Google rolled out a streamlined new way to donate to nonprofits and causes

But there are a few things you should keep in mind before trying it.
Publish date:
Updated on

Americans gave more than $390 billion to charities last year – a staggering number helped no doubt by how easy it's become to donate.

Whether it's new options through Facebook, the ability to give through your phone, or online games such as Free Rice, giving to causes is quite literally a tap or click away.

Google is now jumping into that sandbox.

On Giving Tuesday, the company rolled out a new direct donation tool that comes up right in your search results. Their example uses Direct Relief.

Search the nonprofit's name in Google, and you'll see a "Donate" button pop up in the little information box now. 

Here's what it looks like on mobile:

Click it, and what you get is this little pop-up box:

After you confirm the amount, the next screen is where you put in payment information. And that's it. 

Are there any catches? Fees?

There is no fee if you're in the U.S. 

"Your entire contribution will go to the nonprofits," Google says in its FAQ.

Your donation is delivered to the nonprofit you picked via Network for Good, an organization started by AOL, Cisco and Yahoo! in 2001 to help process, track and distribute online donations.

There is a small caveat: Under tax law, Network for Good has exclusive legal control of the donation once it's been processed. But Google says they'll distribute the funds "according to Google's recommendations."

Also worth noting, there don't seem to be a lot of nonprofits that work with Google's new feature at this point. 

Right now the button will only pop up for U.S. organizations that have opted to be part of the Google for Nonprofits program – though the list is "growing," Google says.

We tried Red Cross, United Way, the Humane Society, Feeding America, Salvation Army and St. Jude. None of them got the new "Donate" feature from a Google search.

Most of these organizations will have their own donating process available on their website, and giving directly means you know for sure your money is going there. 

But a giving option that removes some of the steps isn't a bad thing. Especially since we're living in a world that values being as few screen taps or clicks away from something as possible.

Next Up