It needn't cost you a penny to give to charity
Charities are suffering from shrinking donations, but you can still help good causes even if you think you can't afford to
Donations to charities have plummeted since the recession, as belt-tightening has left many hard-up people unable to afford to give to their favourite causes. Figures released on Thursday reveal that donations plunged £70m last year, leaving many charities little better off than they were five years ago.
Cass Business School said voluntary donations slumped for the second year running, by 1.1 per cent to £6.05bn. "Charities are subject to a pincer movement, with their donated and investment incomes reaching a low point just as government spending cuts begin to hit their budgets," warned Professor Cathy Pharoah of the ESRC Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy.
Many people have had to cut back on giving to good causes. But even if you can't afford to make a donation, you can still ensure your favourite charities benefit. By switching credit cards, savings accounts or even your cashback website, you can ensure that you're giving, even when you're can't afford to. Here are some painless and cost-free ways to give to charity.
1. Use a credit card
Switch to a charity credit card. Then, when you apply and every time you use your plastic, your favourite charity can get cash. With Co-operative's Shelter card, for instance, the charity gets £20 when the card is first used, then 25p for every £100 spent. Other charity credit cards include Amnesty, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research, Oxfam, RSPB and Save The Children. This only works, of course, if you pay your balance off every month. If you run up a debt on plastic, choose the cheapest card.
2. Build up your savings
Open a savings account with Charity Bank and your money will earn interest while the bank lends your money to charities and social enterprises. Charity Bank's best deal is an ISA paying 2.5 per cent. For a better rate of interest, Coventry Building Society's Poppy Online Saver pays 3.1 per cent. The Royal British Legion will then a get a donation based on the average balance you keep in the account over a year.
3. Get discounts on shopping
Register for free cash rewards at www.gifttocharity.co.uk and when you use your debit or credit card at certain retailers you'll earn cash back which can be given to your chosen charity, or shared with it. Buy a BT package under the scheme, for instance, and you'll earn up to £80 cash back which you can share with or hand over to a charity. There are similar schemes offered by www.froggybank.co.uk and www.giveasyoulive.com
4. Surf the web
Instead of using Google, use www.everyclick.com. It raises money for charity every time you search the web, shop online or trade on eBay. It uses the Yahoo search engine to return exactly the same results as it would normally, but has raised about £2m for charities.
5. Shop around for insurance
There are a number of websites which offer a donation when you choose a new insurance deal. At www.donatedsomeback.com, for instance, you can search a number of providers for home, car and personal insurance and when you sign up for a new policy, the website will donate up to £25 to the charity of your choice.
If you're one of the millions of members of a building society, exercise your right to vote while helping good causes. Most building societies offer a donation to charity of up to 50p in return for members voting, which led to £440,000 being handed over last year. The biggest – Nationwide – has its AGM vote coming up, with the deadline to register votes being Monday 18 July. Last year it raised £240,000 for Macmillan. This year three charities – the Alzheimer's Society, Macmillan and Shelter – will share the money raised.
7. Download music
You can buy music online and help charities at the same time through www.fairsharemusic.com. It donates 50 per cent of all profits to charity and new releases cost 79p, the same as most songs on iTunes. You can even buy a song as a gift for other people and Fairsharemusic will send it to them via email.
8. Give as you earn
Payroll Giving allows you to make donations to charity directly from your pay or company/personal pension. The donations are made after National Insurance but before income tax is deducted. That means you get tax relief on your donation immediately – and at your highest rate of tax. If you pay tax at 40 per cent, for example, and authorise a monthly donation of £10, it would actually cost you just £6. Ask your employer.
9. Write a will
If you don't have a will, you should have. Under Will Aid – which runs in November – a local solicitor writes your will, but instead of paying their fee you are invited to make a donation to Will Aid. The suggested minimum donation is £85 for a basic single will or £125 for a pair of basic mirror wills. Last year the scheme raised more than £1.5m.
10. Buy some retro fashion
Charity shops are a limitless source of good quality, cheap clothes which means you can get some great gear while raising cash for good causes. To find charity shops local to you, go to www.charityshops.org.uk
11. Round up the pennies
The Pennies Foundation works with major retailers – such as Domino's Pizza and Zizi – to allow customers to round up their purchase to the nearest pound, with the balance distributed to charity. Find out more at www.pennies.org.uk
12. Give some time
Be a volunteer through Time Bank using your skills, such as marketing, cooking, sports or accountancy. There are also mentoring projects where you help people on a one-to-one basis. Go to timebank.org.uk
13. Do good while you're waiting
Orange has a nifty "Do Some Good" app through iPhones – and other phones later in the year – which works out your location and finds small volunteering tasks you can do while waiting for friends or at lunch.
14. Be more tax-efficient
Whenever you make a donation, use the Gift Aid scheme. It allows good causes to reclaim tax on your gift. Find out how to sign up at www.hmrc.gov.uk/individuals/giving/gift-aid.htm
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 2 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
iJobs Money & Business
Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...
£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...
Day In a Page
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens