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I would like to donate some money to a charity, but I would rather they not know who donated it. How could I go about this if cash isn't an option?

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When donating anonymously to an individual (not a charity) I know several who have called local pastors to act as an intermediary. –  Alex B Feb 8 '11 at 16:49
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Are you interested in taking a tax deduction for your donation? (Even if done for selfless reasons, the tax deduction could enable you to send more money to charity and less to the government.) Anonymity may complicate the matter, if you can't get a receipt. –  fennec Feb 8 '11 at 19:38
    
Also, do you think that there's a substantial risk that the charity will actually care about the donation to provide you with substantial recognition? If it's a large worldwide charity (e.g. Food for the Poor, WorldVision, what-have-you) this is relatively unlikely. Of course, if it's a small local charity that's another matter. –  fennec Feb 8 '11 at 19:56
    
@fennec Really it's a matter of principle. On the other hand, I almost exclusively give to small local charities. That way I can know how they spend the money. –  C. Ross Feb 8 '11 at 20:08
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4 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I'm familiar with the quote. The institution you donate to can keep you anonymous. The person actually benefiting is not aware of your generosity. This is how I understand the biblical meaning. By the way, a number of people who donate, do not take the tax deduction, so as to not benefit. To them I suggest they calculate the refund, and add that to their donations the next year.

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That's a good point about tax deduction. I've always taken mine, because I don't see it as getting money, but rather the gov't letting me keep my money. –  C. Ross Feb 8 '11 at 12:33
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There are those with faith-based reasons not to take the deduction. I use the deduction as an excuse to find more money to donate. –  JoeTaxpayer Feb 8 '11 at 21:22
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In the US, you can use an intermediary site like justgive.org or Network For Good. Network For Good charges 5% and JustGive charges 4.5% for the service. I've no experience with either site to recommend them or otherwise.

In the UK, you can set up a CAF (Charities Aid foundation) Charity Account, this allows you to donate to charities anonymously, while still allowing the recipient to benefit from Gift Aid (where they can reclaim the income tax you'd paid on the donation). You can even use this account to donate to overseas charities if you're donating at least £250.

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@Rich Aren't both justgive and Network for Good "basket charities" that split your donations amongst charities? The UK account sounds excellent though, do we have something like that in the States? –  C. Ross May 3 '10 at 20:16
    
From a quick look at justgive.org I believe you get to choose which charities to give to. I think you set up a basket for repeat giving. –  Rich Seller May 4 '10 at 9:46
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Can you get a cashier's check from your bank, made out in the charity's name, and mail it to the charity?

From what I recall of the last few times I've gotten a cashier's check from the bank, it didn't have anything on it that identified me. A determined person could probably trace it back to you, but you're not really looking for strong anonymity.

Another possibility would be a postal money order, but I'm not sure whether you can leave the "From" section blank.

The money order would have a fee, but the cashier's check should be free. (It is at both my local bank and my CU.)

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If I were donating money to a charity, i.e. an organization set up to help others, I would simply send them the money and ask that my name not be used in publicity. That would mean that the person(s) actually benefiting from my donation didn't know who I was. The charity would know, but they don't themselves benefit.

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protected by Chris W. Rea Sep 6 '13 at 18:41

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