Gifts, gifts, gifts! It’s the holiday season and right now, we’re up to our ears in gift guides – guides for her, for him, for kids, for adults, for everyone. Are you looking to give something a little different – something that gets away from the Culture Of Stuff, and in to the culture of Helping? In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, why not do something that will speak to your recipient’s soul? Use your gift-giving funds towards one of the incredibly worthy causes below in honour of your loved one. Then give them the unforgettable gift of an hour of your time over a cup of coffee too. Warm caffeine and changing the world: Can’t beat that mix. Check out the ecochick picks for your giving dollars below.
KIVA gift card. Kiva is a non-profit organization that provides “microloans” to people around the world who are looking for funds to achieve a certain goal: buy goods for their business, complete their schooling, or more. They may need as little as $50 or as much as thousands, but your loan is just a small portion of that – as low as $25 or as high as you like. As folks all over the world make their loans, the cumulative total gives the recipient the funds they need. Then as they have business success they repay you and the rest of their lenders their funds over time. It’s addictive, it’s directly useful, and it feels great. Put $50 on a gift card and give it to your friend - odds are they’ll carry on once that $50 (minus admin fees) is paid back.
Give A Gift To The World Wildlife Fund. We all love cuddly animals, and the World Wildlife Fund ensure that the cuddly – and even not so cuddly – have healthy habitats for now and the future. There’s lots of superfun ways to help them help the world. You can make a straight up donation or, if you want to have a little fun with it too, you could also Adopt a Species and get a little furry facsimile of the species you’re helping (like this cuddly hedgehog) to give in person. There’s even gifts that go to specific causes – for $75, for example, you’re helping a Walrus keep his toothy smile. Lookit that guy. Who could resist?
Doctors Without Borders, or if you like, you can call them Médecins Sans Frontières, because it’s so ooh-la-la to say it in French! And these folks do real work in real dangerous, deprived zones providing medical and other assistance to those in dire need, including the areas hit hard by Typhoon Haiyan last month. If you donate to MSF or another organization that is providing Haiyan relief by December 23, your donation will be matched by the Federal Government giving you double the bang for your giving buck.
Unicef’s No Child Too Far Campaign. There’s a simple and effective way to save lives in developing counries: Vaccines. In the West, widespread vaccination programs have led to near eradication of many preventable childhood diseases. In many other areas of the world, though, children die every day for want of a simple vaccine. UNICEF is working to reach children in the most remote areas to provide them with basic vaccinations and give them a fighting chance. By donating to UNICEF, you’ll help them reach children in Mongolia, Ethiopia and many other countries.
Your Local Food Bank or Shelter. We all have causes close to our hearts, and some of our local organizations don’t get the kind of press that larger organizations do. So seek out your local food bank (who will love a cash donation that will allow them to purchase exactly the goods they need), shelter (who can use cash to help support the programs they run to help their clients) or even humane society (who always need funds to feed and treat their furry tenants as they work to find them forever homes).
What’s your favourite charity for helping this time of year? Leave your suggestion in the comments. And Happy #GivingTuesday!