The UK can be a generous place. Recent statistics on charitable giving revealed that in 2016 contributions rose overall by 2.8 percent. This is a trend that has been going on for a while now, with figures recording an increase of 20 percent over the past five years. While the large bulk of this remains through offline means, there are now some clever ways to use your tech and online habits to raise money for charity without ever clicking on a 'Donate' button. So if you want to do good while you do other things, we'll show you how.
Use shopping gateway sites to give to your favourite charity
One of the easiest ways of giving is to use gateway or referral sites as you shop. These portals collect from retailers a small proportion of what you spend on their sites, with no extra cost to you. The way they work is that you visit them before you start shopping, then from their homepage navigate to Amazon, eBay, Tesco, John Lewis, or one of the other 4,000 participating sites and shop as you normally would.
The portal tracks your spending (but none of your financial details) during the session and when you check out the retailer will make the donation. How much they give can vary, with Amazon for example promising at least 5 percent when you use its Macmillan Cancer Research referral, but every little helps.
Related: How to stay safe shopping online
Fight cancer with your Android phone
As well as giving money to charities and good causes there's also other resources that are valuable to these organisations. One of these is processing power. The World Community Grid is an international program set up by IBM which harnesses the spare power of PCs and Android phones to aid scientists working on cures for childhood cancers, Zika, Ebola, TB, AIDS, and a range of other vital research.
The way it works is simple. You sign up to the program, download the app, then when your device is idle or charging overnight the app will employ the unused processing power to perform calculations. In this way it can radically speed up the time it takes to solve these particular problems. Seeing as money donated to charities will often go towards eradicating the causes of the suffering involved, this direct way to contribute to the solution is one of the easiest ways to help.
Sadly due to operating system restrictions iPhones and iPads are not yet able to take part in this initiative.
Switch your browser and give to charity
Another simple way to make a difference is by switching your browser. There are a range of alternatives to the mainstream offerings such as Chrome, Firefox, and IE, that donate to charity every time you search, which again will cost you nothing.
Everyclick is a good example. With this browser you set up an free account, select the charity you want to support, then start browsing as normal. Everyclick does require that you turn off any adblockers you may be using, as the charity money raised comes from the advertisments on the web. Goodsearch is another option, as is the ecologically themed Ecosia which uses the revenue you create from searches to plant trees.
If you don't want to switch broswers you can still help via the Tab for a Cause add-ons for Chrome and Firefox. This uses the same principle as above, donating money each time you open a new tab.
See also: Best web browser 2017
Give to charity by tracking your walking, running, and cycling
We've all seen the hundreds of people who take part in marathons to raise money for charity, but you don't have to run that far to help out. Charity Miles is a clever little app that tracks your walking, running, or cycling and then donates money according to how far you go.
After installing the app (iOS & Android) and creating a free account you get to decide which charity will recieve the money by selecting it from a list when you start your session. At the moment there does seem to be a heavy focus on American charities, but hey, need is need.
Related: Best fitness tracker 2017 UK
Donate your old smartphone to charity
When your shiny smartphone has lost its luster, and you yearn for the newer, prettier thing, now you can justify this avarice by selling or donating your older model to charity. Fonebank will make you an offer for the device and you can decide whether to donate 100, 75, 50 or 25 percent to one of the charities it's partnered with. Currently this include Oxfam, WaterAid, Plan UK, The National Trust, Amnesty International, and several UK schools.
In fact, along the same lines, you can choose to donate a percentage of your ebay sales to charity. When you list an item for sale, you'll see an option to give between 10 to 100 percent of the final total to a specific charity. For ebay motors, the minimum is five percent.
So there are some easy ways to turn your browsing, walking, charging, shopping, and upgrading into cash for good causes. Isn't technology marvellous?