Nov 16

Give money to charity – without spending a penny!

Reading Time: 7 mins

The economy is in meltdown and charities are suffering as so many of us feel we can’t afford to give as much as we’d like to. Well, this is the giving season so here at Moneymagpie, we’ve uncovered a host of ways you can still give to your favourite cause without spending so much as a single penny!


Shop online for cashback

Earn while you buy stuff on the web, then give the proceeds to charity (or don’t…)

Give or Take is one of a number of websites that allow you to earn cash from purchases made online – and then tease you with the choice of keeping all your loot or giving it to charity.Charity Without Spending a Penny - Shop Online

With a range of 700 stores to choose from there’s something for everyone. Organic and fair trade shops, high street department stores and even products for your pooch are only a few of the options available on the site. And the idea is simple: the more you shop, the more you earn!

During registration you’ll be asked to choose whether you’re a ‘Giver’ or a ‘Taker’. Givers (who won’t have to pay a joining fee) will see their cashback donated monthly to their charity if they earn £10 or more. Takers (who are asked to pay a £5 annual fee) will get money paid straight into their account once they tot-up £25 or more.

It works by Give or Take earning a referral fee from the stores they direct you towards. And, instead of keeping it all to themselves, they give it straight back to you! So, take the hint: be a Giver, not a Taker. Sign up here for free to start giving for nothing.

Another great site is TheGivingMachine. Every time you shop online through the TheGivingMachine you generate free cash donations for a charity you support. It’s the only not for profit social enterprise of its kind, which means they can make the highest donation possible to the charity or school of your choice.

It works as each sale they make generates a commission, and they are able to convert 75% of this commission into free cash donations. With 1,300 retailers signed up for the program and the ability to support any charity you want (if it’s not there you can register the charity/school) this is a great way to help a good cause without paying directly.


Search, Surf and Donate

Helping charitable organisations can also be as simple as switching on your computer and exploring the internet. There are a range of search engines that offer proceeds to good causes and, at most, they require a quick and easy registration that will take no more than a few minutes.


Everyclick is another useful website which tallies up money while you search the web and works with up to 200,000 UK charities. You can also create your own sponsorship page (and get friends and supporters to join you on your fundraising quest), browse and shop online (half of the revenue Everyclick earns goes to charity) and even donate directly to an organisation. Claiming Gift Aid is also possible. However, take note: all credit and debit card donations are subject to a 4.8% charge to cover transfer costs.


Charity Credit cards

There are a lot of charity credit cards but be aware, that many of them pay very little to the charity they are ‘helping’.


Green and ethical cards

‘Think’ credit card (Co-op bank)

The Co-operative Bank, the original eco-friendly and ethical bank (since 1992 it has refused to invest in companies involved in the arms trade, global climate change, genetic engineering, animal testing and use of sweated labour), offers a card that donates a percentage to the protection of a tropical, endangered rainforest. For every £100 you spend, the Co-op will donate 25p to the RSPB’s Indonesian Rainforest project.

The bank also rewards cardholders when shopping in a more green and ethically-conscious manner; there is 0% p.a. for three months when you make a purchase with one of their ethical partners.

Save your money, save the earth!

Triodos bank

Ever wanted to help with the battle against human rights abuses, be part of a war against poverty, or contribute to fight climate change by simply saving money? By signing up with the ethically super-charged Triodos Bank you certainly can. Sit back as your savings gain interest, safe in the knowledge that your money is being lent to causes aiming to make the world a better place.Charity Without Spending a Penny - Save the Planet

Awarded the accolade of ‘Sustainable Bank of the Year’ by the Financial Times in 2009, Triodos has blazed a carbon-free, eco-trail in transparent, sustainable and ethically-conscious banking. It lends money to businesses and charities they deem to be of social or ecological benefit, and it’s the only commercial bank in the UK that allows customers to see precisely to whom they lend their money.

Triodos offers many different options, including Online Saver and Charity Saver accounts. The current interest rate for the Online Saver account is 0.30% and is only manageable online but you can open an account for as little as £1.

You’ll need £100 to open a Charity Saver account, but there are a range of options as to which organisations you can help; from making the lives of torture survivors better to helping fund Buddhist centres around the world. Interest rates for savings on the Charity Saver account are 0.05% for over £100, £1000+ at a rate of 0.10%, and an account with over £25,000 will benefit by 0.15% AER.

Triodos will also donate 0.25% of your total end-of-year balance to whichever cause you choose. Obviously, the more you save, the more money the organisation receives. And if you’re a UK tax-payer, you can also Gift Aid your donation – so your favourite charity will receive that little bit extra. It all counts!

Gift Aid

Operated by the tax office, Gift Aid is a government-driven initiative that allows charities to claim back the basic rate of tax on contributions made by UK citizens. This means that for every pound you give, your chosen charity will receive an extra 25p from Inland Revenue – at no extra cost to you!

Gift Aid can apply to donations of any amount, large or small, by cash, cheque, postal order, direct debit, standing order, debit or credit card (and even to donations of foreign currency).

Do I qualify?

To use Gift Aid, you must pay income or capital gains tax.  And you must have paid enough tax in the tax year in question to cover the amount which the charity will reclaim. (For example, if you were donating £100 to a charity, you’d have had to have paid at least £25 to Inland Revenue that tax year.)

Sue Ryder Care was the first charity to pioneer the innovative scheme covering donated goods with their ‘Sign on the Line’ campaign and managed to raise an extra £1 million in their first year. Other charities such as the British Heart Foundation and Help The Aged quickly followed suit.

Bonus for higher rate taxpayers

If you’re a higher rate tax payer, you can also claim back the difference between basic and higher rate tax. That means that for every pound you give away, you can get more back from the taxman (which you could keep, or give to charity).

So how do I do it?

The scheme is really easy. All you have to do is to fill in a simple declaration form. Most charities will have their own Gift Aid section you can fill in on their donation form or appeal.  A single form will cover every donation you make in future to the charity (be it in cash or used items), and you can even backdate claims for up to 6 years prior the date of the declaration.

A sample Gift Aid form can be found here. The Institute of Fundraising also has a useful Gift Aid Help website where experts are on-hand to answer any of your questions.


Charity Without Spending a Penny - At Work

Recycle for charity

Clean up the office- ask each employee to donate unwanted goods and get your local charity shop to organise a collection!

You can recycle and give to charity at the same time! Everyday office items like mobile phones, inkjet cartridges and laptops can be recycled with companies such as “Recycle4Charity” which will help a charity each time you recycle.


Give at Christmas

Charity Without Spending a Penny - ChristmasIf you’re a hairdresser, you could contact your local nursing home, hospice or cancer ward. Bring along some mince pies and spend an afternoon making someone look their best!

Operate a shoebox scheme this Christmas! This project enables families, schools, individuals, churches and businesses to cover shoeboxes in Christmas wrapping paper, fill them with new toys (school supplies, sweets etc.)  and send them to needy children around the world. Think of things they need as well as things to play with, toothpaste and a toothbrush for example! Visit operationchristmaschild to find out more.

Sending a Christmas card can be more effective than you might think- send one with a message of solidarity or kindness to someone who is in danger or unjustly imprisoned- there are 32 individuals, groups and communities that need your support. It will give strength and hope to its recipient as well as show the prison staff and political authorities that the world is watching what they are doing. To find out how to get involved click here.

Next time you pop out to the supermarket, why not contact your local Age Concern and see if any of the elderly in your area need some Christmas shopping done. You could also sneak a small gift in with their shopping!

Instead of sending Christmas cards to your loved ones, you could send an email and donate the money saved on the card and postage to charity.


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I was mis-sold a pension back in the eighties and have been reluctant to consult anyone about a pension. I have just looked at co-op and I found their pension site of interest.
Has anyone else got any advice? I already have an old teachers pension but cannot contribute as I do ‘ supply’ work .

Bill Cameron
Bill Cameron

Coca Cola’s ‘CokeZone’ points can be used to donate to selected charities also – at the monent.
SOGB (Special Olympics Great Britain)


Judy Anderson
Judy Anderson

Here’s a good one :


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