Small donations add up big


Daniel Salomon

Students should consider giving spare change to charity, as every little bit helps make a difference, says staff columnist Mackenzie Airey.

Mackenzie Airey, Graphics Editor

Small donations can make a big impact when it comes to raising money for charities and disaster victims. Your dollar or handful of change may not seem like a lot, but when you add it to everyone else’s, it can make a difference in the world.

If each person in a crowd of 100 donated $1 each, it would add up to $100. If each person in the crowd donated $5, it would add up to $500, and so on.

Spare dollars here and there add up to thousands or even millions for a worthy cause. Even if you think you can’t really help or don’t have a lot to donate, you can still make an impact.

At some stores, you can round your total up to the nearest dollar to donate the extra cents to a cause. This is just spare change and is often not even that noticeable to you.

But if customers are doing this all throughout the day and it is happening at multiple cash registers at once, it can add up to a lot at the end. It is almost like when you take jars of loose coins to Coinstar; it doesn’t seem like a lot because it’s just change, but you can get a sizable amount of cash back.

At Firehouse Subs, for example, every cashier asks customers if they would like to round their order up to the next dollar as part of their Round Up and Fill Your Cup program. The fast-food restaurant has been able to donate more than $48 million to first responders as a result.

Some stores, including several local grocery stores, T.J.Maxx and Marshalls, sometimes have the option to donate to a charity or to medical research at the end of your transaction. They often give the choice of adding a donation of $1, $5 or $10 to the price of your purchase.

Donating $1 makes a difference when you can spare the extra dollar here or there.It helps to raise more money for worthy causes.

Some companies, like the American Red Cross and Best Friends Animal Society, will match your donation dollar-for-dollar if you contribute at certain times of the year. This way, your donation is doubled and it makes an even greater impact.

If it doesn’t seem like your small donation is a big deal, consider how presidential candidate Bernie Sanders raises money for his campaign. He is the candidate who had the most small donors last year—77% of his donations were less than $200. His average donation size was $27.

Altogether, Sanders was able to raise $34.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to his campaign. He did this all without accepting big corporations’ money.

You don’t need to be a millionaire or a billionaire to make a difference.

As a college student you don’t always have the extra dollars here or there, but when you can donate, it really does make a difference, no matter how small.