How to Make Donations With Unwanted Gift Cards

Published April 7, 2021
Woman with gift card

If you looked in your wallet right now, chances are, you'd probably find at least a few unwanted gift cards that you had completely forgotten about tucked into the flaps and folds; however, the internet makes donating gift cards to charitable organizations incredibly easy. Instead of letting your $25 and $50 gift cards to restaurants and stores that you'd never step foot in collect dust, or even worse throw away, take a few minutes out of your day to clean out your wallet and support a cause that's near and dear to your heart with donation gift cards.

Donation of Gift Cards to Charity

Honestly, gift cards are probably at the bottom of your list of items you envision when you think about donating to charity; yet, many charities accept unwanted gift cards as donations to their cause. If you have a specific charity that you'd like to support in mind, then you'll want to look at their website first or contact their local office to see how they prefer having these gift card balances transferred to them. Thanks to the ease of the internet, most charities that accept gift card donations use online third-party organizations to help transfer the funds to their group. However, there are other methods of getting these funds to your favorite non-profits, so it's important that you make sure you're following the proper pathways before accidentally erasing your card's balance in the process.

How to Donate Gift Cards to Charity Online

Thousands of charities partner with third-party groups like CharityChoice to have your gift card funds transferred to their organization. For example, when you visit the CharityChoice website, they offer many different avenues for which you can donate. Selecting to donate a gift card balance will take you to their five-step process, where they have their accepted gift card merchants listed in a drop-down menu. From there, you simply follow the instructions by putting in the right card information and allocating your funds to one of their 1000+ partner charities, and voila! Your gift card balance should be successfully transferred. Other charities prefer to use a direct link to their organization, like St. Jude Kids, who uses Cardcash to have gift card balances given to them. It's important to note that these third-party groups often collect a small portion of your donation to allocate to the administration fees incurred while running the website, but the majority of your funds should always go to your charity of choice.

How to Donate Amazon Gift Cards

With the recent negative publicity that the Amazon corporation has been getting, many of you might be contemplating about cutting ties with the consumer conglomerate, and an easy way to give back while you end your marriage to Amazon is to donate any Amazon gift cards you have lying around. In just the same way as you donate your other unused gift cards, you can donate your unused Amazon gift cards as well. Websites like GiftCards4Change can help you donate your Amazon gift cards; simply, select one of their fourteen different e-mail delivery gift cards ranging from restaurants like Panera Bread to businesses like Lowes and then follow a brief purchasing process to complete your transaction.

Young woman donating gift card

How to Donate Portions of Unused Gift Cards

Partially used gift card balances are much more difficult to donate electronically to a non-profit; however, it's not impossible to donate them - you'll just have to go through a few extra steps to make sure that the organization you're interested in receives your donation. Here are a few steps you can take to allocate your partial gift card balances to your charities of choice.

  • Donate by mail - Although it seems a bit archaic, mailing in your partially used gift cards to a charity gives them the chance to allocate the funds where their need is greatest.
  • Donate in person - Another way you can gift your partially used gift cards is to drop them off at your charity's office in person; since many grass-roots organizations don't have the funds to partner with these larger donation websites, this is a vital step you can take to support your local community.
  • Use the remaining balance on donations - If all other avenues fail, you can always use the remaining balance you have on donation materials for your charity - even a restaurant balance can be used on food for those receiving aid or staff and volunteers.

Give Back Using Gift Cards

While zero-waste lifestyles are pretty daunting, no part of your gift card balance has to go to waste when there're incredible opportunities, both digitally and in-person, to be able to put your gifted money to good use. No matter what cause you feel compelled to support, taking that free amount and sending it a charity's way is a low-energy way for you to support the people and causes that you hold dear.

How to Make Donations With Unwanted Gift Cards