It’s January, when the Giving Season becomes a distant memory, and the opportunity for 2018 tax deductions is long gone. Bank accounts are lean, and charitable giving is the last thing on most people’s minds.
Charities, though, operate year round, so they need donations every month, not just October to December. Luckily, retailers and restaurants around the country make giving a little extra easier, with matching or rewards programs. Though these don’t replace your regular direct charitable giving because the individual amounts can be small, every little bit counts.
“Every dollar counts,” said Karen McCandless, executive director of Community Action Services and Food Bank. “For every dollar donated to our food bank, we can feed a family of four for a day, thanks for community partnerships and our grocery rescue program. All financial donations go a long way.”
Here’s how you can give with your regular purchases.
If you shop at Smith’s grocery store, chances are you have a rewards card. You get coupons and discounts through your card. But did you know Smith’s will donate .5 percent of your purchases to a non-profit? All you need to do is connect your rewards account to a charity of your choice. The list includes schools, churches, food pantries and more.
Amazon will donate .5 percent of eligible purchases to a charity of your choice. You just need to follow a few steps. First, link your Amazon account to a charity. There are many from which to choose, national and local. Make sure to type in your favorite to see if it’s available. Then you need to remember to always order through the Amazon Smile website. All the items and prices are the same as they are on the regular site and the app, but it’s how the company designates your purchase for charity. You can order via Amazon Smile on any device. Once you’re set up, you can see how much you’ve generated for your charity, and the total amount your charity has received. As of October 2018, Amazon had donated $105,515,619.04 to charities around the world through Amazon Smile.
Utah grocery store Macey’s also has a program to donate to charities. Shoppers just need to link their Perks account to their charity of choice, and every time they shop they’ll earn money for the non-profit. All of the non-profits that benefit from the program help local children in need.
Stores across Utah participate in a program that gives back to local schools. Called School Cents, shoppers link their store rewards account to a school of their choice. Then the stores donate 1 percent of purchases to the school. Participating stores include Lin’s, Macey’s, Fresh Market, Dick’s and Lee’s.
Though donations through shopping rewards programs don’t replace direct giving, it’s a simple way to give back a little without impacting your bank account. So before you shop or eat out, make sure you’ve designated a charity on your rewards card and find restaurants that give back to the community.