November 29th, 2010

Holiday Gifts That Keep on Giving

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Black Friday, Cyber Monday-the holiday shopping season has officially begun.  Many of us search high and low for the perfect gift.  Studies have found that giving gifts helps define relationships and strengthen bonds with family and friends. Psychologists say it is often the giver, rather than the receiver, who reaps the biggest psychological gains from a gift. No doubt about it-it feels great to give a gift. Regardless of your spiritual practice or religion, there is a common theme during the holidays- place others before yourself. There is no better way to do this than to give gifts to the people you love that benefit people in need.

Need some stocking stuffers, teacher gifts or just plain out of ideas? Here are some unique philanthropy-inspired gifts that keep on giving:

  • GlobalGiving Gift Cards- Giving a gift card from GlobalGiving lets you give the gift of giving. The recipient gets to pick the project(s) that they want to support and then see how their money has been put to work through regular updates.  You can monitor how the funds raised have made an impact to date. Another bonus-the gift cards are biodegradable.
  • Jewelry for a Cause A company that that combines cool and hip jewelry with philanthropy-a winning combination. For each purchase a specified amount is donated to charity.
  • TreeNex TreeNex provides a truly unique opportunity to have a tree planted in a forest each time you purchase a greeting card from their site. When your tree is planted a tree ID is assigned to you. You can use the ID to login at anytime to check on your tree’s progress. How cool is that?
  • Alternative Gifts International A non-profit that inspires support for humanitarian and environmental causes. You can share the gift of giving by sending someone special a gift card. The recipient can choose  from the sites Shopping List for the World which lists numerous charities worldwide that are in need of support.

What unique ideas do you have for giving  this holiday season?

More on green giving…..

Green Gifts Don’t Have to Suck

Treehugger Holiday Gift Guide

Green Gifts for Everyone on Your List

My Ten Favorite Etsy Wood Toy Stores

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5 Responses to “Holiday Gifts That Keep on Giving”

  1. [...] Holiday Gifts That Keep On Giving at Groovy Green Livin [...]

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sandra Lee, Groovy Green Livin. Groovy Green Livin said: Posted: Holiday Gifts That Keep on Giving. http://bit.ly/hazhrs [...]

  3. I would love the tree gift, but I’m the only person I know who worries about deforestation! we’ll be giving experience gifts: bowling, ice skating, movie passes.

  4. I love the idea of experience gifts-great suggestions! It is always nice to give a gift for everyone to enjoy together-instead of more “stuff”. You are definitely not the only person concerned about deforestation-it is a real concern for many of us. The concern seems to be with efforts to preserve and conserve the forests-hopefully planting trees will help. I am loving the bowling idea…….may have to steal this from you.

  5. Another Christmas approaches, and like you, I’ve decided that my extremely fortunate family will be receiving “experience gifts” in lieu of just more stuff. But even in the arena of meaningful experience, isn’t there something that is fun and exciting to the recipient – but gives back to the environment?

    So then I wonder: how to connect more meaningfully with charitable green-focused organizations. I see too often how people (and large organizations) push headlong into what seems like a good idea, without really considering if it is the best use of their money – or if they even have any intrinsic connection to the gift.

    So many times it is a matter of tradition; a This-Is-What-We-Usually-Do mentality. But how frequently do the givers really review the work done on the ground. Do we turn a blind eye towards some of the less-than-desired work an agency might be doing? Is the stated mission – or even just the perceived brand value – resulting in charity that is at best inefficient and at worst, disconnected from the goal we think we are supporting.

    If the idea is to reach grass roots agencies, how do we verify the end result of donations made? How do we even reach them – never mind find out which organizations exist?

    In this time of massive consumption (even during a recession), it seems ever more critical to teach our children the importance of green philanthropy.
    In the same way we might raise thought-provoking questions regarding product advertisement when our kids get hooked on the hottest and latest, we also need to do that same sort of critical examination with them regarding charity – even to environmental organizations.

    One way I’ve been able to achieve this is through my involvement with SeeYourImpact.org. The site is simple to navigate and allows for all budgets – you can make a gift in pretty much any dollar amount (even allowance-friendly amounts). Actually, it makes charity addictive.

    My family is sensitive to hunger issues. So, we specifically decided to give multi-vitamins to children in Sierra Leone. But if you really want to be environmentally focused, you could provide a latrine to a family in Nepal, or a water filter to a family in Cambodia. Whatever your specific interest area, SeeYourImpact.org has a way to give – and give immediately.

    So, how is this philanthropy different from all others? And, do I really know where my money is going? Showing people the actual lives they’re changing, is the idea that started SeeYourImpact.org. It’s highly transparent and extremely quick in getting funding to the individual on the ground.

    A skeptic at heart, I needed more info before plugging in. When I discovered how SeeYourImpact.org was started, why it started, and who makes up their board, I was sold.

    Former Microsoft execs and philanthropists Scott Oki and Digvijay Chauhan were concerned and frustrated with inefficient and opaque giving. As tech gurus, they’ve leveraged the web to give exposure and fast channels to charities of all sizes, all over the globe – by launching SeeYourImpact.org.

    It’s a totally wild new concept in philanthropy – fully 100% of your donation goes to the charity on the ground. You can precisely target which need you want to fill, where you want to give geographically, or what population segment you want to reach.

    How do you know it really gets there – really has an impact? Two weeks after your donation is sent, the field staff send you an email detailing the reaction of the recipient, how it actually helped this specific person, along with their photo.

    Not only is this as transparent as it can get – the super-fast turnaround has almost as much of an impact on us as the people we’re helping. Turns generalized donating into meaningful charity. Makes you want to turn around and give again. Beats the heck out of another latte.

    Take a peek at SeeYourImpact.org. Your kids will love it (maybe more than their new iPhone).

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I like to make noise and stir the pot especially when an issue hits home and effects the health of our families. Join me as I make some noise and share along the way tips for living a green and healthy life. Read more.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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