Alright, alright, I realize my Christmas post is way too late to help you with your gifting quandaries, and I know lots of folks are moving away from formal gifting during the holidays, but I did want to share some of my favorite charitable gift ideas from the past couple years. Whose to say they can’t be used for birthdays or weddings too?
Since we started the Clean Bin Project, we have been blessed to receive a number of charitable donations as gifts. They fit right in with our mandate as they added nothing to our trash cans, but lots to our happiness.
- Sponsor an animal. Friends of ours sponsored a cat at the local SPCA instead of buying many small gifts for friends. We have a (beautiful and talented but way too loud) cat of our own, so we don’t want another one, but the thought of helping out an animal in need is right up our alley. It costs a lot to feed and care for shelter animals, so sponsoring a cat was just the ticket.
- Support families in another country. My aunt and uncle provided seeds for 10 families in Africa to grow their own food. Having your own food garden is near and dear to my heart, so this was a great gift. They supplemented it with a couple of seed packets for me to grow in my own garden. My other aunt and uncle got us a goat. Well, not us, but they bought a goat for someone on our behalf. It will provide milk and food for an entire family and is more of a “hand up” than a “hand out.” Alternatively, you could try an organization like Kiva that gives small loans to entrepreneurs.
- Support a local initiative or program. In the past the company I work for has donated to Union Gospel Mission instead of mailing out corporate cards. There are any number of great community charities to support. Check out a site like Charity Navigator to find one that makes you happy.
- Let the recipient decide. My brother found a great website called Canada Helps where you can choose your own charity. We just had to log on with our gift certificate number, pick a charity of our choice, and the gift certificate is applied to that charity. It’s a great way to let the gift receiver take part, and choose an option that means something to them.
A charitable gift donation is always appropriate. It’s waste-free, and it’s good karma. If you know any other great charities for gift giving, feel free to add them below.