Charity Gift Cards

Allison Martin
Gift Credit Card

Charity gift cards are a great way to pay it forward to both a loved one and a worthy cause. According to GiftCards.com, there are two types of charity gift cards. One type of card allows the recipient to purchase whatever she wants, and a portion of the sale goes to a charity. The other type allows the recipient to donate the amount of the card to the charity of his choice. The latter is less flexible as it cannot be redeemed by the recipient for an actual gift.

Pros of Charity Gift Cards

Gift cards that support charities are a great way to give back and offer many advantages.

Benefit Charities

It's hard to overlook the obvious benefit that charity gift cards support charities. What's more, they support charities in a way that requires nothing of the charity in question. Whereas most fundraising efforts are driven directly by the charities themselves, a gift card is organized by a third party and the charity simply gets the check.

Reduce Consumerism

What do you get for the person who has everything? Getting that person more stuff doesn't make sense. However, getting him a meaningful gift that allows him to donate to a charity has the appeal of not adding to material possessions.

Tax Deduction

When you purchase a charity gift card that can only be redeemed for a donation to a nonprofit, you can claim the deduction for the value of the card on your tax return as a charitable donation. Just be sure to keep the receipt so you can use it for proof of purchase at tax time.

Cons of Charity Gift Cards

Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks associated with charity gift cards.

Fees

Most charity gift cards are accompanied by an activation and processing fee. CreditCards.com notes most card providers charge a flat fee as well as a processing fee. The flat fee can range from 50 cents to $5 while the processing fee can range from three to eight percent. So, if you purchased a charity gift card valued at $100 that was accompanied by a $3 activation fee and six percent processing fee, you'd spend a total of $109. Also, keep in mind some charity gift cards will deduct these fees from the total value of the gift card, decreasing the amount of your donation.

Expiration Dates

Unlike standard gift cards, these products typically come with an expiration date. If the card is not used in a timely manner, the funds will be forfeited.

Limited Flexibility

If you purchase a gift card that cannot be redeemed by the recipient for a gift, you are in essence forcing her to donate to a specified list of charities. Unfortunately, her preferred charity may not be on the list.

Exclusions

Not all charities will be included on the roster, especially the smaller ones. To avoid this issue, only purchase charity gift cards from a reputable provider that has a wide variety of organizations to choose from.

Online Shopping

Shipping Costs

You probably won't be able to walk into the nearest big-box retailer or drug store and purchase a charity gift card. Instead, you'll need to do so online from a reputable seller, so that means you may have to pay a fee to have the card shipped to the intended recipient.

Types of Charities Supported

These cards support charities in various industries, including:

  • Animals
  • Arts
  • Children and Families
  • Climate Change
  • Community Development
  • Disaster Relief
  • Economic Recovery
  • Environmental Protection
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Human Services
  • Hunger
  • Poverty
  • Sports and Recreation
  • Religious
  • Women's Rights

Where to Find Charity Gift Cards

You can find charity gift cards on the following websites:

Fees Options
Charity Choice

5% administrative fee

3% credit card transaction fee

$0.50 per card from card balance

Physical Gift Cards (minimum purchase amount: $5 )

Gift eCards (minimum purchase amount: $2)

Custom Physical Gift Cards (100 cards or minimum order of $1,500)

Printable Gift Card

*Cards never expire

GlobalGiving 15% administrative fee Physical Gift Cards (minimum purchase amount: $10) that expire one year from the date of purchase
JustGive

$2 credit card and processing fee for email and print-at-home gift cards

$5 credit card and processing fee for print and ship gift cards ($3 for orders of 20 or more)

$2 for gift card claim codes

Email Gift Cards (minimum purchase amount: $25)

Printed Gift Cards- at home or print and ship (minimum purchase amount: $25)

Gift Card Claim Codes (minimum purchase amount: $25)

*All cards expire one year from the date of purchase

TisBest Philanthropy

$1.49 processing fee for Plastic Gift Cards

no fees for email and printable gift cards

Plastic Gift Cards (minimum purchase amount: $10)

Email and Printable Gift Cards(minimum purchase amount: $10)

An Important Consideration

The next time you're in the mood for gift-giving or a special occasion rolls around, a charity gift card may be a viable option. They're a great way to put a smile on the recipient's face while supporting a good cause. However, before you make a purchase, be sure to read the fine print from the provider to ensure the terms and conditions best suits your needs.

Charity Gift Cards