Inflation has many people cutting out necessities and pinching more pennies. It's always difficult to cut out the things you enjoy, but it hurts a little more when budgeting means making less charitable contributions.
It's gratifying to be able to financially support organizations you're passionate about, and the tax benefits aren't bad either. Fortunately, technology has made getting involved in a worthwhile cause easier than ever before.
First and foremost, these forms of giving are convenient, quick, and rewarding, but they aren't tax deductible. Secondly, it's always important to know which charities are receiving money and what they're doing with it, like you would do with any other place you'd spend money.
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Apps and Sites that are based on advertising
Apps and websites may utilize your time and energy to make charitable donations in two main ways: the first is usually introduced to you while you play a game or surf the internet. Just like many for-profit websites use advertising revenues to make money, these services donate that revenue to charity.
- Free Ricelets you tackle food insecurity around the world by playing simple trivia games. Brush up on any number of subjects from world geography to music reading. For every answer you get right, you donate a metaphorical 10 grains of rice to feed people in need. The service is run by the UNs World Food Program, so its impact is felt worldwide. Free Rice isn't available on an app, but it's very mobile-friendly, so you can just play on your phone's internet browser.
Apps that are service-based
Other apps emphasize service activities. Some tracks your mileage and arrange donations based on your fitness habits, while others connect you with people or groups who can use your talents and services.
- WoofTraxis a great app for people who have (and love) dogs. Just connect the app to your phone's health or step-tracking service, then open the app the next time you take your pooch for a stroll. You can set a mileage goal or you can just rack up miles on your usual daily walk. WoofTrax works with sponsors to get money to animal shelters based on your miles. The app will automatically set your donations to go to your closest local animal shelter, but you can give to another preferred shelter, too.
- Be My Eyesconnects people who are visually impaired to volunteers willing to help with quick visual tasks. The app is incredibly user-friendly, and comes with a very helpful demo for how you might be asked to help a blind person. You just download the app and wait for someone to need your assistance! If you're too busy to answer a call, there's no pressure -- someone else will be able to help. There are more than five million volunteers for less than 500,000 blind users.
- Refuge Restroomsis a publicly-sourced website that helps users find places with gender-neutral bathrooms. If you're a traveler or you go out a lot, you may notice when businesses have trans-inclusive facilities for people to use. You can help ensure the peace of mind of gender-nonconforming people traveling in your area by just making observations and adding a quick geo-tag.
- iNaturalistis a great resource for nature lovers. Take pictures of plants and wildlife that live in your neighborhood. Use the site's species library to identify the creatures living alongside you and you'll be providing scientific data for wildlife researchers to use! If you're tired of spending time on your phone doom-scrolling, consider trying iNaturalist and start bloom-scrolling instead.
- Charity Milesis another mileage-based app that translates your steps into money for charities. The app allows employers to get involved by donating based on employee mileage, or you can be sponsored by businesses through the app or even through your friends. The app also connects with your phone's health tracker, and can even be used with your Apple (AAPL) watch. The downside? The site only supports a limited number of charities, includingAutism Speaks, an organization that has drawn a lot of criticism from the Autism community. Be sure to double-check your organization's principals and messaging before you lace up your running shoes.