‘Tis the season for giving—and time is running out. Whether you’re looking to be generous before New Year’s Day (and take the tax write-off) or get started with a recurring giving strategy next year, here are some great apps and services that ensure you’re donating to the right causes and in ways that make the most sense for your budget.
1. Choose your cause
If you’re not quite sure where you want to donate just yet, then Charity Navigator (Android, iOS, web) is a popular first stop. It rates close to 8,000 charities around the U.S. based upon the shape they’re in financially and how well they do when it comes to accountability and transparency. You can see which charities have perfect scores and which ones aren’t so responsible with your gifts—so you can make sure you’re donating to a worthy cause.
2. Write it off now, hand it out later
If you’ve got a specific monetary amount in mind, then Givelist (iOS, web) works well to kick-start your philanthropy. You can simply fund your donor account and take the tax write-off immediately, and then distribute it to one or more of the millions of available charities whenever you like. You can also set up recurring donations, donate anonymously, keep track of your giving with detailed reports, and find all of your donation receipts in one place come tax time.
3. Stretch your dollar
Sometimes a little goes a long way. Google’s One Today (Android, iOS) initiative aims to show how much good a single dollar can do, with profiles of U.S.-based nonprofits that showcase what can be done with a buck. Of course, you can donate more if you like—and you can also match others’ donations or reach out to family and friends to invite them to match yours. Google takes no transaction fees, donations are made anonymously, and you’ll get a year-end tax receipt for your records that details all your giving throughout the year.
4. Donate one step at a time
No money? No problem. Charity Miles (Android, iOS) tracks your workouts—whether you’re walking, running, or biking—and then donates a little bit (up to 10 cents a mile for bikers; up to 25 cents a mile for walkers and runners) to one of 40 available charities on the platform. The pool of money is funded by corporate sponsorship, so you’re not on the hook yourself. Just download the app, start the tracking feature, and get moving.
5. Keep doing what you’re doing
Even if you have zero interest in charity, no money to spare, and very little motivation to volunteer, there’s still a way you can give back. The AmazonSmile (web) program donates a half-percent cut of each eligible purchase you make to the charity of your choice. Assuming you buy a ton of stuff on Amazon like the rest of us, simply signing up for the program and shopping like you normally do is all it takes to trickle a bit down to one of over a million eligible charities. You can change your charities at any time, and all funds are paid out directly by the AmazonSmile Foundation.