Gifts That Give Back

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Studies show that generosity has a number of positive impacts on our mental and physical health. This is especially true when we give back to causes that are close to our hearts.

This holiday season, give something meaningful that gives back. From super soft socks to calming candles, these Gifts that Give Back support charities that are close to the hearts of your loved ones.

1. Give a Gift Card

Gift cards are perennially popular presents during the holidays and for good reason. They’re convenient to purchase, don’t require any thinking on the part of the giver and provide maximum flexibility for the recipient. They also make a great base for charitable donations because many nonprofit organizations often need a variety of supplies to operate and run programs.

Rather than letting that unused balance of a gift card go to waste, use it to do some good in the community! Here are a few creative ways to do that.

A charity that works to reduce consumption of wildlife products around the world, this is a great pick for the animal lover in your life! A donation to WildAid will help support their work in areas like low cost spay and neuter services, vegan advocacy and anti-hunting and anti-fur initiatives. You can even make a custom e-card to celebrate your gift!

Working in over 70 countries around the world, Doctors Without Borders works to provide impartial medical aid wherever it’s needed. A donation to this organization will help fund the training of help line specialists and parent coaches, as well as a massive library of written resources on addiction and recovery for family members of people who struggle with substance abuse.

2. Give a Gift Certificate

A gift certificate allows your friend or loved one to purchase the specific item that he or she wants. It can be a much more efficient present than, say, a tie or birdfeeder that will never get used. A gift card also seems more personal and tasteful than a cash gift, which can often be perceived as crass or socially unacceptable. From a business standpoint, it is also an ideal way to launch a charitable donation outreach program with employees because you can set the rules, and it will be up to each individual employee to select which charities they want to receive the gift cards.

Nonprofit organizations often offer charity gift cards that look just like traditional gift cards. The giver can choose the amount they want to donate, and the recipient gets to allocate it between the charities on a list of worthy causes.

The advantage of this approach is that you can be sure the money will go to a cause that your loved ones support and care about. You can even choose a design for the card, and some companies allow you to add your own photo or artwork to make it more personal. The gift card can be a fun and thoughtful way to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries or the holidays, and it gives your friends and family an opportunity to protect endangered species or support their local artists.

3. Give a Sponsorship

Give your friends and family a gift that benefits their neighbors by giving them the opportunity to sponsor children through an organization like Save the Children, which provides kids around the world with emergency response, educational and health resources. This is a great gift for anyone who cares deeply about helping others.

Many nonprofits offer upfront premiums to encourage donations or increase the amount of a donation, such as a branded field bag offered by the National Wildlife Federation or an exclusive experience offered by an art museum or zoo that donors can enjoy. Because of the cost associated with these types of front-end gifts, organizations might consider offering them exclusively to new and lapsed donors or through segmented email appeals.

For the bookworm in your life, make a donation in their name to Room to Read, an organization that promotes literacy through school partnerships worldwide. You can even choose to send them a notification email so they know you’re thinking about them!

4. Give a Donation

If your giftee prefers the feel-good of giving back to a worthy cause instead of receiving another mug or tote bag, many charities offer a straightforward cash donation option. These donations are often considered to be the fastest and most convenient method of charitable giving, as donors can often complete them online in just seconds. Additionally, regular monthly donations can help charities count on consistent income throughout the year and maximize their impact.

Donors can also often receive one-of-a-kind experiences as premiums for their donations, such as special tours and lectures from artists, or feeding and interacting with animals at zoos and aquariums. These experiences are usually reserved for high-end donors or those who donate large amounts to an organization.

For a science-loving friend, consider a donation to The Salk Institute. This charity funds research for diseases like cancer, as well as women and girls in STEM fields. Pair your donation with a funny I Periodically Need Caffeine or Research, What Happens Between Coffees mug.

If your giftee is an animal lover, Friends of Animals advocates for the welfare of cats and dogs by providing low cost spay and neuter programs, supporting anti-fur and anti-hunting efforts, as well as promoting veganism. This donation is also a great gift for a mental health advocate, as it goes toward training their local help line specialists and parent coaching services as well as creating additional resources about substance use.

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