Be the change you wish to see in the world...

- Gandhi

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Charity gift ideas from VeegMama

I love the "gifting" part of the holiday season.  For me, it truly feels better to give than receive.  I have so much fun thinking about gifts that will delight my family and friends, planning them out in my holiday gift planner and then purchasing and wrapping them with love and thought.  One of my favorite gifts to give are those that keep on giving.  At the top of that list are charities: giving back and giving all in one.  In today's world of consumption overload, I believe charitable sponsorships and donations are a great way to capture and share the true meaning of the holidays with loved ones.  Below are several of my favorite charities to gift.  Whether you are looking to help kids, animals, the environment, or just make the world a better place, I've got you covered.

For kids:
Save the Children - For as little as $10 a month, you can sponsor a child anywhere in the world, including the U.S.  Their programming, disaster aid, and educational support literally saves children's lives every day.

Make a Wish Foundation - Is there anything better than making a child's dream come true?  This organization does just that for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

For animals:
Farm Sanctuary - Save the animals!  Farm Sanctuary is the nation's largest and most effective farm animal and rescue protection organization.  This amazing organization rescues thousands of animals and cares for them at their sanctuaries in Watkins Glen, New York; Northern California (Orland); and the Los Angeles area (Acton).  A contribution of $20 or more gives you a Farm Sanctuary Membership for one year, their quarterly newsletter, discounted Bed & Breakfast rates, and year-round visits to their shelters.

PETA - PETA is the largest animal rights advocacy organization in the world.  Memberships include many benefits, including a subscription to their magazine full of news and recipes.

For the environment:
Heal The Bay - This organization works to keep California's coastal waters and watersheds healthy, safe and clean.  They offer membership donations, as well as Aquadoptions (sea animal adoptions) starting at $25.  

Surfrider Foundation - This non-profit has been protecting oceans, waves, and beaches since 1984.  They are the group that came to our aid when my Girl Scout troop was looking to ban plastic bags in their city's local businesses.  Gift memberships start at $25 and include a subscription to their bi-monthly online publication, a t-shirt, and more.

To Make The World A Better Place:
Kiva - Through a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva allows lenders to donate as little as $25 in microloans to let individuals create opportunity in their world - buy farming and seed supplies to help a Honduran man tend his crops; buy fabric for a Bolivian woman to make clothes; or buy a sewing machine for an Iraqi woman.  Lenders receive progress updates via email throughout the life of the loan.  When the money gets paid back, it becomes available as Kiva Credit, where the lender can use it to fund another loan, donate it to Kiva or withdraw it to spend on something else.

Charity Water - Give someone access to a reliable source of clean water by contributing to the construction of a new well in Africa, Southeast Asia, Central America or the Caribbean.  This non-profit's mission is to bring clean and safe drinking water to everyone on the planet.  Recipients receive updates and photos about the well they are contributing towards with their donation.

For more resources on where to give, check out Charity Navigator, the U.S.'s largest and most used evaluator of charities.  Do you have a favorite charity that you like to gift?  Please tell me in the comments section below.