Did you know that 25% of all personal spending in the U.S. occurs between Thanksgiving and Christmas? Before you get started on your holiday gift list, consider contributing to charity instead of contributing to clutter. Here are some charities that my readers have suggested.
World Wildlife Foundation (http://www.worldwildlife.org), the multinational organization dedicated to the conservation of nature, offers a symbolic adoption of an animal species to help protect some of the world’s most endangered animals from extinction. For a donation of $25, your gift recipient will receive a formal “adoption certificate” of the species you’ve chosen, along with a 5 x 7 color photo and a species fact sheet. Increase the donation to $50, and your recipient will also get an adorable stuffed version of your selected animal. To access the gift catalog on-line, go to this web page: http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/wwf/giftcatalog-winter0910/#/0
Heifer International (http://www.heifer.org) aims “to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and to care for the earth.” Your contribution will pay for a gift animal in an underdeveloped country to help families and communities achieve self-reliance. This link will take you directly to the on-line catalog of animals: http://www.heifer.org/catalog.
World Vision (http://www.worldvision.org) is “dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice”. Go to their gift catalog (http://tinyurl.com/yc3n6vg) to select from their extensive list of giving opportunities. For a $25 donation, your gift can receive a stuffed toy: Gertie the Goat, or Pluma the Plush Chick, along with a card explaining the impact of the donation.
Seva Foundation (http://www.seva.org) works in the U.S. and nine other countries to provide financial resources and technical expertise to help communities build sustainable solutions to poverty and disease. To give a “Gift of Service”, select the Seva program you would like to support (see http://www.seva.org/giftsofservice). Seva will then send you a beautiful card to give to your recipient, stating what the gift will achieve.
Kiva (http://kiva.org) is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, enabling individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world. For a donation of only $25, you can select a specific person somewhere in the world who will use your gift to fund his/her livelihood. Your loan will be repaid over time, and you can use it to finance another entrepreneur, or you can withdraw your funds.
Gifts like these capture the true spirit of the holiday season . . . and, unlike most holiday gifts, they won’t end up in a landfill someday.