The average Briton will spend nearly £400 this Christmas – it is clearly a time of year in which many of us push the boat out and are generous to friends and family.
It is also a period in which many may think of ways to give back and perhaps donate to charity.
There are a number of nifty ways to do this with minimal effort and we outline some of them below.
Easy donations: We list 13 easy ways to give to good causes this Christmas with minimal effort
According to Caroline Mallan, of the Charities Aid Foundation, shoppers looking to make sure that their purchases also give charities a much-needed boost at this time of year are spoilt for choice.
She says: ‘Whether you want to buy some unique products that charities sell directly, buy everyday groceries or something special that includes a donation or direct some of your loyalty points to good causes, your weekly shop and your big ticket Christmas shopping can go a lot further than you might realise.’
1. Shop or pay online via a charity link
As high street ‘chugging’ (the act of approaching passers-by in the street for donations) has become increasingly unpopular, it’s given rise to the creation of various online fundraising platforms such as Everyclick, Amazon Smile, eBay for Charity, and Easyfundraising.
These all enable you to do your Christmas shopping online without being pestered for change on the street and fishing for coins in your pockets.
Without paying any extra, these platforms allow you to raise money for various charities from the comfort of your armchair.
Peter Holbrook, chief executive of SEUK, says: ‘The impact of our purchasing decisions is becoming ever more apparent and shoppers are increasingly looking for gifts that make a positive difference in the world around them.
Peter Holbrook, chief executive of SEUK says the Buy Social Directory has ambitions to be the ‘google’ for those who want to use their spending power for good
‘The new Buy Social Directory will be the “Google” for those who want to use their spending power to help build a better world and the Christmas gift guide is treasure trove of presents with purpose.
‘Social enterprises show us a different way of doing business – where quality products meet real values and where people and planet are put ahead of private profit.
‘Through buying social this Christmas, you are making a real difference to people’s lives.’
Everyclick, Give As You Live platform, for example has raised more than £11million for charity so far and it allows its shoppers to use the portal for free.
You sign-up and visit the shops you usually would via its link – there are 4,400 retailers, including Amazon, M&S, John Lewis and Boots.
It then wrangles a donation out of the companies in question, without you paying any extra.
Annabelle Risdon, director at GAYL, says: ‘The most popular charities benefiting from Give as you Live, include Starlight, Cats Protection, Cancer Research UK, Salvation Army and Tearfund, among others.
This month, payment platform PayPal will also give back. For every gift purchased from the notonthehighstreet Christmas collection using PayPal, PayPal will donate 10% of the item’s value to support The Prince’s Trust.
The PayPal campaign will run till 21 December 2019, or until donations hit £250,000.
PayPal will also give £1 for every PayPal transaction made on Nike.com or the Nike app to support Football Beyond Borders, a charity that helps to support disadvantaged young footballers up and down the country.
I raised £2,300 for my brother’s charity by shopping online
Christina Martin (pictured left) has raised money for the charity that supports her younger brother
Christina Martin, 39, has raised £2,263.45 for the Canterbury Oast Trust, which cares for her learning disabled younger brother, simply by doing her online shopping through Everyclick, Give as You Live’s portal.
She was also able to boost her donations by using GAYL’s price comparison switching service which enables users to raise larger sums.
She explains: ‘I use GAYL to support the disability charity which houses and looks after my younger brother.
‘It’s great to be able to top up my own personal giving in this way, as I would love to be able to donate more personally.
‘It’s a brilliant platform because I can use the search engine to raise money every day and then when I shop I can earn a bonus donation on money I had to spend anyway.
‘I feel like I am helping my brother and his friends every time I have to replace a boring expensive item or pay insurance. The pennies and the pounds really add up, as my total shows.’
2. Drinks and cups with added benefits
Founder of Brewgooder, Alan Mahon, uses profits from the company to help people in developing countries access to clean drinking water
Regardless of whether you enjoy beer or coffee, you’re bound to find a tipple that supports good causes.
If you prefer alcohol, Brewgooder is a social enterprise that makes beer and gives all its profits to support water projects in Malawi.
They’re on a mission to give one million people access to fresh drinking water.
Meanwhile the Bean Shop says it regularly donates coffee either ready-brewed or as coffee mornings, fundraisers, local schools, clubs and charities.
They’re based in Perth, Scotland, but they can be supported elsewhere by making purchases online.
If you need to buy an eco-friendly cup for yourself or a friend, why not consider buying a KeepCup from Blue Bear Coffee Co (£15).
By buying a Blue Bear Keep Cup you’ll be helping Blue Bear invest 100 per cent of profits into their their three beneficiary agencies investigating human trafficking and caring for it’s survivors.
3. Food for thought
Baby food producer Piccolo gives 10 per cent of its profits to food education programmes.
Another baby food producer, Ella’s Kitchen has partnered with charity FareShare to launch a Christmas dinner pouch.
Ella’s Kitchen has partnered with UK charity Fareshare – for the second year running
For every pouch made one meal is donated to a family affected by food poverty in the UK.
If you shop at the Co-Op and buy some of their select own branded products then 1 per cent of your spend will go to community projects in your area.
What’s more, if you become a Co-op member you also get to benefit from personalised offers every week and earn rewards to help your community.
Sainsbury’s shoppers can also give back by buying eggs.
The partnership between the Woodland Trust and Sainsbury’s involves planting trees because chickens’ jungle roots mean they are happier and healthier when allowed to roam under the shelter of trees; and the healthier hens lay better eggs.
Woodland eggs were launched in 2004 and 1p is donated for every 12 eggs sold.
So far, more than five billion woodland eggs have been sold and more than 3.6million trees have been planted.
Meanwhile, even your Christmas sarnie can help charities. For example, Marks & Spencer will donate donates 5 per cent of the sales of its festive food on the move range to Shelter.
Last year, it raised £700,000 to fight bad housing and homelessness.
4. Beauty products that helps the NHS
Nursem, a skincare brand for hands, has just launched in Boots stores across the country, following a Crowdfunding campaign.
The brand also gives back to the NHS for every purchase.
Founder Jonny Philp says: ‘To help give back to the most deserving sufferers of hand conditions, we’re also on a mission to provide free hand cream to every NHS nurse and midwife by 2025.
‘For every product we sell, we will give free hand care to an NHS nurse or midwife.’
The range is now available to purchase in Boots stores and online and ranges in price from £9.99 and to £19.99.
Charity shops like Macmillan Cancer Support also sell skin care ranges online that you can buy to support them.
The Nursem brand also gives back to the most deserving of hand sufferers, by providing a month’s worth of free hand cream to an NHS nurse or midwife for every product sold
5. Clothes, jewellery and accessories
Even when you buy that Christmas present staple – socks – you can help do good. For example, when you buy one pair of Stand4Socks, another pair is donated to the homeless.
Or you can direct the proceeds of the sale of your socks to a range of charities both at home or around the world.
You can also buy Christmas socks from TK Maxx, which are available in store or online from £3.99. At least £1 per pair will be donated to Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People this December and into the New Year (while stocks last).
Mantra Jewellery has its ‘mantra Changes Lives’ initiative, which works with charities and not-for-profit organisations to create jewellery to raise funds, show support and build awareness for important causes.
They donate 25 per cent of the selling price of necklaces to the charity.
Dogs Trust have partnered with Radley to produce a special range of purses, backpacks and handbags with 10 per cent of net sale prices going directly to Dogs Trust.
So far they’ve raised more than £92,000 to help Dogs Trust to care for vulnerable dogs.
Sonar Stripe Socks from Stand4 Socks cost between £8.99 – £11.99
6. Charity bank accounts
There isn’t as much choice as there used to be. According to Defaqto, the number of banking products that help charities has fallen by 59 per cent in the last five years.
Back in 2014, there were 68 banking products on the market but now there are just 28. This leaves supporters with fewer options.
The downside to supporting these products is that they are not the most competitive on the market.
The Mansfield 180 Day Community Saver account offers the best interest rate at 1.45 per cent.
It makes a donation of 0.1 per cent of the average total account balances to the Society’s Charitable Trust on a quarterly basis.
If you want your charity to get more money, you may be better off putting your savings in an account that pays a higher rate of interest and giving the additional money to the charity directly yourself.
Katie Brain, banking expert at Defaqto
However, access to the fund is limited to savers providing 180 days’ notice and only for those who live in the local area.
Children’s charity savings accounts exist too as well with the Penrith Building Society Junior Regular Saver Account offering an interest rate of 2.75 per cent.
It pledges 0.5 per cent gross interest on the average total balance held in the account to the Penrith& District Red Squirrels Group.
One of the most popular accounts is run by Coventry Building Society. Saving into its Poppy range of accounts sees a slice donated to the Royal British Legion.
It has donated £17million since launching in 2008: however, this account is no longer available this year.
If you can’t find a good account, it might be worth simply opening a regular savings account and funneling the interest to charity.
Katie Brain, banking expert at Defaqto, says: ‘People tend to choose charity savings accounts to help a cause they support, rather than for the interest rate so they may not be benefiting from the best rates available.
‘If you want your charity to get more money, you may be better off putting your savings in an account that pays a higher rate of interest and giving the additional money to the charity directly yourself.
‘If you don’t have the time or discipline to do that, then these accounts are a convenient way to support your charity.’
By buying a Blue Bear Keep Cup you’ll be helping Blue Bear invest 100 per cent of profits into their their three beneficiary agencies investigating human trafficking and caring for it’s survivors
7. Convert rewards points to donate cash to charity
If you belong to a rewards scheme, you can convert points into cash that can be donated to charity.
For example, you can exchange Nectar points for Oxfam donations through the Nectar site.
Meanwhile, American Express allows you to donate your points to several charities including Breast Cancer Now and The Global Fund.
You can convert Nectar points and donate them to charity
8. Buy gifts and goods from charities
There are many charities that have an online marketplaces that allows you to buy products – which could also help cut down on waste.
For example, the Unicef Market allows you to buy a vast array of items – anything from jewellery, to clothes and stocking fillers.
Others that do the same include Dogs Trust, The Blurt Foundation which sells the Buddy Box for people that need a ‘dollop of self care’.
Alternatively, buying fragrances from Sana Jardin will help to train female jasmine growers around the world, provide them with business training and reducing waste in the production process.
If you like going to stores there are a number of charity shops that have outlets on the high street where you can buy second hand clothing and other trinkets that will help to fund their causes.
These include The British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross, Dogs Trust and Cancer Research.
Charity stores like the Dogs Trust sell various items such as clothes and old toys that can be bought to support their good causes
9. Buy charity Christmas cards
Are you still a traditionalist at sending Christmas cards by post?
If so, why not pick out charity Christmas cards instead from the likes of Unicef, MacMillan and Oxfam. They can all be bought online.
10. Buying Christmas decorations and wreaths
Pines and Needles, one of Britain’s biggest Christmas tree providers in Britain, is dedicating all the profits from the sales of its wreaths and Christmas decorations to the Human-Resource Development & Language Foundation.
If you do donate cash
One of the easiest ways to give more without spending more is to ensure you include Gift Aid when making any direct charitable donation – that automatically gives the charity an extra 25 per cent.
This charity trains people in Cambodia to teach English to young children.
A spokesman says: ‘One of their managers works for two months at Christmas so he can spend 10 months working for charities around the world.
‘Juan Ros even sleeps at Pines HQ in North London to save as much money as he can so he can fly out to all corners of the earth once the Christmas season is finished.
‘He runs HDLF, which trains people in Cambodia to teach English.
‘Juan’s even managed to convince Pines bosses to donate ALL the profits from their wreaths and decorations to charity.
‘It’s a brilliant story and he’s a brilliant humanitarian. One for us all to aspire to.’
Do you still need to buy Christmas wreaths or decorations? If so, why not buy some from Pines and Needles which donates profits from these products to HDLF which trains people in Cambodia to teach English to children
11. Buying sports equipment
If you’re considering starting a sport in the New Year in order to keep up with your keep fit resolutions why not look out for sports equipment that give back.
The Mini Snow Leopard football from Alive & Kicking, costs £15. Alive & Kicking is the world’s only not-for-profit ball manufacturer, helping to create ethical jobs and donates sports balls across sub-Saharan Africa.
It could make a perfect stocking filler for a child (see below).
If you’re a yoga fan, then consider buying a mat from CorkYogis which makes sustainable cork yoga mats and gives 10 per cent of profits to the Destiny Foundation.
The Destiny Foundation is an organisation that combats the immense injustices of human trafficking and the challenges faced by human trafficking survivors.
If you buy a sustainable cork yoga mat from CorkYogis you’ll be helping to support the Destiny Foundation which helps victims of human trafficking
12. Buying items at gift shops
If you enjoy your art and history by often attending the likes of the V&A, Design Museum, Natural History Museum, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and British Museum, you can support them if an item in the gift shop happens to catch your eye.
Mallan explains: ‘Museums such as the V&A and the Natural History Museum reinvest proceeds from their gift shop sales into their institutions.
The arts is an under supported area.
According to the CAF giving report, just 2 per cent of respondents chose arts funding as their first choice for household giving.
Mallan adds that this is an ongoing trend: ‘It’s worth noting that the CAF UK Giving report consistently finds that arts and cultural institutions are consistently low on the list of causes to which people donate.’
13. Your time: most valuable gift of all?
One other way to give back this Christmas is to volunteer. Crisis at Christmas has a number of ways in which you can help.
A number of other national and local charities will also be on the lookout for volunteers – meanwhile, there could be older people on their own this Christmas.
Why not go the old-fashioned route and donate your time to help battle loneliness – take a look on this NHS website page for ways to do it.
Five stocking filler ideas for under £20 that give back to charity
You don’t have to spend a lot of money or buy big items in order to donate to charity.
There are plenty of companies that have launched and created smaller items that you can buy this festive season and add to your Christmas stockings.
The Buy Social Directory recommends the following which would cost a total of £63.38:
1. Divine 38 per cent Milk Chocolate with Toffee & Sea Salt – £2.39
2. Plastic Free Limited Edition Black Oud & Jasmine soap from Clarity & Co – £19
3. Sonar Stripe Socks from Stand4 Socks – £8.99 – £11.99
4. Mini Snow Leopard football from Alive & Kicking – £15
5. A Keep Cup from Blue Bear Coffee Co. – £15
Alive & Kicking is the world’s only not-for-profit ball manufacturer, helping to create ethical jobs and donates sports balls across sub-Saharan Africa
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