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How do you donate money when you’re shopping online this Christmas?

Donation buckets used to be big earners for charities, but that’s all changed now as people start to switch to cash-free, online options.

Charity collectors are a familiar sight at Christmas, especially along station platforms and town centres, but the rosy-cheeked volunteers may soon become less common according to Michelle Wright, CEO of charity advisory organisation Cause4.

She predicts that “by 2026, donation buckets will be a phased out and only 21% of payments given to charities will be made in cash.”

Related: These gadgets should be on your Christmas list

Luckily, Wright says, charities are taking note and pivoting to online campaigns.

She lists some good examples: “Bloody Good Period, Festive Period #FloHoHo, is asking donors to purchase a gift of menstrual products for refugees through an online campaign. And Hoodies for Homeless and Crisis are selling designer hoodies online, of which £7.63 then goes towards clothes for a homeless person in London and £1 to Crisis.”

If you feel guilty for not donating anything this year, there are still plenty of super-easy ways to give charitably this Christmas.

Donate with Smile Amazon

The sweet thing about Smile Amazon is that it requires minimum input from buyers. Simply head to smile.amazon.co.uk, sign-in, then hit which charity you’d like to donate to. Amazon will give 0.5% of the net purchase price to the charity on any products that you buy.

You can donate to Cats Protection, Veterans Aid, Hospice UK, Faith in Families and MS-UK. as well as a host of other charities.

Shop ethically with Give as You Live

This works similarly to the Smile Amazon set-up but gives you a wider range of shops to choose from. You sign-up to the website (for free), pick a charity, then navigate to your favourite online store via the Give as You Live website. The stores will then donate a percentage of your purchase to the chosen charity – for example, you can raise up to 1.5% for charities by shopping for food at Marks & Spencer online right now.

Give your TopCashBack savings to a good cause

TopCashBack makes money on its own advertising commission, which it passes back directly to members. You can sign up here for free and then use the portal to shop on over 5,000 sites. It’s possible to earn up to 11% cashback, and you can gift these savings to charity.

Put your footfall to good use with Charity Miles

Decided to be brave and tackle the high street anyway? Good for you. Make sure your miles translate to cash with the Charity Miles app. Simply download the app to your phone, pick a charity, and get walking.

You don’t even need to get people to sponsor you for your efforts (although this is an option.) Instead, the company gets corporate sponsors to empty their pockets and put some money towards good causes, which they will do for every mile walked.

Related: Keep fit with 2019’s best fitness tracker

Gift a charitable Humble Bundle

Humble Bundle rounds up a bunch of games and sells them for a very low price. You can choose how much you pay, and the company will split the profits between charities and developers. Most of the time you can pick your own charity to donate to, but this often depends on the bundles.

Got a sibling who’s a pain to buy for at Christmas? Gift them an annual subscription for as little as £35.99 and they can pick and choose monthly titles from the site.

Catch some charity streams

Watching charity streams on Twitch is a fun way to spend a rainy December evening and it will make you feel like a do-gooder too. Looking up popular charities such as Extra Life 4 Kids, Save The Children and AbleGamers will often throw up live streams from Twitch members trying to drive donations. Or you can click on charity profiles directly to see individual schedules.

Donate directly

You can, of course, cut out the middle man and give to charities directly. Most charities will have sites where you can do this, and even set up regular donations. If you’re struggling to pick a worthy cause, check out Givewell. The company conducts in-depth research to uncover which charities are doing the most good per dollar spent. You can find their recommendations here.

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