Charitable Giving: 12 Easy Ways to Make an Impact

Helping Out in the Farm Cafe
Paige Kutilek
|6 min read

Fundraising Strategy

Charitable giving is a fundamental part of American culture. A recent survey by Bankrate found that 96% of Americans have made, or plan to make, a charitable donation by the end of the year. And those donations add up: Americans contributed an estimated $390 billion to US charities in 2016, with online giving increasing by 7.9% that same year.

Along with providing a free crowdfunding platform, GoFundMe offers a wealth of free tips and ideas to help you make an impact—whether you’re raising funds for a cause you care about or donating to others’ fundraisers. We hope the following information can help you direct your funds to a worthy cause.

Charitable giving statistics

Online charitable giving

  • In 2015 online giving increased by 9%, according to the Digital Giving Index.
  • The 2016 Charitable Giving Report reports that online giving increased by 7.9% in 2016.
  • The same report found that giving by individuals grew at the highest rate at 3.9%. Giving by corporations was close behind with a 3.5% growth.
  • A recent survey by Bankrate found that 96% of Americans have made or plan to make a charitable donation by the end of the year.

Charitable giving by state

  • In 2017, the states with the most campaigns started on GoFundMe were California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Washington, and Massachusetts.
  • In 2017, the states with the most GoFundMe donors were California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio, and Massachusetts.
  • For more in-depth statistics on fundraising trends, visit GoFundMe 2017: A Year in Giving.

Twelve great ways to make a charitable impact online

We’ve put together a list of charitable giving websites, apps, and organizations that go above and beyond in helping others give in practical, meaningful, and impactful ways—often with very little effort required. Anyone of them could be a great focus for your fundraiser or home for your donation.

Charitable giving websites

1. Kiva

This international nonprofit aims to reduce poverty by allowing anyone to fund microloans to others around the world. Since 2005, it’s helped facilitate small loans that allow people and families to start businesses, attend school, and reach other goals. Kiva operates in 82 countries and has already served 2.6 million borrowers with loans from 1.7 million lenders.

2. GoFundMe

Powered by donors™, GoFundMe’s free fundraising platform helps people turn moments into movements. Whether it’s for help after disasters, rallying a community to help someone with medical costs, or paying off school lunch debts, GoFundMe is home to the world’s best causes. To date, over $5 billion has been raised by a giving community of more than 50 million across the world.

3. Good360

Since 1983, Good360 has helped companies donate products to charities through its GivingPlace360 platform. Not only does the charity help minimize the number of usable products in landfills, it also saves nonprofits money by providing critically needed goods for purposes including disaster relief. Last year, Good360 helped deliver four million diapers, 10,000 mattresses, and 8,000 articles of clothing to people in need.

4. DonorsChoose

It’s no secret that public school teachers often dip into their own pockets to help fund classroom projects. Whether a teacher needs 30 copies of Little House on the Prairie or a robotics kit, DonorsChoose helps make it happen. Teachers post projects that need funding, supporters donate, then DonorsChoose purchases the items and ships them directly to the teacher’s classroom.

Shopping for good

These sites direct a portion of sales to the charity of your choice. If you’re a charity, you can use them to raise funds for your cause. It all adds up.

5. Goodshop

We all love coupons because they save us money, but what if they helped us give to charity at the same time? That’s exactly what Goodshop does. The site finds the best online shopping deals—and every time you make a purchase, donates to a nonprofit of your choice.

6. Amazon Smile

A lot of people know Amazon as a popular place for online shopping, but fewer know about Amazon Smile. Browse, and your shopping experience is the same as it is on Amazon—but at checkout, Amazon Smile facilitates a donation of 0.5% of your total to the charity of your choice. Charities can send their Amazon Smile codes to supporters.


The popular shoe company created a unique business model called One for One®. Every purchase of TOMS products triggers a donation that helps provide a critical service to someone in need—including shoes, water, safe birth care, and bullying prevention.

8. Sevenly

Sevenly commissions “cause art” and sells related products that give back. Its cause-themed collections and signature seven-day campaigns help raise funds for worthy causes. The company pledges $7 for each purchase from its seven-day campaigns and donates 7% of its cause-themed collections to nonprofits.

Apps for charitable giving

9. Walk for a Dog

This app makes donating to your favorite animal shelter as easy as walking your dog. Each time you grab the leash, open the app and tap a button. Tap again when you’re finished. Don’t have a dog? You can still walk dogs from your local shelter or rescue program—just pick the Walk for Cassie option during account setup. Donations are funded by sponsors and advertisers.

10. Donate a Photo

Another simple way to give to charity is through photography. For every photo you share on the Donate a Photo app, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 to the cause of your choice. To date, 2.94 million photos have been donated, helping 155 causes.

11. Charity Miles

Charity Miles makes it easy for anyone to raise money for charity by walking, running, or biking. The site has more than 40 nonprofits you can support. All you need to do is start and stop your workout, using the app to track the distance. To date, Charity Miles has helped raise $2.5 million for worthy causes while encouraging healthy habits.

12. Share the Meal

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) is a humanitarian agency fighting against global hunger. Its app enables people to share meals with those who need it most. With just $0.50, you can feed a child for a day. WFP’s administrative costs are fully funded by grants, so you can rest assured that all the money you give will go toward feeding a hungry child.

Ready to make an impact?

We hope you take advantage of these simple yet effective ways to give and make an impact. Whenever you’re ready to start fundraising for charity, we’re here to help—start a free fundraiser here.

Start a charity fundraiser

Paige Kutilek

About Paige Kutilek

I'm keen on creating meaningful and thoughtful content that will have an impact. I'm a dedicated individual with a creative touch who is always eager to learn more. Lover of cats, avocados, and tea.

The leader in online fundraising

security dashboard level handout mobile contact chart bar 33 customer support world 2
Donor protection guarantee

GoFundMe has the first and only guarantee in the industry.

Simple setup

You can personalize and share your GoFundMe in just a few minutes.

0% platform fee

With a 0% platform fee, you get to keep even more of your money.

Mobile app

The GoFundMe app makes it easy to launch and manage your campaign on the go.

Social reach

Harness the power of social media to spread your story and get more support.

24/7 expert advice

Our best-in-class Customer Happiness agents will answer your questions, day or night.