Give, but Give Wisely

Many bloggers have been posting information on donating to the relief efforts in Japan following the earthquakes and tsunami on March 11. It’s good information and I’ll share a few links, but first I want to warn you: not all charitable organizations are equal, and not all are equally good at everything. In the aftermath of a major disaster, well-meaning people may try to organize a relief effort that is simply beyond their ability. Worse, there are scammers who will take advantage of your good intentions. I’m all for doing whatever we can to help people affected by a disaster, but donate your money or your volunteer efforts wisely.

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DIY Gift and Donation Combinations

In Monday’s post I suggested that making a donation to a non-profit organization can be a terrific gift for someone. But even when you have carefully considered the recipient’s interests and know their favorite charities, it can be more fun when you have an actual gift to offer, wrapped up nicely. So today I’m going to look at ways to combine donations with tangible gifts in creative ways.

My inspiration for this is the World Wildlife Fund‘s “adoption” gifts. For a small donation you can symbolically adopt an endangered animal for yourself or a friend. For a little more money, you get a cute plush toy that looks like that animal.

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Make a Donation as a Holiday Gift

It’s not even Thanksgiving and there are Christmas trees in store windows. I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready for holiday decorations until Santa Claus makes his appearance at the end of the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Still, it’s time to start thinking about holiday plans and gift giving. No good waiting until the last minute.

GiftIf you have anyone on your gift list who’s difficult to shop for, I have a suggestion: make a donation to one of their favorite causes. Donations have been down the past couple of years due to the economy, yet the need is greater. A donation can be a terrific gift–nothing to store, no worrying that it’s the right size or color, and the recipient may be pleasantly surprised by your imaginative gift. You can “wrap” it in a simple envelope, along with an appropriate greeting card or note, and most non-profits will send an acknowledgment directly to the recipient on your behalf.

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