2007 Gift Giving Guide: Charitable giving

Holidays 2007What do you give the person who has everything? You don’t. Instead, you can give to people who don’t have everything in the name of the person who does.

There are endless lists of organizations you can give to financially and with your time and talents in someone else’s honor. Compiled here are a handful of organizations to inspire you in your search for charitable groups that suit your recipients:

Additionally, check out the Better Business Bureau’s Tips on Charitable Giving page for helpful suggestions. Websites like Charity Navigator and Charity Watch also can provide valuable background research for your giving.

20 Comments for “2007 Gift Giving Guide: Charitable giving”

  1. posted by Perri Kersh on

    I love the idea of giving charitable donations in honor of loved ones for the holidays. So I launched a party called a Giving Party (read about it on my blog http://givingparty.wordpress.com). We have over 75 people coming to “shop” at our party where representatives from four charitable organizations will be on hand to accept donations. A local printer is printing gift cards for us for free and Whole Foods and a local wine shop are donating food and wine. I think it’s going to be a festive, fun event, and I’m hoping others will feel inspired to throw similar parties in the future. Eat, drink, be merry and write checks to help others…now that’s a party!

  2. posted by Lori on

    What a brilliant idea, Perri!

    For our wedding this past summer, when asked, we requested that our guests consider making a donation to the Make-a-Wish Foundation or the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in lieu of giving a physical gift to us. Emily Post probably took a turn or two in her grave, but we were pleased with the number of people who decided to do so. We have all we need and then some, and it felt great that the joy of our celebration would multiply out into the world.

  3. posted by Jacki Hollywood Brown on

    I just heard on the radio today that World Vision Canada did a survey that said that 8.5/10 Canadians do not want more STUFF for Christmas!
    Wouldn’t it be nice to buy someone a GOAT for Christmas???
    Check out the World Vision catalog at: http://www.worldvision.org

  4. posted by Taylor on

    Broadway Cares / Equity Fights Aids is the Broadway Charity which benefits those with HIV and AIDS.

    “nation’s leading industry-based, not-for-profit AIDS fundraising and grant making organization. BC/EFA is the on-going, committed response from the American Theatre community to an urgent worldwide health crisis. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of this community, BC/EFA raises funds for AIDS-related causes across the United States. Since its founding in 1988, BC/EFA has raised over $140 million for critically needed services for people with AIDS, HIV or HIV-related illnesses.”

  5. posted by Lana on

    Another idea is Give One, Get One.

    The give one aspect is an extremely worth cause and the get one aspect is the unclutterer’s dream… a wireless computer.

  6. posted by Kris on

    Modest Needs is another great organization to consider.

  7. posted by Kim on

    For kids, we’ll be giving symbolic adoptions of endangered animals through the World Wildlife Fund. For $50, the recipient gets an adoption certificate and a stuffed animal of their adoptee. Info here: https://secure.worldwildlife.org/ogc/.

  8. posted by Tim on

    What better charity for a blog about organization to support than The Salvation Army? They’re probably the world’s #1 recyclers of used clothing, furniture and other goods.

  9. posted by Nat on

    I’m all for giving to charities in lieu of gifts. My brother asked for donations to MercyCorps (a very, very efficient non-profit working around the world) for his wedding. It was a great option for guests who came but didn’t know the couple all that well.
    My only caveat is that if you decide to bring up the option to your whole family or group (hmm? food drive at the office?) of giving donations for the holidays, please suggest it as soon as possible. Yes, I am an early shopper, and was a little annoyed when this suggestion came out the first year we did it in December after I had already started. Now that I know it’s always going to happen, I just shop for charities all year.
    Also, I would suggest considering the other person’s favorite causes if you know of them. It’s still a gift, and gifts with thought are one of the ways we show our recipients that we feel close to them.

  10. posted by Harry Hoover on

    I started a program in 2002 called Holiday For Charity that puts a reverse spin on this idea. In effect, you lead by example. Sounds crazy, but some people may get angry with you for donating to charity instead of giving them a gift.

    So, tell everyone to donate to charity in your name in lieu of giving you a gift. You can find details on this idea and some more charitable giving ideas here: http://www.my-creativeteam.com.....#038;id=23

  11. posted by Nancy on

    Last year a good friend bought an animal for a family in a 3rd world country (I’m embarrassed that I don’t remember the exact details at this moment) in the name of a few of his friends, including mine. I have to say this is one of the best Christmas presents I’ve ever received. It didn’t clutter up my home one iota, but more importantly it was a gift to people whose needs are much greater than my own. The meaning behind the gift touched me more than any material item I could have received.

    However, having said that, I must say that if the donation announcement was accompanied by a small box of gourmet chocolates, that would be doubly meaningful and wouldn’t clutter my home for long either.

  12. posted by Ruth on

    Nancy, that was probably from Heifer International, which is what my Aunt Nancy always wants at the holidays. I started doing charitable donations for family last year, and I do try to pair it with a small something to unwrap that’s either edible or something I know the recipient will use, such as a cookie cutter for my cousin who loves to make an decorate cookies.

  13. posted by Cynthia Friedlob, The Thoughtful Consumer on

    I’d like to suggest gifts of membership to a couple of my favorite organizations that often get forgotten: your local PBS television station and your local NPR radio station. If all the people who watch and listen would become members, we’d get to enjoy more programming and endure fewer pledge breaks!

  14. posted by endpoverty on

    A great gift idea for the holidays!

    Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal has teamed up with Trickle Up, a poverty alleviation organization that gives people living on less than $1 a day seed capital to launch their own microenterprises, while providing business training and savings support to build assets.

    This year give the gift that keeps giving by donating $100 to Trickle Up and Trickle Up will send a specially designed silver necklace (created by Maggie’s favorite jewelry designer TENTHOUSANDTHINGS) to a family member or friend. The $100 donation goes directly towards helping small entrepreneurs (many of them women) in Africa, Latin America and Asia take the first steps out of poverty and start their own small business.

    Check out there website at http://www.trickleup.org/
    You can order the necklace online and also read about the incredible work they are doing around the world!

  15. posted by Andamom on

    Actually, I wrote up a rather lengthy posting on charitable giving: http://andamom.com/?p=228

  16. posted by Rob on

    Oxfam International is another great “give an animal” choice. http://www.oxfam.org/en/donate/unwrapped

    I think that’s where I’m headed this year.

  17. posted by Whatthe... on

    I recently had my third kid and feel a little big. I have to say that an email telling me that “a pig was donated in your honor” didn’t exactly make my holiday. Especially since I’m a vegetarian. And, because the family who gave it to me is aware of many causes near and dear to my heart and didn’t give to those instead. And, it cost them $27 and a matter of minutes to purchase this pig in honor of my family of five. The family who gave it to me probably gets the tax deduction just in time for the end of the year too. I think the proper way to give a charitable a gift is to put some effort into getting to know your recipient so you can donate to one of THEIR causes and then donating an amount equivalent to your usual exchange and taking the time to write a nice handwritten note. Otherwise, it is hollow charity that you only THINK was thoughtful.

  18. posted by Aaron on

    Another really great alternative giving catalog is the Seva Foundation’s Gifts of Service catalog.

    I’ve been giving alternative gifts for many years and this is by far my favorite!!!

    Check it out online at:


  19. posted by Mariana Evica on

    By way of disclosure, let me say that I am an advocate for the following campaign — I don’t want this post to come off like I’m a “sock-puppet” – because I truly believe very deeply in the cause — which is, in fact, a cause to benefit ALL philanthropic campaigns.

    Just a little context:

    Consider that the amount of money spent on candy alone during the holiday season is greater than the annual budgets of the American Cancer Society, The American Heart Association and Habitat for Humanity combined.

    It’s not about reinventing the holiday. It’s about changing the way we look at gift giving and receiving. It’s taking money we usually spend on obligatory gifts with little meaning, and creating gifts of charity that give in multiple ways, to the receiver, the giver, and people who truly need.

    There is no question we are in the midst of difficult financial times. And if it has you feeling unsure or uncomfortable this holiday season, imagine how purely difficult it’s becoming for people who already, or are about to, depend on the generosity of others for the things that only a donation can provide.

    Please visit the website http://www.redefine-christmas.org and find us on facebook where we’re spreading the word! http://www.facebook.com/RedefineChristmas

    Lastly, I have to agree with the poster who described her understandable dismay at the charitable gift given in her name — I would have felt similarly. This whole thing works beautifully if you’re arranging for a gift to a cause that your loved one cares about. It’s a simple matter to observe or ask another family member what charity is the top of the list!

    ~ M

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