5 Ways to Shop Online and Help Dogs at the Same Time
We are so fortunate. My dogs and I have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and just enough discretionary income for the occasional splurges: a pedicure for me, and pricey Himalayan dog chews for Dolly and Spot.
To help those not so fortunate, I donate small amounts and items to animal welfare organizations whenever my budget allows. Every little bit counts, right?
I also now belong to a charity shopping website, thanks to a recent request sent by a rescue group near me. Websites such as these allow me to make giving part of my regular online spending. With that in mind, I put together the following five ways online shopping -- mine and yours -- can help dogs in need.
iGive allows you to choose a charitable organization or cause to receive a donation every time you shop at one of 1,270 participating online stores. Those stores include 1-800-PetMeds, Amazon, eBay, Gap, Lowe's, Petco, PetSmart, and many others you might visit for everyday needs and occasional wants.
More than 56,000 charities and causes make up the list of iGive recipients, which includes plenty of dog-friendly groups. When I signed up for the free membership, I designated Arizona Boston Terrier Rescue as my charity, and website stats told me that iGive members have raised $1,222.64 in donations so far for the rescue. As a whole, the 300,000-plus membership has made $6.6 million in donations since the website launched in 1997.
How it works: Simply sign up for a membership, choose your recipient, and access participating stores through links on the website, in its newsletter, and through a downloadable button for your browser toolbar. Stores set the percentages they donate, which you see listed next to their links. If a charity or cause you support does not show up in the iGive search, you can provide contact info to have it added.
This online store partners with artists and designers and features their unique, handmade items. Each purchase through Jusani triggers a $5 donation to a no-kill animal shelter, which founder Melissa Salinas chooses each quarter. Jusani has raised more than $2,300 so far for various organizations, with funds currently going toward the New Fairfield Sherman Animal Welfare Society in Connecticut.
How it works: Just shop the store, which offers clothing and accessories for men and women, toys for kids, home décor, and pet products, including treats, collars, bowls, clothes, and other items. I currently have these two items on my to-buy list:
Goodshop -- part of the Goodsearch network, which donates money on behalf of more than 15 million users when they search, dine, shop, and take advantage of other qualifying offers -- works with more than 2,800 online stores. Apple, Barnes & Noble, In the Company of Dogs, Home Depot, and Target are among the big-name partners.
More than 100,000 charitable organizations and schools receive money from the network, with donations totaling $9.6 million to date. When I joined Goodshop, I chose the Boston Terrier Rescue of Greater Houston; the group has received $291.64 so far.
How it works: Sign up for a free membership, choose your recipient, and access participating stores through links on the website and a downloadable toolbar for your browser. Like with iGive, you see the percentage each store donates per purchase, and you can provide contact information to have a charity added.
iGive and Goodshop also offer coupons and discount codes for participating stores, often allowing you to get a great deal.
This online store provides wines on which charitable organizations can put custom labels. Benefit Wines then donates the online profits, $1.9 million since 2007, to the partner charities. The donation amount per bottle shows below the price.
The wines all come from LaFortuna Vineyards in Lontue Valley, Chile, which holds organic and fair trade certification.
How it works: Simply shop the store. You can search by dog-friendly charity to see if your favorite one has wines available. If it doesn’t, searching by state allows you to support another close to home. I found several to buy as hostess gifts for my dog-loving friends, including this one for a Greyhound rescuer:
How it works: Just purchase wine from the online store. It's as easy as that.
Former Neiman Marcus and Macy's executive Nancy Taylor founded this charity shopping website, and the products reflect her upscale taste. Gifts That Give carries items for men, women, kids, pets, and the home. Brands include Adriana Castro, Elegant Baby, Fab Dog, Jonathan Adler, Lilly Pulitzer, and Thymes, just to name a few.
The website donates about 20 percent of every purchase -- the exact amount shows above the price -- to the charity of your choice either directly or through Network for Good. I chose the Boston Terrier Rescue of Greater Houston, again. Gifts That Give uses GuideStar's database of 1.2 million charities to ensure you can support whichever organization you want.
How it works: Just shop the store. I currently have this item on my to-buy list for an upcoming baby shower:
All of these websites and online stores pass on 100 percent of the shown donation price to the chosen charity. (However, in the case of $10-or-higher donations made through Gifts That Give, Network for Good charges a 4.75 percent processing fee before sending the remainder of the donation to the chosen charity.)
It costs nothing for charities and causes to become recipients, and while the individual donations may not seem like much, they add up. Every little bit counts when helping dogs in need, right?
Let's hear from you, readers! Do you use any of these sites? Or do you have other charity shopping websites to recommend? Please share in the comments!
Here's another story about giving to dog-friendly charities: