Donating to charity without having to pay extra

Donating to charity without having to pay extra

Giving to charity doesn't have to involve giving up an evening a week or setting up a standing order – we show you how you can give for free.

lovemoney staff

Household money

lovemoney staff
Updated on 7 December 2021

We all want to do the right thing with our money; it’s just that we don’t always have the time, energy, and cash to spare for charities we’d really like to support.

But what if you could give to charity without having to carve out a single second of your time or penny from your budget?

We've put together eight simple ways to do exactly that.

Amazon Smile

When you make a purchase on, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price (excluding VAT and shipping) to a charity of your choice, at no extra cost to you. 

There are thousands of charities that you can choose from. Amazon will prompt you to select a charity when you first enter the site and you can adjust it whilst browsing.

Bear in mind that you must use the Amazon Smile website to get these donations, not the usual Amazon website, which is tricky given the two are almost identical.

One solution is to save the Amazon Smile website in your bookmarks on your web browser.

Sign up to Amazon Prime today

Use charity cashback

We’re increasingly familiar with cashback websites like Topcashback and Quidco, where we click links to our favourite retailers through the site, and for everything we spend, we get a percentage back.

You can donate your cashback to a charity via Topcashback but there are dedicated charity cashback sites, including Easy Fundraising and Give as you live.

Around Christmas, you can make a surprisingly large donation to your chosen charity just by buying those things you would have bought anyway and taking advantage of charity cashback.

Use normal cashback

There is a way to give a little more with this method: by using a normal cashback site and donating the money you make to a charity.

That way you can take advantage of the fact that sometimes you get better rates of cashback from the bigger players.

No one site offers the best cashback for every single retailer, but the large players often offer more.

It simply comes down to whether you can spare the time to work out your cashback earnings, and then arrange to donate this money to charity.

The complete guide to earning cashback

Use a cashback credit card

You used to be able to get many charity credit cards that offered donations to charity when you took them out while also offering cashback every time you shopped.

These are thinner on the ground nowadays and, as a general rule, not terribly generous.

If you want to use a cashback credit card to give to charity, you are far better off getting a normal cashback card and then making a donation yourself.

Of course, the normal rule applies: if you think there’s ever any risk of you paying interest on one of these cards, steer well clear, because the interest rate will quickly wipe out any cashback you receive.

Book a hotel room 

Charitable Bookings is a fundraising website, which enables you to donate money just by booking a hotel, villa or apartment. You use, or the app, to make a booking, and then confirm it.

According to the site, 30% of commission for all hotel, villa and apartment bookings is put into your Charity & Loyalty account.

Half of the accrued funds in this account are automatically donated to the charity of your choice, while the remaining 50% can be allocated to your chosen charity or converted into Amazon vouchers.

Shop with a partner

Large charities will often tie-up with retail partners, offering special deals when you shop with them. If there’s a charity that’s close to your heart, it’s worth checking their website for partner deals.

The RSPCA, for example, has arrangements with everyone from Laithwaites (which offers a discount off your first case of wine plus £5 for the RSPCA), to Hoseasons (which offers 5% off your holiday plus a 5% donation to the RSPCA).

Search the internet

You can raise money for charity every time you search the internet thanks to charitable websites.

There are many to choose from, but one example is EveryClick which is powered by Yandex. With every unique search you make, the site will donate money to charity.

Tick the Gift Aid box

There’s a decent chance that you already know that every time you donate to charity, you may be able to Gift Aid your donation.

This option is open to anyone who pays Income Tax in the UK and allows the charity to claim back the tax you have paid on your charitable donation.

It can only claim the Basic Rate of tax – but if you are a Higher Rate taxpayer you can reclaim the rest through your tax return.

The amount the charity can reclaim is not to be sniffed at – it adds another 25% of value to your donation, which can make an enormous difference.

It may also be news to you that you don’t have to donate money to qualify for Gift Aid – any kind of donation can count.

When you donate to a charity shop, ask if they have a Gift Aid scheme.

In many cases, you can sign up online and receive tags to attach to your bags of donations, to enable them to easily reclaim the Gift Aid. Alternatively, you can sign up when you drop your bags into a shop.

*This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently.

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