It seems as if Thanksgiving is barely over before the Christmas decorations are up and the mad rush begins to buy everything under the sun for Christmas. With the focus on commerce, it’s easy to forget what this season is really about. Alternative giving can help us remain focused on the spirit of giving.
Alternative Gifts are funds you contribute to an organization on your own behalf (or in someone’s name) that goes to a charitable cause. Your uncle may not need another tie for the holidays, but you can donate what you would have spent on that tie to one of the many organizations that are working to reduce poverty, provide shelter to the homeless, provide disaster relief to victims of hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis. The list goes on.
A donation to Heifer International allows you to select from a range of animals that enable families to become economically self-sufficient. Through Global Giving you can select projects by geographical region, topic or grassroots organization. A description indicates exactly what your dollars contribute to. Other alternative giving Web sites where you can obtain additional information include:
One World Gift Guide
Alternative Gifts International
Catalog for Philanthropy
A New American Dream
You can help by:
- Making a donation to one of these organizations
- Spreading the word or promoting a project through your social media sites
- Volunteering at a charitable organization
- Donating some of the proceeds of your e-commerce sales to alternative giving projects
In addition to volunteering at and donating to shelters, I’m going to donate to several grassroots organizations that work in developing countries. Instead of sending friends and relatives gifts, I’ll send them a card to let them know which causes I’ve donated in their name. Are you engaged in alternative giving? If so, please leave a comment on how you’ve chosen to get involved. If you like this entry, please pass it on to someone else.