Sundae School

Our Charity On Top Blog


JANUARY 2022


A Look Back at 2021, and A Look Forward at 2022

A Look Back at 2021, and A Look Forward at 2022

As we celebrate moving out of 2021 and welcome 2022 and whatever it will bring, come with us as we highlight some of our sweetest moments and accomplishments, and give you a taste of what the future will bring us!

— Live Redemptions and Fun(d)ay Monday!

We added two notable features to our website and business in 2021, our live redemption page and Fun(d)ay Monday. Both are incredible assets to the experience you get when choosing Charity On Top, as you can see your donation go live and know exactly when your charity is getting paid. In addition, fun(d)ay Monday, which is the payment of charities every Monday, puts us far ahead of any competition, most of whom pay their charities less than monthly!

— Unwrapit!

In time for the 2021 holiday season, we partnered with Unwrapit to make our gift cards better than ever. The Unwrapit experience is available as an add-on when sending bulk digital and physical Charity On Top gift cards that adds engagement and fun. With Unwrapit, recipients receive a personalized interactive digital reveal complete with a to/from card, a choice of where to donate (curated by you, if you like) along with the custom gift card. View an example at bit.ly/unwrapitexperience!

— Third-Party Platforms and Retailers!

We grew so much in 2021, and one huge way was through third-party platforms such as Fetch, Neocurrency, and many super cool rewards and wellness apps! Our sales on such platforms skyrocketed this year. We are now available online at Walmart, Amazon and Costco, three of the largest and most prominent retailers in the United States.

— Sundae School!

After years of wanting one, we finally launched our very own blog in October 2021, which is what you are reading this recap on! We are so excited to continue to give you insight into the world of nonprofits, gift cards, and our little niche of where they overlap! So continue to check back the third Sunday of each month for some new content.

— New Logo!

We launched a brand new Charity On Top logo this past year, which we love. We worked hard to incorporate everything we stand for and keep our signature sweet twist. What we landed on was a cherry, but with its stem twisted into the ribbon imagery often associated with charitable causes. We think it is the perfect combination of who we are and what we do, and we hope you agree!

— A Year of Redemptions!

We redeemed almost 1 million dollars through our charity gift cards throughout the last year, our highest number yet. We had over 2,300 redemptions and over $110,000 raised in just December alone.

We want to thank every single person who helped us throughout the year. Whether you worked with us, gave a gift card, redeemed one, or even just mentioned us to someone else, you are part of how we achieved all these accomplishments in 2021.

Looking Forward:

We had a great year in 2021 and are determined to be even better in 2022. This upcoming year you can expect even more growth from us as we are added to several new third-party gift card distributors. We are also in the middle of a HUGE project - a new platform to make donations and giving much more convenient. Watch for this to launch later this year! Finally, we are working hard to break out and start providing our list of nonprofits from our own database, received directly from the IRS! This will streamline choosing a charity when redeeming a gift card, making a Direct Donation or using our new upcoming platform. We are so excited about everything we will do this year and cannot wait for more opportunities to put Charity On Top with you!

Shared With Sweetness,
The Charity On Top Team


DECEMBER 2021


Avoid Charity Scams

A Simple Guide to Avoiding Charity Scams

When you're searching for a cause to support, you want your donation to make an impact. With over one million charities in the United States, and maybe that many scammers, you must ask questions and stay vigilant to avoid being potentially tricked by a fake charity during your search. To help your journey to donate, we've created some tips below!

Where to start? Google it!

Online research is a great place to begin finding the right charity, but when you think you found the one, be sure to search their name followed by keywords such as "review," "rating," or even "scam." If the charity is legitimate, more than one resource will document it. A simple sign of validity is if the nonprofit's website ends in .org rather than .com. However, keep in mind anyone can purchase a domain and make it look like a charity, so this method isn't always foolproof.

Official documentation? You've got it!

A nonprofit organization must be registered with the federal government to be categorized as a 501(c)(3). IRS.gov provides a handy tool called the Tax Exempt Organization Search to determine if the donations made to an organization are tax-deductible charitable contributions. The site also includes information about a nonprofit's federal tax status and filings. Another critical thing to note about this tool is that you can search using a charity's name or an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Every organization has an EIN, so you shouldn't hesitate to ask for this if you can't find them by name. The only times a nonprofit should not have an EIN is if they're newly formed and have not filed a tax Form 990 yet or are under the fiscal umbrella of a parent nonprofit, like a program of a larger organization.

Still have unanswered questions?

Every charity should have some point of contact, whether a phone number or email address. If they're only starting and don't have an online history, you can ask them directly about their mission, goals, and how they will meet them with your donation. If they claim to be established for some time, you can ask them their history of success. If they struggle to answer your questions, it is likely you are in the process of being scammed and should consider donating to a different organization.

When you have over a million charities to choose from, the charitable nonprofit of your interest should take the time to answer your questions to build a relationship with you thoroughly. Just as you value their mission, they should also value your interest in contributing. If they can't answer your questions, they may not be real or may not be as trustworthy as you think.

So they're real, but how good are they?

If you feel the charity's website may be dishonest or just want to double-check, there are multiple organizations that work to combat scammers and validate charities. Websites that provide ratings and reviews and also their public tax returns (called a 990 form) include:

Things to watch for:

  • Charity scammers often use names very similar to those of real, popular charities. So just searching their name online will save you from this scam!
  • Pay attention to how the organization is asking you to pay. For example, one common scam is to ask for easily accessible gift cards from big retailers such as Target or Walmart. Legitimate charities will never pressure you to donate by gift card or even with cash or by wiring money.
  • Scammers will answer your questions with vague sentiments and try to send you in a loop, avoiding saying how they will use your donation.
  • Are they rushing you into donating? They may have ulterior motives if they aren't thoroughly explaining the cause before asking for money.
  • Are you feeling pressured to donate? If you're being thanked for a donation you never made, they're attempting to trick you into paying. If it's someone you've never spoken to or an organization you've never heard of, it's a scam!

Finally:

To guarantee your donation is being used well by an actual charity, Charity On Top does all the work for you. Our gift cards and Direct Donation allow you to browse from 1.8 million charities, and our secure checkout process is only a few simple steps. We make it convenient to donate to causes you care about, and you can share the experience with your loved ones by gifting them one of our gift cards! Thank you for putting Charity On Top!

Shared With Sweetness,
The Charity On Top Team


NOVEMBER 2021


GivingTuesday

GivingTuesday: What, Why, and How?

Nestled in the aftermath of Thanksgiving and before the start of the winter holiday season is GivingTuesday, a movement dedicated to generosity, well doing, and most importantly giving. Named to match with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the Tuesday immediately following Thanksgiving promotes spending in a way many don't consider during the holiday season, through donations and charitable giving.

WHAT

Starting in 2012, GivingTuesday began much like many other charitable causes, with the idea that kindness and generosity are mighty and can help change lives worldwide. What started as a way to effect change during what has become a season of incredible commercialization in the United States now can be seen in over 70 countries, some of which do not even participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Initially, the idea was just some marketing material and a hashtag that anyone could use, but as it grew, GivingTuesday officially became a nonprofit organization in 2019. All the proceeds raised by GivingTuesday, the organization, are given directly to charities and nonprofits. Still, they also encourage giving and generosity through any means and to any organization one might prefer.

WHY

The winter holiday season seems to kick off on Black Friday, immediately followed by Cyber Monday, both days when a large amount of money is spent all over the country. Small Business Saturday, though lesser-known, was also created within this weekend, creating a perfect storm of sales to encourage customers to purchase. Businesses boom with sales as people rush to buy items necessary and unnecessary, as gifts or for themselves. In 2020 consumers in the United States alone spent approximately 9 billion dollars on Black Friday and an additional 10 billion dollars on Cyber Monday. With so much spending in one week, it doesn't seem absurd to consider spending on something bigger than ourselves. The holidays are also when many look at what they have and appreciate how fortunate they may be. It might sound cheesy, but when fall winds down, and it slowly turns to winter, people all over become sentimental. This idea is solidified in classic holiday movies such as A Christmas Carol, or It's A Wonderful Life. GivingTuesday is strategically placed during a time when many feel connected but do not often take the time to donate and give to those in need. People may think of ways to appreciate their friends and family, but charities and nonprofit organizations that can help all over the globe are largely ignored. The idea of GivingTuesday and the day it was chosen to take place allow people worldwide to examine charitable giving in a new light and encourage them to take part. Some even consider GivingTuesday a way to combat the rampant consumerism that has grown throughout recent years and a great way to keep the true spirit of the season alive.

HOW

Just like Charity On Top, GivingTuesday will not try to influence you to donate your time or money to any charity or cause specifically. The most important thing to them is inspiring and fostering something they call "radical generosity," which they define as the concept that the suffering of others should be as intolerable to us as our own suffering. Anyone and everyone can and should participate in GivingTuesday.

Some examples of what you can do:

  • Advise someone who needs it
  • Compliment a stranger
  • Reach out to a friend or family member you haven't seen recently
  • Lend your voice to a cause you care about
  • Volunteer your time
  • Donate to a nonprofit of your choice

If you are interested in donating money but are wary against being scammed, visit our article on A Simple Guide to Avoiding Charity Scams, which can lead you in the right direction and away from losing money.

HOW CHARITY ON TOP FITS IN

We recognize GivingTuesday as an essential holiday at Charity On Top. A day of giving will always be a cause to celebrate, and the popularity of GivingTuesday provides us with the joy to see how many people will celebrate with us! A great way to participate in GivingTuesday is through Charity On Top, which impacts not only the charity of your choice but our nonprofit organization as well! With over 1.8 million charities to choose from and an easy and straightforward ordering process, Charity On Top gift cards can be your answer to giving! Thank you for putting Charity On Top.

Shared With Sweetness,
The Charity On Top Team


Honoring Veterans Day

Happy World Kindness Day

Started in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement, World Kindness Day was created after Japan brought several kindness organizations together and realized that a global kindness movement would be a great idea! Over 20 countries participate in World Kindness Day every year, including Japan, Italy, and the United Arab Emirates.

World Kindness Day highlights that all deeds of kindness, no matter how small, are valuable and, if we work together, can create a kind and giving world. Kindness is universal no matter where you are from, what language you speak, or who you are, and it has the power to bring all kinds of people together. To celebrate World Kindness Day, commit yourself to do at least one act of kindness for yourself or others today. Today is a day to be kind in any way you can imagine, so go crazy! Even your most minor action helps change the world into a kinder place, so acts of kindness, big or small, are more than welcome. Treat People With Kindness!

We at Charity On Top want to encourage kindness every day and strive to use today to do something extra special. A great way to do something kind today is to order a Charity On Top gift card! Choose from over 1.8 million charities, local, national, and international, and ordering is simple, easy, and a great way to spread some kindness to yourself, someone else, and charity! Thank you for putting Charity (and kindness) On Top!

Shared With Sweetness,
The Charity On Top Team


Honoring Veterans Day

Honoring Veterans Day

Every year on November 11th, we take time to honor and thank our veterans, who bravely served our country to protect and ensure our freedoms. We stand united to support those who have put their lives on the line for the United States of America and show our deep respect for them.

When first celebrated, Veterans Day was called Armistice Day and commemorated World War I. Originated on November 11th due to it being the eleventh day of the eleventh month, Armistice Day became a federal holiday in 1938. In 1954, it was officially changed from Armistice to Veterans Day to include soldiers from World War II, Korean War, and all wars moving forward.

Use today to reflect on what veterans and their service mean and take some time to show your support. If you know any veterans, make sure to reach out and not only thank them for their service, but make sure they know they are supported, respected, and loved no matter what they have been through. Send a care package to a soldier overseas, attend an event commemorating what veterans have done, or raise some money for veterans' homes. This Veterans Day, take action directly helping veterans through mental, physical, and monetary issues by donating time, money, clothing, and food.

If you would like to give the gift of helping our veterans to someone else in your life, or give a veteran something special today, check out Charity On Top, where our gift cards can be redeemed for over 1.8 million charities. Ordering is simple, and you'll love knowing you helped make a difference in someone's life. Thank you for putting Charity On Top!

Shared With Sweetness,
The Charity On Top Team


OCTOBER 2021


5 Years of Putting Charity On Top

Welcome to the Sundae School: Our Charity On Top Blog!

We at Charity On Top are celebrating our 5th anniversary with our newest feature, The Sundae School Blog! We are ecstatic! Welcome to our sweet center for all things giving, kindness, and of course, Charity On Top.

After twenty plus years of working with nonprofit organizations, and even longer separately, our co-founders Marchelle Sellers and Kathy Selders were becoming increasingly frustrated with the limited resources nonprofits had for fundraising. They put on beautiful galas, fun golf tournaments, and wrote compelling grant requests galore. With so much hard work and planning, there is only so much an organization could control. The outcomes felt precarious when compared to the vital missions they were supporting. As Marchelle says, "Seriously, a child's life-saving surgery, a person's next nutritious meal, a dog's rescue from a kill shelter should NOT rely on the outcome of some fancy gala or golf tournament! What if it rains? What if the right people with money don't show up? What if the right people with money show up but don't give – but they do have a good time! Then what?" So they began asking, "What more is out there?" Out of their frustration, they began trying to solve the problem all charities had, a more reliable and effective solution to fundraising. They realized that pairing charitable giving and gift-giving could be powerful and that a charity gift card could be beneficial to all charities. Their solution: Charity On Top gift cards!

For the love of charity, Marchelle and Kathy launched Charity On Top together on October 23, 2016. Our goal is to push all kinds of money to all kinds of nonprofit organizations. Our gift cards support their belief in loving all charities the same, not just the big ones. When redeeming gift cards, supporters have the option to choose from 1.8 million charities, with the list being updated weekly, guaranteeing all charities are 501c3 nonprofit organizations and in good standing. Charity On Top evens the playing field for small, medium, and large charities, giving redeemers choices between local community nonprofits to national causes.

Charity On Top exists because of the struggles Marchelle and Kathy faced through their fundraising efforts on behalf of charitable nonprofit organizations. Now our organization can help streamline new types of money to all nonprofits through the power of gift-giving. We strongly believe that charity should be easy, fun, and top of mind, and over our last five years together we have worked to make sure that becomes reality for all who choose to use Charity On Top!

Here on the Sundae School posts can be expected every third Sunday of the month, educating our readers on all kinds of sweet stuff about the world of charitable giving. Keep your eyes peeled for our unscheduled bonus posts as well that will keep you updated on holidays big and small, company announcements, and other surprises! We welcome all nonprofits, companies, and customers to get to know a little more about us and the amazing gift-giving world we love to be a part of. We cannot hold back our excitement to share this new step with you, and thank you for putting Charity On Top!

Shared With Sweetness,
The Charity On Top Team


National Make a Difference Day, October 23rd

Celebrate Make a Difference Day!

Every year, the fourth Saturday in October, October 23rd in 2021, is when we celebrate National Make A Difference Day! How perfect is it that this year it lands on the 5th anniversary of Charity On Top? Celebrate today through actions big and small, and make a difference for yourself, others, and your environment!

A Quick History of Make a Difference Day
Started almost 30 years ago in 1992, Make A Difference Day promotes a mission to improve life for everyone and everything living it. USA TODAY and Points of Light, a nonprofit, saw an opportunity to create a way to get people involved in community service and doing good, and it soon became the largest national day of community service. Companies big and small have also created annual traditions to help celebrate Make A Difference Day and spread the word about it.

Where Do You Come In?
Making a difference can be as simple or complex as you decide! Making a difference can simply be giving someone a compliment to brighten their day, donating some time or money to a cause you believe in, or organizing a community meeting to discuss changes that will improve life. It can be calling someone you haven't spoken to in a while, spending time to take care of yourself, going out of your way to support those who might need it, or even just spreading the word of Make A Difference Day! There is no set definition for making a difference, and today is a day for all to choose anything they can think of! Take today to embrace the power YOU have as an individual to do good in all capacities, and MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

You can also make a difference today by visiting Charity On Top here to shop our gift cards for over 1.8 million different charities! Ordering is simple, easy, and a great way to make a difference, for yourself, someone else, and charity! With our virtual digital gift cards, your difference can reach the recipient instantly, and with our weekly funding and live redemption page, you can watch as your donation goes up and is sent to the charity of your choice! Thank you for putting Charity On Top!

Shared With Sweetness,
The Charity On Top Team


Three Ways Nonprofits Affect You

Three Ways Nonprofits Affect You

Nonprofit organizations play a major role in almost everyone's lives, but it might be hard to see and understand how without occasionally looking a little deeper. Maybe you were born in a nonprofit hospital, maybe you attended a nonprofit school, or maybe you have enjoyed America's forests and open spaces, which are preserved and kept beautiful through the hard work of nonprofits. When thinking of a nonprofit, many only consider the most obvious parts of charity, but nonprofit organizations are always working, seen and unseen, to make daily life better and more enjoyable for all.

Charitable nonprofits help people with shared beliefs come together in meaningful ways that benefit others. They create and enact plans to bring our biggest dreams for noble causes alive, and are often the voice of the people they serve. To highlight some of the greatest impacts nonprofit organizations have on our lives, sometimes without our conscious knowledge, we created a list below!

Nonprofits Create Equitable and Thriving Communities
Many nonprofits assist in filling gaps in services that are underserved or unprioritized by government and private businesses. With 1.8 million charitable organizations formed in America, there are a large range of causes, including advocacy, arts, culture, education, religion, environment, health, human services, and many more. Their work is vital, as they help to solve societal challenges others may not want to face. Local nonprofits especially impact the communities they serve by providing specific services that are needed, as they work with a deeper understanding of the community. With these nonprofits working diligently to make communities better, we step towards a better system that carries equality for all parties.

Nonprofits Lead People's Participation in Democracy
Nonprofits are placed at the front of our democracy in many ways and they are the voices of the otherwise unheard. Their work increases awareness of issues for the public and the government by keeping a close eye on laws, policies, and regulations they find important. They are often well connected and knowledgeable in order to address government decision-makers, hold them accountable for their choices, and demand change when it is needed. As this voice, nonprofits work closely with political candidates and officials to give them a better understanding of their causes and how they can respond to their needs. Many nonprofits become advocates that speak up for good public policy, and their continued support helps to transform our democracy into a more universal space.

Nonprofits Help our Economy Flourish
Nonprofit organizations give in other ways than just their causes, as they are a large contributor to our economy. Over 1.8 million nonprofit organizations exist in America, making up about 10 percent of employment in the country. In 2016, nonprofits accounted for 5.6 percent of America's gross domestic product (GDP). In 2017, approximately 25.1 percent of adults volunteered, which is a rough estimate of 8.8 billion hours spent helping nonprofit organizations. Getting involved with a nonprofit organization that interests you not only helps their cause but also our economy!

Charity On Top Understands the Vital Role Nonprofits Play
Our organization was founded on the importance of all charitable nonprofits; we love all charities the same, and our mission is to simply put any Charity On Top. Charitable nonprofits are the heart of America, they make our communities, policies, and economy a better place for everyone to thrive. You have the ability to give the gift of giving, and support nonprofits through our website! Our gift cards work to create an even playing field for all charities, providing a list of all 1.8 charities registered as a 501(c)(3), check out our variety HERE! Thank you for putting Charity On Top!

Shared With Sweetness,
The Charity On Top Team

Media

People talk about us. Really, they do. Our ears burn sometimes.


SOCIAL?
yes, very!

Check out our Facebook feed with nearly 60k likes. Have you liked us yet? No pressure. We just want to keep you informed of all the good work we are doing with over a million charities.

Oh! Hey, check this out...

Cool, right? Five star reviews, top-rated, repeat customers, and recognized by GreatNonprofits for the work we do. I mean, the only thing better than all this would be watching a dozen puppies playing kissy-face with a newborn baby, right? RIGHT?!