One of my favorite Christmas traditions is a large gift exchange among my nieces, nephews, siblings, and my siblings’ spouses. The premise is simple: we put our names in a hat around Thanksgiving, draw out name and buy a small gift for that person (key word: small). But the best part? The gift also includes a donation to a cause the recipient cares about.
We can do good, and feel good while doing it.
More people (my family included) are moving away from gifting trinkets toward experiences and donations, which is great. Less plastic crap in the landfills and more money going to causes we care about, right? Win-win.
But with public scrutiny on nonprofits, and stories coming to light about how some charities operate more like a business, it can be hard to know what is legit and what’s shady.
Enter: this handy-dandy guide to organizations and causes you can donate to and feel confident that your money is being put to good use.
Greatist recently published its 2019 Charity Gift Guide: Do-Good Gifts for Everyone on Your List, and it is a gold mine of good information. And bonus: it even includes suggests for ways to actually gift the donation, lest the recipient think you’ve made donation to The Human Fund (if you’ve see “Seinfeld,” you’ll know what I’m talking about).
The guide is completely vetted and includes each organization’s Charity Navigator score, saving you the time spent doing the research. It also includes suggestions for everyone from teachers to social activities to environmentalists, and it includes out-of-the-box suggestions too. For instance, you could gift your daughter’s teacher a donation to Girls Inc., which “provides mentorship, pro-girl environments, and educational programs that equip girls to navigate the world and grow up healthy, educated, and independent,” and the guide suggests you could pair the donation with a copy of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists.”
Another cool suggestion for the humanitarian on your gift list is a donation to Doctors Without Borders and pair it with pair it with a scratch map for them to track their own travels. The child on your list could receive a jump rope along with a donation in their name to Action for Healthy Kids, and the animal lover could receive a donation in their name to Patriot PAWS, which trains and provides service dogs to disabled American veterans and others with disabilities and PTSD — for free.
This time of year, we’re all looking to make the world a little better and spread a little love to family and friends. By gifting a donation, you can do both.
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