Stop Donating at the Box Office Now

Whether you shop primarily online or in person, you’ve likely been asked to donate to a charity during your checkout. Sometimes it’s rounding up your order to the nearest dollar and donating change. In other cases, you have the option to donate $1, $2, or other amount, or opt out.

But if you want your dollars to make a bigger impact, you should consider giving your money directly to charity. Here’s what you need to know.

Are checkout donations a scam?

As noted in a March 2021 Lifehacker post , cashier donations are not part of some scheme in which they are used to refund retailers previously donated funds.

But thanks to a lawsuit filed in New York City in May 2022 alleging that CVS used checkout donations to fulfill a promise made by the American Diabetes Association pharmacy chain to provide $10 million over three years, people are taking over again. a responsibility. take a look at this type of charity. (Though the claim will most likely be dismissed .)

Is this type of fundraising effective?

According to Engage for Good , over $605 million was raised at the box office in 2020, most of it in donations of less than $1. So at least that’s money that these charities probably wouldn’t have received otherwise.

However, in an email to Verywell Health , Lori Styron, chief executive of CharityWatch , said it’s not necessarily that easy. For example, a portion of your donation may be used to cover administration fees rather than the organization itself, and in some cases there may be a significant amount of time between the time you donate at the box office and when the charity actually sees the money.

“In the worst case scenario, your donation may not go to the charity at all,” Styron said in an interview with Verywell Health . That’s why she recommends donating to charities directly, rather than through a third party like a grocery store or pharmacy.

Why You Shouldn’t Donate to Charity at the Checkout

Needless to say, given all of this, donating directly to your favorite charities is usually a better option than doing it at the checkout. That’s why:

You can choose where your money goes

Donations at checkout usually benefit the charitable organization chosen by the seller. It’s not that there’s something wrong with their choice, but you might want to give your money to a local charity instead, or one that helps with a particular illness that’s affecting you or your family.

This makes it easier to pay taxes (if you transfer deductions)

Those who itemize their tax deductions can use charitable donations to reduce the amount of their taxable income . And while you can deduct donations made at the checkout using your receipts as a record, it’s much easier to donate directly to a charity and receive one receipt.

It gives you the opportunity to explore philanthropy

Websites like CharityWatch and Charity Navigator allow you to search for various organizations to learn more about their values ​​as well as how they spend their money. When you donate at the checkout, you usually don’t have time for it (especially if people are queuing up behind you).


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