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    • MSE Nick
    • By MSE Nick 9th Feb 17, 3:29 PM
    • 254Posts
    • 78Thanks
    MSE Nick
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I donate my cashback to charity?
    • #1
    • 9th Feb 17, 3:29 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I donate my cashback to charity? 9th Feb 17 at 3:29 PM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    I buy quite a few bits on behalf of a charity I volunteer at, claiming back the money with receipts. Everything is agreed in advance and I always shop around for the best deals. Sometimes I go via a cashback site if possible - should I keep the cash I get back or donate it?

    Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

    If you haven!!!8217;t already, join the forum to reply!

    See the Top Cashback Sites guide for tips and info on what watch out for when cruising for cashback.

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Page 1
    • AuntyVi
    • By AuntyVi 14th Feb 17, 11:13 PM
    • 16 Posts
    • 31 Thanks
    • #2
    • 14th Feb 17, 11:13 PM
    • #2
    • 14th Feb 17, 11:13 PM
    How about this for a compromise option?

    There's a site called which works like a cashback site, but donates the money to your selected charity instead. If you get your charity set up on there, you can check the site and go through there whenever you buy from one of the companies listed there, and the donations will go to your charity - plus, you can share the details with other supporters, who can then also use it for personal shopping to raise money for the charity. (It's particularly good as it includes some stores that don't usually appear on other cashback sites, apparently, such as Amazon).

    Then, I would say whenever you are buying things but find the company you're buying from is not listed on easyfundraising, you can go through a normal cashback site instead and keep the cashback without feeling guilty. Does that sound good?
    • Serenmor
    • By Serenmor 15th Feb 17, 3:40 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    • #3
    • 15th Feb 17, 3:40 AM
    Yes, of course
    • #3
    • 15th Feb 17, 3:40 AM
    If you were not buying on behalf of the charity you wouldn't have the opportunity to make any money via cash back. Be charitable!
    However, if you feel a sense of entitlement, discuss with the charity and the dilemma will be solved for you. If you are told to keep the money, your conscience will be clear.
    • thegrifter
    • By thegrifter 15th Feb 17, 5:48 AM
    • 19 Posts
    • 25 Thanks
    • #4
    • 15th Feb 17, 5:48 AM
    I don't see why.
    • #4
    • 15th Feb 17, 5:48 AM
    If you're using your own card to buy these thing then I don't see why you should. If the charity wants to benefit from cashback sites then they ought to set up an account of their own with a card which you can use to make these purchases whereby the cash would automatically go to their account.
    • pollypenny
    • By pollypenny 15th Feb 17, 8:45 AM
    • 23,450 Posts
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    • #5
    • 15th Feb 17, 8:45 AM
    • #5
    • 15th Feb 17, 8:45 AM
    If you're using the charity's money to buy, then yes. The cash back belongs to them.
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

    Words, words, they're all we have to go by!.

    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
    • dan2097
    • By dan2097 15th Feb 17, 9:19 AM
    • 80 Posts
    • 84 Thanks
    • #6
    • 15th Feb 17, 9:19 AM
    • #6
    • 15th Feb 17, 9:19 AM
    I don't think they are morally obligated to, especially as the person in question is a volunteer. The charity still got the bits and pieces it expected. As they're volunteering for that charity they probably believe in the charity's work and hence should want to donate anyway.
    • gaving7095
    • By gaving7095 15th Feb 17, 10:01 AM
    • 142 Posts
    • 113 Thanks
    • #7
    • 15th Feb 17, 10:01 AM
    • #7
    • 15th Feb 17, 10:01 AM
    In my opinion, the most important thing is that you're getting the charity the best possible prices on it's orders. If you are, then I'd say keeping the cashback is OK. In my experience cashback rarely amounts to much anyway.

    I think we can assume you're initially paying using your own money / card, then being reimbursed, so any "risk" or "hassle" involved with the ordering, delivery, getting the money back, paying your card on time, etc. is all yours. So if you get a token for taking that on, then fair enough.

    As long as you're not having to deliberately choose a more expensive supplier to qualify for the cash back - which I don't think you are - but that's all I think matters.
    • crmism
    • By crmism 15th Feb 17, 10:07 AM
    • 90 Posts
    • 58 Thanks
    • #8
    • 15th Feb 17, 10:07 AM
    • #8
    • 15th Feb 17, 10:07 AM
    As I see it, you are committing a fraud on the charity. The transactions of buying and claiming reimbursement, and then receiving money in return, are connected, ie if you didn't buy from such outlets, you wouldn't get cashback at all.

    Doing what you have in mind rather defeats the object of supporting your charity, doesn't it?
    • maisie cat
    • By maisie cat 15th Feb 17, 11:07 AM
    • 313 Posts
    • 363 Thanks
    maisie cat
    • #9
    • 15th Feb 17, 11:07 AM
    • #9
    • 15th Feb 17, 11:07 AM
    I'd say technically and morally no you shouldn't keep the cashback you should be claiming for your "out of pocket expenses" and this is net of the cashback. if the timing of the cashback is sometime after you paid for the initial purchase it should be refunded later. Having said that, if the amount is not large it might not be worth the charity's time in admin, ask them.
    • tgroom57
    • By tgroom57 15th Feb 17, 12:03 PM
    • 1,290 Posts
    • 12,636 Thanks
    I wonder how many of the above posters volunteer?

    • gsmlnx
    • By gsmlnx 15th Feb 17, 12:21 PM
    • 776 Posts
    • 623 Thanks
    I used to volunteer for a charity which offered to reimburse me for car parking and petrol to get to the charity's office. I refused to claim it as every penny I took out would mean a cut in the funding for the charity's work. I looked on my travel costs as part of my contributions on top of my time spent with them.
    • JayD
    • By JayD 15th Feb 17, 4:45 PM
    • 489 Posts
    • 303 Thanks
    Don't be a Scrooge!
    You bought for the charity, so let them have ALL the benefits from your purchase!
    • janE1956
    • By janE1956 15th Feb 17, 6:28 PM
    • 597 Posts
    • 8,260 Thanks
    wouldn't be aable to use a loyalty card if buying for charity from a shop as you would gain points for you to spend the same applies to cash back. Donate it it isn't yours
    • happyinflorida
    • By happyinflorida 15th Feb 17, 6:30 PM
    • 677 Posts
    • 568 Thanks
    I am really surprised you are even asking this.

    If you support the charity that much, that you are even volunteering for it, of course you should donate the money to the charity as it is their money that is paying for the goods, I feel that is the honest thing to do and as it is a charity that is involved, you should be honest and give them the money they are owed.
    • scottiemac
    • By scottiemac 15th Feb 17, 7:43 PM
    • 16 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    I would say keep it. You are giving the most important thing and the is your time.
    • davep99
    • By davep99 15th Feb 17, 8:57 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    In these circumstances I ask, "If the money came from the till would what I am doing feel right?".

    In this instance I take £100 from the till to pay for goods costing £100. I spend my time and expertise negotiating a 5% discount. Do I put the fiver in my pocket or in the till?

    An ex-colleague worked really hard, spent lots of time and raised lots of money for the charity were we volunteered. Over time they persuaded themselves that they should be reimbursed for their out of pocket expenses. This developed into dipping the till to reimburse themselves. A slippery slope. They weren't prosecuted but lost their reputation and a large chunk of their social life.

    Just ask the question then do what feels right for you.
    • laurenh1
    • By laurenh1 15th Feb 17, 9:25 PM
    • 360 Posts
    • 3,572 Thanks
    I think you should donate the cash back to the charity but I'm not sure I agree with the harsher replies. I used to volunteer at oxfam at least a few full days a week and I used to walk there (it was quite a few miles) very very occasionally I got the bus and claimed my money back I was out of work snd couldn't afford not to, simple as that. But I know that the couple of quid they lost in covering my costs was better than shutting up shop with no staff
    • kgwc2005
    • By kgwc2005 15th Feb 17, 10:55 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    Yes... if it wasn't for the charity, and buying on their behalf, you wouldn't have the cash back.

    An important point to bear in mind is that if you incur any expenses as a part of your charity work you should reclaim them. Then the charity knows the true 'cost' of their work, and can factor this in to future plans. If you're in a financial position that enables you to 'write off' those expenses - don't. Reclaim them, then donate them back to the charity. The charity can then usually claim Gift Aid on your donation, worth an additional 25% to them.

    Example: spend £100 on expenses, reclaim expenses, donate £100, charity benefits to the tune of £25.
    • Medway_Gal
    • By Medway_Gal 16th Feb 17, 11:17 AM
    • 10 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    "If you're in a financial position that enables you to 'write off' those expenses - don't. Reclaim them, then donate them back to the charity. The charity can then usually claim Gift Aid on your donation, worth an additional 25% to them."

    I'd never have thought of that, they not only get a true record of the cost of projects, but they also get the tax bonus.

    In response to the original question, if the charity pays for the original purchase, they should get the cashback, if your paying and donating the goods, you keep the cashback.
    • adrienne1945
    • By adrienne1945 16th Feb 17, 11:20 AM
    • 323 Posts
    • 307 Thanks
    Imo the Charity is benefitting greatly from you kindly donating your time & effort to them & if you yourself could do with a little extra money then surely there's nothing wrong with you keeping cashback for the extra time & effort you do shopping around for best deals for them imo. I'm sure if you didn't need it you wouldn't even have thought of keeping it.
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