smart spending

6 cheap, easy ways to donate to charity

Make a change with change
Make a change with change © Jeff A. Moore/Shutterstock.com

Make a change with change

That jingling you hear is not reindeer, but all the change in your pockets. Before it ends up between the sofa cushions, pull out an old piggy bank or pickle jar and collect it for a week, month or a whole year, says James Yunker, past chairman of Giving USA.

Get the family involved. At the end of the specified time, exchange the change for bills and donate to the charity of your choice. (Call your local bank to see if it exchanges coins without a fee, or visit a Coinstar machine to make a donation to one of the charities it sponsors.)

If you don't feel like lugging change around, pull out the few dollars you would spend every day on a coffee from Starbucks, Yunker says, and take that to a charity at the end of one month.

And what about that $2.36 left on a gift card you'll probably never use? Donate it to charity, recommends Sandra Miniutti, chief financial officer of online nonprofit evaluator Charity Navigator. Call up your cause of choice and ask whether it takes gift cards. For example, an underfunded school might benefit from a Best Buy or Staples gift card, while a homeless shelter may be helped by a supermarket or clothing store card.

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