Rewards for Charitable Giving

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Happy Thanksgiving!  In last week’s podcast “A good deed is its own reward (but we can do better)” we discussed ways in which you can earn rewards for yourself while donating to others.  For those who prefer to read than to listen, or for those who could use a quick reference, I decided to post the ideas here (along with several new ones) in easy-to-read bullet points.  Enjoy!

a person holding a cardboard box with stars coming out of their palm

How to find the best charities

Each of these websites are dedicated to helping people find the most deserving charities…

Let others find the best charities

  • GiveWell: Charity fund that assigns money to highest-impact giving opportunities (i.e. you donate to GiveWell and they allocate funds to charities according to how their research indicates the funds will do the most good).

Earn credit card rewards without passing along transaction fees to your favorite charity

  • PayPal Giving Fund Fundraiser Hub
    • You donate to your favorite charity through their hub
    • PayPal covers all credit card transaction fees
    • If your favorite charity isn’t listed, encourage them to sign up
    • GiveWell is available through PayPal’s hub so that’s an easy way to donate with a credit card and to let others find the best way to use your donation to do the most good.

Kiva microloans

  • Make microloans with credit card
  • Paypal covers credit card transaction fees
  • Usually earn 100% of your money back eventually
  • Loans are not considered charitable donations (so no tax benefit to you)
  • See my post: “Why I love Kiva for earning rewards and doing good

Extra Rewards for Giving

Here are some current opportunities for earning rewards (beyond credit card rewards) when giving to charities:

Use the most rewarding credit card

Gift Card Double-Dip

  • Sometimes possible to earn more rewards by buying visa/mastercard gift cards with your credit card then donate to charity with that gift card.
    • Staples / OfficeMax Example
      • Often have sales where activation fees are waived (Staples) or a discount that more than covers the activation fee (OfficeMax/Office Depot)
      • Buy with a card that earns a big multiple on office supply purchases (e.g. Chase Ink Business Cash earns 5x on first $25K spend per year)
      • Use those gift cards to donate to charity or to fund microloans.
    • GiftCards.com example
      • Sometimes offer discount off of virtual visa gift cards
      • Sometimes (but not always) it’s possible to earn portal rewards when buying these.  Capital One Shopping, in particular, often has great targeted offers for rebates from purchases at giftcards.com.
      • Use those virtual gift cards to donate to charity or to fund microloans.

Give Goods Instead of Cash

  • For donations to humane societies, rather than sending money you could order goods and thereby use Amex Offers, Chase Offers & Citi Offers for Chewy, PetSmart & Petco and stack with card-linked offers from Rakuten or Dosh with PetSmart along with shopping portal rewards.
  • If you don’t have any use for Business Platinum Dell credits, click through a portal to Dell and consider ordering Chromebooks (often available for $200) & donate them to a domestic violence shelter, local school, non profit, etc.

Charitable Shopping

There are several opportunities to give to charities as a result of shopping for yourself (or for shopping with the intent of giving goods as described above).

  • West ElmPottery Barn and Mark & Graham are all donating $5 to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital when buying a $25 gift card with St Jude artwork online. Offer expires 1/31/24.

Other Opportunities

  • Donate points or miles: Most rewards programs offer the option to donate points to charity.  Consider doing this with any points that you know that you won’t use.  Also, if you have a lot of points near expiration due to lack of activity, donating some of your points will usually reset the expiration date on the rest.
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue earn elite status by donating miles: Earn Experience Points (XP) for Miles donations to charity. Earn 1 XP for every 2,000 miles donated.
    • Choose a charity here
    • After choosing a charity, you’ll see the number of XP earned when you select the number of miles to donate.
  • Marriott Choice Benefits: If you’ve earned 50 Night Marriott Choice Benefits, consider choosing an option to donate to charity if you don’t think you’ll benefit from any of the other choices.
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jeph36

Here are a few other options I found when poking around.

Something similar to AA’s Stand Up To Cancer but for Alaska, United, or Delta:
https://www.nfcr.org/all-ways-to-give/fly-to-find-a-cure/ways-to-givefly-find-cure/

Southwest and Alaska let you earn miles or elite-qualifying miles for carbon offset programs:
https://www.southwest.com/carbon-offset-program/
https://alaskaair.chooose.today/eqm/

Nathan Weber

Chase Ink Business Premier card holders earn 2.5 UR (Ultimate Rewards) for each $ spent on every purchase of $5,000 or more. Unlike Chase UR points earned from other annual fee UR cards, these points cannot be transferred to travel partners or combined with UR points earned from other cards. In general, there is no better value to be had except cashing them in at 1 cent each.

An important exception to this is that the Ink Business Premier points balance can be used with “Pay Yourself Back” at 1.25 cents each for Select Charities. If you want to support a participating charity and your business routinely spends in larger increments, this can make the Ink Business Premier a 3.125% back everywhere card.

Participating Charities include the American Red Cross, Equal Justice Initiative, Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity, International Medical Corps (also aiding efforts in Ukraine), Leadership Conference Education Fund, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Urban League, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, United Negro College Fund, United Way, and World Central Kitchen.

Last edited 4 months ago by Nathan Weber
Lee

One additional thought regarding Air France. If someone is environmentally inclined, on cash tickets (not certain about award tickets), Air France affords a cash donation (as opposed to a points donation) towards reforestation and sustainable fuels. One roughly earns 1XP per 10 Euros. Cash amounts are determined per flight — it’s not open-ended. (This might be an attractive alternative even though Sky Team benefits are the weakest.)

Jeff

Charitable giving is how I often meet sign up bonuses, so I’ve been wanting this exact post. A few things to add, though, regarding Chase bonuses for charity: Chase Freedom cards now have 5x earning for many charities. I choose IRC. Second, Ink cards and now Freedom let you pay with points at a rate of 1.25 cents/point. For me that’s a great use of points, as I don’t like Chase partners anyway and have too many points banked and collecting dust, so saving cash is key (especially with high interest rates).

Byedelta

Under charitable shopping it might be worth mentioning that you can use shopping portals to donate while you shop. Allgives, shopraise, and goodshop are all basically charitable versions of rakuten, top cash back etc