Tech: Dialing for Dollars – to Charities

The holiday season and peoples’ generosity hasn’t changed – but how they express it has. Technology has made it easier and more convenient than ever to donate. 

People used to drop spare change in the Salvation Army’s buckets – but now they can round up the total in their online purchases and donate the difference to their favorite nonprofit.

The popularity of online transactions has also automated giving – a few keystrokes can set up a one time, monthly or annual donation on autopay.

And with the popularity of smartphones, charitable giving has become even more streamlined, making donating to worthy causes safe and seamless. Here’s how.

Donating by Mobile App

Venmo Charity Profiles

Last year, PayPal launched charity profiles on its subsidiary Venmo to directly donate to charities from the Venmo app. In its announcement of charity profiles, Venmo stated that 61% of donors are likely to hear about causes through family and friends. With over 90 million customers, word-of-mouth may help Venmo change how and how much people donate. The initiative allows users to conveniently contribute to their favorite causes securely. It’s five simple steps to donate through the Venmo app:

  1. Select the pay/request button
  2. In the search bar type the name of your preferred charity into the search bar.
  3. Tap the charities button to review the verified charity profiles.
  4. Select the charity
  5. Click donate and donate

RoundUp App

Another easy way to donate by smartphone is with RoundUp App, which works by rounding up users’ final purchase amount to the nearest whole number or a specific denomination. Spend $36.40 with your credit card, and RoundUp App raises your spending total to $37.00 and sends the .60 difference to the designated charity. It’s an easy – even painless – way to support a favorite nonprofit.

Setting up donations with RoundUp App is effortless:

  1. Select a nonprofit to support (Older Adults Technology Services is a participant.)
  2. Connect your credit or debit card
  3. Spend like normal
  4. RoundUp sends users’ monthly roundups (donations) to the nonprofit.

Want to learn more about online banking? Check out Senior Planet’s free Money Matters online class Nov. 30.  Details are here. 

How to Select a Charity

Choosing an appropriate tax-exempt organization from the over 1.5 million in the US is overwhelming. A recent Time magazine article suggested conducting a “philanthropic autobiography,” thinking about the ebbs and flows of the past year and finding nonprofits that match your experiences. Collaborating with causes that match interests, values, and passions creates “sustained engagement.”

Many people donate to fund research on behalf of a family member. If you have benefitted from activity – anything from yoga to becoming more tech-savvy – you might support an organization specific to that cause.    Then there are nonprofits like Senior Planet that offer a broad portfolio of health and fitness, technology and lifestyle classes and activities specific to older people. All the offerings are free, and contributions help support them.

Non-Cash Donations 

If cash is tight or you are more hands-on, consider donating your time to help a nonprofit organization. Many charitable organizations cannot support a robust workforce, and volunteers can fill the gap. Taproot matches volunteers to philanthropic projects based on their skill set. You can also offer your time and talents to Senior Planet; details are here.

Don’t Forget Due Diligence

Once you’ve decided on a nonprofit, take some time to do a little research to ensure they’re a good fit. It’s essential to ensure they’re trustworthy and align with your values. Charity Navigator, the Better Business Bureau, and provide well-researched information on nonprofits.

And do it safely. Here’s a link to the TFTC’s guide to avoiding app payment scams.

It’s amazing how small acts of kindness can make a big difference in the lives of others. Remember, Giving Tuesday 2023 happens on November 28.

Deborah Reale is a digital marketing and communications consultant specializing in social media, analytics, content writing, and editing. Ms. Reale has written for Business Development MagazineConstruction Industry Today, and quoted in Investor’s Business Daily and the book Social Media in Action. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and a graduate degree in business administration.



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