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Make a difference: the best way to give to charity

Make a difference: the best way to give to charity

Category: Ethical

Updated: 05/12/2017
First Published: 10/07/2007

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

There are several ways in which you can support a charity of your choice like Friends of the Earth, Oxfam or The World Wildlife Fund etc. For example:

  • A regular donation
  • Recycling your old mobile phone
  • Raising sponsorship money

Most charities need a reliable, regular and long-term supply of income to campaign effectively for a better world, which is why a regular monthly donation by direct debit is probably the best way for you to provide your support.

Direct debits

  • Direct debits are easy to set up and most charities will allow you to do this online via their websites.
  • It's also the cheapest way for them to process your donations and cuts down on unecessary paper and postage costs.
  • You are also protected by the Direct Debit guarantee offered by all banks and building societies, which means you'll be notified of any changes in advance and receive a full refund in the event of any errors being made.
  • You can also cancel a direct debit at any time through your bank or building society.

Credit cards

  • Beware of making regular donations on your credit card though, as these donations aren't covered by the Direct Debit guarantee.
  • It can sometimes be very difficult to stop the donation, as unlike Direct Debits, the person you're making the donation to has to cancel it for you, which can sometimes take a while to happen!

Gift aid

  • Whenever you make a donation to a charity, whether it's a one-off, or part of a regular monthly donation, the charity can claim gift aid tax relief.
  • This means that the Government treats the donation as if the donor had already deducted basic tax relief, meaning that the charity can then reclaim this tax to increase the value of the donation.
  • To qualify for gift aid, donors must be a UK taxpayer and give the charity a gift aid declaration, which usually includes your name, address and details of the donation. Most charities do this for you, all you have to do is fill in a short form and tick the right box!

Recycle your old mobile phone

  • There are over 80m old mobile phones lying around in the UK alone, with an estimated value of £1.6 Billion. Just think of how that money could be used by charities to help make the world a better place.
  • The UK's number 1 online mobile phone recycling website is which is free to use and pays you cash for your old mobile or makes a donation to a charity on your behalf.
  • Some charities like Oxfam and Action Aid let you recycle your mobile direct with them via their websites if you'd prefer to do it that way.
  • You can even recycle old printers, PDAs and even laptop computers.

So, recycle today and help make the world a better place.

Buy someone a donkey!

  • Collectively in the UK we waste millions on unwanted or unused gifts and presents, especially on Mother's Day, Easter and Father's Day. Oxfam have a great website that allows you to buy someone an unusual gift that actually makes a huge difference to other peoples' lives – so why not buy your mum, dad, brother or sister a goat, donkey, toilet, or safe water for a village.
  • In fact, since September 2004, Oxfam claim that over one million unusual gifts have been bought benefiting people in 47 countries around the world.
  • Next time you get your annual bonus, why not use a small bit of it to make a real difference to other people's lives. For example, £30 trains a teacher, £50 can water a farm for 6 months and £72 can provide safe water for 100 people.

Raising money

  • Raising money with a group of friends or work colleagues is also not only fun, but also a great way of helping make a difference. A lot of companies these days will also match what you raise, or make a contribution, which obviously can make a big difference too.
  • There are loads of things you could do – run a marathon, do a sponsored walk or bike ride, or even do a sponsored clean up.

So, get yourself onto Oxfam's website and pick something to aim for – you can create a whole classroom for £1,700, which will help a new generation of kids to overcome poverty for themselves. This will give you something tangible to focus your efforts on!

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.