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Shelley Hunter

Complete List of Charity Gift Cards that Give Back

Stores that make a donation when you buy a gift card plus charity gift cards that allow recipients to choose who gets the money.

donate to charity

Two Types of Charity Gift Cards

During the holidays and other celebrations, people seem more prone to doing good deeds and they also seem to be a little more generous in their giving as well. At the same time, the holiday season is often regarded as the busiest time of year. So sometimes we have a desire to help, but simply can’t find the time to do so. Here’s my solution.

Buy charitable gift cards that turn into charitable donations–they’re sometimes called, “Gifts that Give Twice” or “Gifts that Give Back.” With very little effort and no additional time, through these programs, you can give to worthy causes while in the throes of your holiday shopping.

Spread the Word!

Follow @GCGirlfriend and #GiftCardsGiveBack on Twitter to find out when new charitable gift cards that give back are added to this list.

There are two types of charitable gift cards. The first type of gift card works like most other gift cards except that the issuing company donates a portion of the gift card sale to a charity. The second gift card is different. The buyer is essentially donating the entire gift card sale (minus some processing fees) to a charity but is allowing the recipient to designate which foundation or worthy cause will receive the money.

Below is a list of gift cards that give a portion of the sale to a particular charity and those that let the recipient choose a charity instead. Check back often though, because these programs change from time to time.

Type 1: Small Percentage of Gift Card Sale Donated

Nordstrom charity gift card

When you buy a gift card on this list, a portion of the dollar value will be given to the charity selected by the merchant. There’s nothing else you have to do. Simply buy the gift cards you already intended to buy and your shopping dollars will do more for others this holiday season.

MerchantCharityHow the Gift Card Gives BackOffer Good Through
GapCARE or Communities in SchoolsGap will donate 2% of the initial gift card purchase to CARE or Communities in Schools. Offer not valid on gift card reloads.While supplies last
NordstromMultiple nonprofit organizationsNordstrom donates 1% of all Gift Card sales, including amounts added to existing gift cards to hundreds of nonprofit organizations in the communities around the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.Indefinitely
Williams-SonomaSt. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®Williams-Sonoma will make a $5 donation to St. Jude each time a customer purchases an eGift Card featuring artwork by a patient of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® as part of the 2017 St. Jude Thanks and Giving® campaign. These eGift Card designs will be available for a limited time only.Through 12/26/2017t

Type 2: Recipient Chooses a Worthy Cause

global giving gift cards

Unlike a typical gift card, the recipient doesn’t spend the money received when this type of gift card is purchased. Instead, he or she activates the card and decides which charitable organization to benefit.

What’s the business model behind this type of gift card? Well, when the recipient directs the money to a charity of choice, the company most likely keeps a small processing fee to break-even on the transaction (not make a profit). But the foundation can earn money in two other ways. The first is that payments are made to designated charities in lump-sum amounts on a scheduled basis (versus with every gift card purchased). So the issuing foundation may earn interest on funds pending allocation. Secondly, if the recipient fails to direct the funds to a charity, then the unused funds will mostly be redirected to the issuing foundation’s charitable cause.

So providing this type of charity gift card is a great way to allow people to support the causes they are passionate about and it is also a good way for the hosting organization to raise funds for their own nonprofit needs.

OrganizationHow the Program WorksExpiration?Tax-Deductible?
Charity ChoiceThe recipient of a Charity Choice gift card designates which charity will receive the funds. An online list is provided and up to three charities may be selected. There are over 250 major charitable causes and hundreds of local charities to choose from. A 5% administrative, 3% credit card transaction fee plus $.50 per card is deducted from the funds prior to allocation.Cards do not expire and will be honored, for gift-recipient redemption only, at any time. Should your gift recipient not designate a charity, we will utilize the gift for our 501c3 charitable organization.100% tax-deductible to the purchaser of the gift card.
Charity On TopCharity On Top offers unique and custom gift cards for both business and consumers that can only be 100% redeemed for charitable giving. When you give someone a Charity On Top gift card, the recipient can choose from 1.8 million 501(c)(3) charities they care about and donate directly to them. The charity receives 96.25% of card value.Gift cards do not expire.100% tax-deductible to the purchaser of the gift card.
DonorsChoose.orgThe recipient of a DonorsChoose.org gift card gets to choose a classroom project to support using the funds on the card. The recipient will also receive photos and thank you notes from the students helped by the donation. Unable to determine how much of the gift card value goes to the project.DonorsChoose.org gift cards expire six months after the purchase date. If the gift card is unredeemed, the funds will be applied to urgent classroom projects through the Community Fund.100% tax-deductible to the purchaser of the gift card.
GlobalGivingGlobalGiving is a crowdfunding community for nonprofits. Gift card recipients can choose from hundreds of worthwhile projects that might not get off the ground without community support. GlobalGiving keeps 15% of the gift card value to run the program.Gift cards are valid for one year from the day they were purchased. When the card expires, any remaining funds on the card will be donated to the GlobalGiving Fund.100% tax-deductible to the purchaser of the gift card if the project selected is pre-qualified for 501(c)3 equivalency status.
The Gift of GivingRecipients of The Gift of Giving gift cards can choose from over 100 national or international charities plus a list of local charities. The selected organizations receive the value of the gift cards minus $4.95 per card that goes to support the operation of The Gift of Giving. This amount is the same regardless of the dollar value of the card.Gift cards expire one year after they are purchased. Funds associated with an expired gift card are used by The Gift of Giving for activities that support the mission and may also be used to make donations to charities featured on the website.100% tax-deductible to the purchaser of the gift card.
TisBest PhilanthropyTisBest Charity Gift Card recipients “spend” the gift card by directing the funds to up to 3 charities selected from national, international and local organizations. The charity receives the funds directed minus a $1.95 transaction fee and a 3% credit card processing fee.Gift cards do not expire.100% tax-deductible to the purchaser of the gift card.

If you know of other charity gift cards, please let me know about them in the comments below or at @GCGirlfriend on Twitter. Better yet, post them on Twitter using the #GiftCardsGiveBack hashtag so we can all find out about these great gift card programs together.

Happy Gift Carding!

~Shelley Hunter, Gift Card Girlfriend

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