Thanksgiving and the Xmas season is upon us. This is a time where often we hand out presents. How about if this year, you hand out a "present with a difference"?
Here are some ideas:
The Wall Against Hunger let's you put up a picture of those you love for a donation used to feed a child.
Kiva is no stranger for those who read this blog regularly. They sponsor micro financing projects in developing countries. You can buy a gift certificate online, as a present. Or join our Kiva team and give a donation online!
How about giving a goat to make a difference? Or a water buffalo? Or a lama for those who need it? Heifer let's you do just that.
Social Markets lets you comment and invest in social projects.
Plan International is an international organisation supporting 1.5 million children and their families. Previously called "Forster's Parents Plan", they allow you to sponsor a child through a monthly donation.
Through Plan Canada you can contribute to many different things for the benefit of children in developing countries. From bees in Egypt to goats in Mozambique, school supplies in Sierra Leone to moskito nets in Uganda.
Orphan Lyrics creates and sells licensed, designer apparel featuring song lyrics and donates 100 percent of the profits to children’s charities.
Via the HeroRAT website, you can adopt a rat. Choose between Allan, Chosen One, Kim and Ziko. Not just any rats, as they are all trained for mine detection.
Tip from Betty: Through Haiti Community Support, an NGO based in the US Virgin islands, you can sponsor a child to attend the Renaissance Elementary School in Au Centre (Haiti) for US$1 a day.
How about giving an acre of tropical forest to your kids for Christmas? The burning and clearing of forests pours at least 20 percent of climate-changing greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. Through conservation.org you can 'adopt an acre' of tropical forest.
Or send a Save Darfur Coalition holiday card to your loved ones, and contribute $25?
Oxfam Unwrapped lets you donate a wide range of xmas gifts for a good cause. From a donkey to books for schoolchildren in Malawi.
Via Julia, we discovered Education Generation. As education is a fundamental right, a powerful force to break the cycle of poverty, and key to building a future of hope and understanding, they allow you to sponsor a child to go school.
Sarah forwarded me the link to Stop Poverty Now, where for $10, you can buy one pixel on a picture, dedicate it to your loved ones, and support the Grameen Foundation, one of the first organisations, proving the effectiveness of micro-financing. Their site also features a section where you can give a meaningful gift for Christmas.
Since in 2000, Room To Read has established over 5,600 libraries in the developing world. During the holiday season, sponsors double your donation.
The Amber Chand Collection features "Global Gifts for Peace and Understanding" supporting women in regions of conflict. They feature baskets made in Darfur and Nepal, bracelets from Afghanistan and Guatemala, bags from Vietnam,...
Over 2,000,000 moskito nets have been donated via NothingButNets. Moskito nets are the most effective preventive means against malaria. For the cost of only $10 (including transport), you can buy one net. (thanks Mark!)
Ashoka envisions a world where everyone is a Changemaker: a world that responds quickly and effectively to social challenges, and where each individual has the freedom, confidence and societal support to address any social problem and drive change. Through you membership, you will "Be the Change" by joining a network of like-minded individuals, leading social entrepreneurs, and partner organizations that are leading change in the world. How about that for a New Year's resolution, hey?
Epic Change features all kinds of holiday gifts featuring artwork by children at the school in Tanzania they support and photos by award-winning photographer Tim Llewellyn.
Christmas Future allows you to choose from many projects to assist, under the form of a christmas gift. (Thanks Johnny - via our discussion forum)
How about starting your own fundraising page, this Christmas, and ask your friends to donate on it? Change.org gives you the social media platform to start raising funds for one of the causes they support. Here is one example. (tip received from Johnny on our discussion forum)
JustGive offers "The GiveNow Card," and Network for Good sells "Good Cards" fueling donations to more than 1 million charities.
One of the oldest sources for "charity Xmas cards" is Charity Gift Certificates, operated by The Special Kids Fund, a US nonprofit that started selling them in 2004. Daniel B. Goodman, president of the fund, hopes to triple last year's $400,000 sales this season.
About 10,000 'Tis Best charity gift cards were sold in 2007, the first year the charity site existed, raising about $380,000 through their website, which enables donations to about 250 nonprofits.
The Case Foundation has listed numerous ideas for a sensible Xmas giving, including their staff favourites. Have a look!
Do you have more ideas? Leave a comment and put the link in. I will update it in this post.
Pictures courtesy Sabrina Quezada (WFP) and the different websites mentioned.