Seven good ways to give to charity this Christmas

Good causes are in need of a festive boost this year. Here are some simple ways to be generous

Presents under the tree

Many of us may be feeling the pinch right now, and reigning in our spending, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do our bit over the next few weeks.

Christmas is traditionally a time of giving, and even though Covid may have taken centre stage this year, we can’t afford to ignore charitable causes.

Over the past few months, many charities have lost fundraising income due to the pandemic – while seeing an increased demand for their services. As a result, lots are having to work harder than ever to fund their work.

So what are the best ways to give this Christmas?

1) Buy Charity Christmas cards

While charity Christmas cards are popular – and a very easy way to be charitable – it’s worth thinking a bit about where you purchase them. One of the best options is to buy via Cards for Good Causes.

As a not-for-profit organisation, 100% of its proceeds – at least 70p in every £1 taken from the sale of cards – goes directly to the charity. This is a much higher proportion than lots of other retailers.

In the past 10 years, Cards for Good Causes has given more than £40 million to the charities it partners with.

This includes Cancer Research UK, Alzheimer’s Society, British Heart Foundation and the RNLI.

Due to Covid, some of its pop-up shops may not be able to open this year, but you can still buy cards – as well as gifts, wrapping and decorations – online from the website.

Also check out charity e-cards, as lots of charitable organisations have festive e-cards you can personalise and send, in return for a donation. This means 100% of your donation goes to charity – plus you can donate the money you would have forked out on stamps, too.

2) Donate as do your Christmas shopping

When it comes to buying presents and other festive fare, it’s possible to raise money as you shop.

With GiveAsYouLive, for example, the retailer donates a percentage of your spend to charity. This is a free and easy way to help your favourite causes over the festive period. You can shop at a wide range of retailers, including M&S, Waitrose, Boots, Argos, ASOS and John Lewis.

Also check out sites such as Easyfundraising, The Giving Machine and smile.amazon.

3) Purchase ethical presents

If you’re struggling to buy the right present for that ‘impossible-to-buy-for’ friend or family member, why not seek out a more meaningful gift this year.

Take a look at the ‘Oxfam Unwrapped’ range. Gifts include ‘safe water for a family of four’, ‘super seeds’ and a ‘life-changing chicken.’ The charity will ensure your money goes to good causes while the person you give the present to gets to feel all warm and fuzzy.

4) Give your reward points to charity

Many of us have a stash of points, miles and other rewards stored up, so why not make use of them this Christmas – by donating them to charity.

You can, for example, donate Tesco Clubcard vouchers to a range of charities, including Cancer Research UK, Diabetes UK and The Trussell Trust.

You can also donate American Express reward points to causes, such as Breast Cancer Now, The Global Fund, as well as thousands of UK charities via JustGiving.

5) Take any unwanted gifts to a charity shop

If, on December 25, you get given novelty socks and multiple bottles of body lotion that you don’t want, don’t just throw them away – take them to your local charity shop.

This is a far greener – and more ethical – solution for items you know you’ll never use or wear.

By giving items to a charity shop, someone else can enjoy the item, while at the same time, money goes to an important cause.

6) Make sure you’re giving tax-efficiently with Gift Aid

When giving money to charity, you can make your money go further using Gift Aid. This tops it up by 25%, meaning the charity can claim another 25p for every £1 you donate.

You can use Gift Aid both when buying charity Christmas cards and giving charity gifts. Equally, when giving items to a charity shop, if you register for their scheme, the charity gets an extra 25% on any money made from your donations.

7) Find out about payroll giving at your workplace

It’s worth chatting to your employer this Christmas to see if they offer a ‘give-as-you-earn’ scheme where you donate via automatic deductions from your salary – before tax.

This means the donation is worth more to the charity than it would add to your take-home pay.

If donations are taken from gross salary, a £1 donation would cost a basic-rate taxpayer just 80p, and a higher-rate taxpayer just 60p. Some employers may even match donations to certain charities.

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