Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Charitable Gift Receiving Challenge & Guide

As the gift giving holidays come at us like a freight train, I imagine many non-profiteers like myself will be extolling the joys of charitable gift giving. But let's be honest with ourselves for a second - gifts like funding mosquito nets for an impoverished village in someone's name will probably lead to quickly concealed disappointment from the receiver. Realistically, unless your family and friends are those always do-gooders that the rest of us hate for making us look bad, people just want stuff. I'm not saying we shouldn't try to change that about our culture, just that I understand why so many people are hesitant to give charitable gifts instead of one of Oprah's favorite things.
Gee, thanks?
So, instead of crafting an alternative giving guide, I am challenging each and every one of you: swap out one item from your holiday wishlist for a charitable gift. By removing the fear of disappointing the receiver, I'm sure we can all double, triple, bazilpe the amount of charitable giving this season!!

I'm sure many of you can immediately think of a favorite nonprofit or two that you'd like to benefit, but how can I resist writing a gift receiving guide?? So here are a few alternative giving catalogues I'd like to recommend:
  1. The USO Wishbook - I'd be remiss if I didn't highlight my own organization!!! There are hundreds of men and women out there fighting for what they believe is right, thousands of miles away from their families for months at a time. Don't forget our troops are often the first to bring aid to areas hit by natural disasters - my navy doctor friend spent more than a month deployed in Haiti after the earthquake hit treating injuries. So why not ask to help fund a phone call back home ($25) or kickball equipment ($75) for our service members?
  2. The National Wildlife Federation Adoption Center - No secret that I love animals! There are so many cuddlies to symbolically adopt: seals, eagles, panthers, alligators, meercats, and otters! Everything has a base price of $20, but some have add-ons like a plush toy, a calendar, even binoculars! 

  3. UNICEF Inspired Gifts - UNICEF provides care for children all over the world and you can help buy buying measles vaccines for 100 kids ($24) or a child survival food pack ($82). These are actual gifts that will go to one of the 150 UNICEF serves.
  4. CARE Package - CARE fights global poverty, with a focus on empowering women. Wow, you can send a girl to school for a year for just $49? You can also join in other people's CARE Packages, which is neat.

  5. Oxfam America Unwrapped - An international relief and development organization that helps communities fight poverty, I think they're the only charity that let's you give crap... well, manure ($12). Hee hee hee! There's a multitude of options, from art supplies for kids ($15) to a pair of sheep ($90).
Join the challenge and help me spread the word!!! What were you planning on asking for this year and what charitable gift will you ask for instead? Let me know in the comments, or, even better, on your on blog!