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    Give at Checkout

    Understanding point-of-sale donations.

    Here's a common scenario: you just spent the past hour adding items to your shopping cart at your local supermarket. You get to the register, place all of your items onto the counter, and proceed to be rung up. Now you're asked to consider making a donation to a charity.  A myriad of questions float through your head before you ultimately decide whether or not to press yes or no.  This form of donating is called point-of-sale donations.


    Point-of-sale donations can be a tricky concept to grasp. On the one hand, they offer the public a simple way to donate, they help both the corporate retailer and the nonprofit meet their goals, and they’re relatively straightforward for retailers to try and implement. But how can someone know for sure where their money is going? How does a customer know which donations are legit and which are not? Are these donations even effective?



    Myth-busting Point-of-sale Donations


    Unfortunately, this decision has been complicated by a harmful myth making the rounds online: the host businesses can use your donation toward their charitable tax deductions. This is false. If you care to, you can claim your donation for your own charitable tax dedication.  


    With that myth out of the way, there are other legitimate reasons you may or may not want to engage in point-of-sale donations. 



    Reasons to Donate at Checkout


    In addition to facilitating small donations, checkout charity is convenient. Busy schedules may not leave time for debating between causes and organizations or sitting down to actually make a donation. With limited effort, you can ensure that you are giving to a solid organization to provide a meaningful contribution in concert with others. 


    The flexibility, accessibility, and convenience of point-of-sale donations make them a great option for donors who want to make the most of small donations. If incorporating generosity into your regular routine through checkout charity brings you joy, it is a good fit for you. 



    Reasons to Choose Another Donation Strategy


    Point-of-sale donations as a concept may not be for you, or specific campaigns may not suit your needs. 


    Checkout charity is really centered around the cumulative impacts of many small donations. If you want to give more than a couple of dollars at a time, it is worth spending a little more time to find the organization(s) that really match your giving goals.


    If you feel rushed, awkward, or stressed when you are asked to support a cause at checkout, this is not the joyful giving experience you should pursue. You can always use an invitation to donate at the cash register as inspiration for your own giving. You may decide to give to the same organization in the privacy of your own home. 


    Even if checkout charity suits your giving style, not every campaign is necessarily the right fit. Don’t donate to point-of-sale campaigns supporting a cause or nonprofit that you would not otherwise deem worthy of your support. It is not always clear how the money for a point-of-sale campaign will be distributed. If you cannot find satisfactory answers about how the money will be used online or by asking during your transaction, you may want to pursue another giving strategy. 

    Woman checking out with phone.

    Giving at Checkout


    If you decide that point-of-sale donations are a good fit for your giving strategy, follow these steps to do it right. 


    • Vet the organization. Find a quiet moment in line or between shopping trips to quickly search the organization associated with the campaign on Charity Navigator and take any other steps you need to feel confident in your giving. Remember that point-of-sale campaigns are usually designed to appear in your routine, so you will have many chances to engage. 
    • Give. Once you have decided that a campaign is worth supporting, select an appropriate donation amount for your budget each time you are invited to give, which may include declining to give. 
    • Keep your receipts. If you want to claim a charitable tax deduction, your receipt will include your donation and can be used when filing your taxes. In 2021, even those who do not itemize may be eligible for a limited charitable tax deduction.  
    • AmazonSmile runs year-round, and functions as a site of its own. All you have to do to get started is visit and choose one of the company’s spotlight charities or choose your favorite 501(c)(3) public charitable organization to support. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible purchases.


    Written in collaboration with Matthew Elmore, a Content Writer for DipJar. DipJar is changing the game of fundraising by providing connected devices with an integrated payments platform to enable cashless generosity for engaging, joyful & frictionless donations. The DipJar platform is helping thousands of customers empower new  donors and capture more donations.