips and ideas for money-saving and money-making hacks, so get involved and you could win a £25 Amazon voucher for Post of the Week!

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Laurel Ariadne Ramsey
Laurel Ariadne Ramsey
7 months ago

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Gannon Martin Crew Bender
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Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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