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Give to Charity and Earn Points – Without It Costing You!

Written by Charlie

The time of the year is upon us when we begin to think a bit more about charitable contributions (Thanksgiving and Christmas are the biggest charitable time of year). Obviously, it feels more genuine when it costs you something to give to charity, but today, I want to show you how it will not cost you anything out of pocket and you can still do some good and earn points while you are at it.

Give to Charity and Earn Points

This is a post from a few months ago, but I had some people asking about eBay and points so I thought I would push it back up to the top of the pile.

Everyone has extra things around their house, garage, storage unit, office, etc. that they are not using and would like to throw away or maybe sell. Sometimes, you might want to donate it to someone or something to help someone out. If this is you, here is a way that you can take those unwanted things and do some good for one of the numerous causes out there AND get points all at the same time!

Give to Charity and Earn Poin

eBay Giving Works

eBay has a charity program called eBay Giving Works. You can help charities registered with them as a seller (donate a portion of the proceeds of the sale) or as a buyer (donate a cash amount on top of the total auction price – of any auction).

The charity portion used to be administered by Missionfish until eBay took them over. When it was Missionfish running the program, it would work like this – you would select to sell an item and then search for a charity you wanted to help. You then select the amount of the auction’s final value that you want to go to the charity (from 10% – 100%). At the conclusion of the auction, you would receive a refund of the final value fee based on the percentage that you chose to donate (ie. if you selected 100%, then you would not owe any fees). The person who won the auction would pay like normal, except the money would go to MissionFish and they would make deposits monthly to the charity. This way, the seller never had to deal with money.

Fast forward to the new program – now that MissionFish is eBay Giving Works, eBay has more control over how everything is handled. As a result, the way the money gets paid out is now different. Instead of the money going directly to MissionFish, the money goes to the seller like normal. However, the seller will then have the money pulled out from his/her PayPal account on the 4th Monday after the close of your listing and given to the charity. The biggest problem with this new system is that you are on the hook for the 3% PayPal (which eBay owns as well) fees so you will actually have money pulled out of your bank account (or primary funding source) that equals 3% of the total value of the item (if you selected to donate 100% to charity). So, for example, if you sold something for $1,000 and donated the entire amount to charity, you will receive the money in your PayPal account after the auction. One month later, eBay will pull the whole $1,000 out of the account, even though you only receive $970 of it. So, doing a good deed by donating 100% of your items to charity still ends up costing you!

But, there is a way that you can use this new format to give to charity and earn points – and still not have it cost you anything. Here is what you do:

  • Go to eBay and select to sell an item
  • Select to donate 90%  of the sale price (do not do 100%, or else you will not have enough left to cover PayPal’s fee!)
  • After the auction, you will receive a refund of 90% of the final value fee and insertion fee.
  • The buyer will pay and the money will go into your PayPal account.
  • Withdraw the money into your bank account (do not think you can cheat the charity this way! eBay can go right into your bank account and seize the funds).
  • Here is the important part – be proactive and login to your eBay account before the due date and go to the Donations Account. Once there, it will allow you to select to pay the donation with a credit card. You will not be charged any additional percentage for doing this.
  • Summary – if you select to donate 90% of the auction (final value percentages vary based on your eBay seller subscription and category of item so 90% is safe) and pay with a credit card, you will be able to donate with your credit card and it will have cost you nothing (except those items you were wanting to get rid of). This is a great way to meet minimum spending, accrue points/miles in a particular program, and do some good – all without it costing you a penny!

Give to Charity and Earn Points



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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.