I actually recently stopped donating money at the register because I read an article that said the money you donate isn’t going to the charity, it’s paying back the company, who already donated to them. What? No thanks… I am not interested in helping trillion-dollar companies recoup their “charitable donations.” But supposedly that story was not true (I dunno, I still think it might be true..it’s the perfect scam)… But wait, before you start digging into your wallet to throw money at the cashier, there is some validity to the fact that the donations at the register are hooey. I came upon this article today, which is based on a recent lawsuit on this topic and I thought I’d share it with you.
Lifehacker reported that whether you shop primarily online or in person, you’ve likely been asked to make a donation to some kind of charitable organization as you’re checking out. Sometimes it’s rounding up the total of your order to the nearest dollar, and donating the change. Other times, you have the option of donating $1, $2, or another amount—or declining.
But if you’re looking for your dollars to have more of an impact, you should consider giving your money directly to a charity. Here’s what to know.
According to Engage for Good, in 2020, more than $605 million was raised at the checkout counter: Most of it in the form of donations of less than $1. So, if nothing else, that’s money that these charitable organizations would probably not have received otherwise.
However, in an email to Verywell Health, Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch, said that it’s not necessarily that straightforward. For example, part of your donation may be used to cover administration fees—rather than the organization itself—and in some cases, a considerable amount of time may pass between when you made your donation at the cash register, and when the charity actually sees the money.
“In the worst case, your donation may never make it to the charity at all,” Styron told Verywell Health. This is why she recommends donating to charities directly, rather than through third parties, like a grocery store or pharmacy.
The Today Shoe also did a piece on this very topic.
So, the bottom line is this: just donate to your favorite charity directly. That way you’ll know 100 percent where your hard-earned money is going, and you’ll be sure it won’t land in Walgreen’s “kitty” for next year’s “holiday” party.
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