There is no better exercise for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.
Charitable giving makes the world a better place, not only by giving support to those who need it most, but by bringing us closer to our neighbors, no matter if they’re next door or around the world. Whether you’ve committed to being more charitable this year or you just want to find a way to build it into your daily life, these 7 apps and websites will help you be a more engaged human citizen.
I Can Go Without
When you think about it, there are tons of conveniences that you can go without—you can brew your own coffee instead of getting a $4 Starbucks latte, you can prepare a lunch in the morning instead of getting a sandwich at the office cafe, and you can just skip an afternoon chocolate from the vending machine. I Can Go Without helps you make good decisions and contribute to charity in the process.
Every time you make a donation, it will be added to an invoice, and you can pay that invoice all at once, so you’ll never forget to pay up on a commitment. You can also add $1 to any donation that will go to the app team so that they can continue supporting and improving the app.
Download: I Can Go Without for iOS (free)
If you’re into walking, running, biking, or doing almost any other physical activity, Charity Miles can hep you turn your miles into cash for charities. By partnering with companies like Humana, Johnson & Johnson, and Timex, Charity Miles helps you improve your health and make a difference at the same time!
The app uses your phone’s GPS to track how many miles you put in, then pays $0.25 per mile run or walked and $0.10 per mile cycled to your chosen charity. If you take part in another activity, just choose the activity that’s most applicable to you.
Not sure which charity you should give to? One Today, an app created by Google, can help you figure it out. By showing you an interesting charity each day, you’ll get a much better idea of the organizations doing work that you can support. You get the details for each charity, like what they do, what your donation will fund, and an impact report.
When you see a charity that you’re interested in, just tap the Give button and you’ll send that charity $1. No big commitment—just doing a little bit at a time to make the world a better place. And if you want to send more money or make a regular contribution, you can head to that charity’s website. One Today also gives you an easy year-end tax-deductible calculation for when you’re doing your taxes.
If you want to help end homelessness, and want to go about it more efficiently than handing out dollar bills to homeless people on the street, Spare Change can help. The app lets you find local homeless charities and donate between $0.50 and $5 to the cause. You can also find information on those charities and learn how to get involved if you want to volunteer your time or help out in another way.
Although Spare Change isn’t as automated as some of the other apps, you can make great use of it by making a habit out of donating when you get some change—if you get a few cents back after a purchase, take out your phone and make a quick donation. Get in the habit and you’ll do better things with your pennies than letting them sit in a jar!
Download: Spare Change for iOS (free)
We profiled the charity-supporting search engine GoodSearch a few years ago, but its most recent incarnation, GoodShop, is a shopping portal that contributes 50 percent of their referral fee from any website that you make a purchase from straight to your nominated charity. All you need to do is sign up for and start your next online shopping spree from their website. Half of their profits go directly to your charity. Easy!
GoodShop is also a great place to look for coupons; you can get great deals directly from their homepage at big stores like Target, Starbucks, and Victoria’s Secret. You can even see exactly how much of your purchase will go to your charity.
If you still want to give back with GoodSearch, you can, but the website has changed its emphasis to shopping. However, they’ll still donate $0.01 for each search you run through the site. If you want to make it a lot easier, just change your browser’s default search engine to GoodSearch.
If you’re shopping from the UK and you’d like your purchases to benefit charities like US users can do with GoodShop, The Giving Machine is the website you’re looking for. It has a very similar set-up: you choose up to four charities when you register, and then you go shopping through their portal.
The Giving Machine actually gives back a little more than GoodShop—they pass on 75% of their referral fee to the charities that you’ve chosen. They don’t have as many easily accessible coupons listed on their site, but you can find a few good deals if you’re willing to take a moment to look.
While Charity Navigator won’t help you get money to a specific charity, they can help you find out which charities are doing the best work in the areas that you care about. As an independent charity evaluator, the organization assesses the financial health, accountability, and transparency of over 8,000 different charities.
Each charity has an extensive breakdown of metrics in the three areas of assessment, as well as a number of useful financial statistics—you can use these to figure out which charities give the most money straight to the cause to find out where your money will make the most difference.
Make a Difference Today
With all of these options – including a few that you don’t even need to spend money on – there’s no excuse for not giving more to charity. Download these apps, set GoodSearch as your default search engine, send an occasional donation text, and play games for charitable causes.
If we all pitch in a little bit, we can make a big difference!
Do you have any apps or tools that you use to give money to charity? Do you have experience of using the tools we suggested? We’d love to hear from you – just leave us you ideas, thoughts, and feedback in the comments section below.
Image credits: Money jar full of coins via Shutterstock.