Gifts That Do Good
By Editorial Staff
by Catalogs.com Info Guru Lisa Pratto
We’ve all heard the phrase, “The gift that keeps on giving!”
Usually it is in jest, but there are gifts that do good. It can be as simple as ordering Girl Scout Cookies and, in turn, supporting the programs sponsored by the Scouts. Of course, this is NOT helpful for one’s waistline. Did you know that those are not single serve boxes?!
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10. Buy American-Made
In a down economy, many people actively seek out American-made products and openly prefer to spend their money on such items. You can purchase Amish-crafted furniture, pottery and giftware made by local artisans and local baked or canned foods.
Whether for a college student or newlyweds, giving a cookbook has two benefits. You help the recipient learn to cook and you save the people they cook for in the future from some really bad food.
8. Garage Sale
More often than not, you have a pile of stuff that is just waiting for a garage sale. Donating it to your local school, church or favorite charity for their garage sale instead can help them meet their fundraising goals.
7. Crafting Supplies
Children’s hospitals, nonprofit organizations helping the elderly, homeless and the disadvantaged, church groups and even animal shelters are always in need of blankets to comfort their patients. Gifting the supplies needed to create a blanket to your favorite seamstress, or a quilt kit to a quilter and yarns to a knitter is a great idea.
6. Buy Eco Friendly
Another type of gift that keeps on giving are eco-conscious gifts for friends and family. Buying organic, free-range, recycled, recyclable or eco-friendly all contribute to a cleaner, healthier environment.
5. Buy 3rd World
In the same vein, buying products made in a 3rd world country can support a struggling economy, feed a family or help young women gain an education. Many non-profits encourage, assist and market entrepreneurial endeavors in impoverished regions.
Yes, that says livestock. Starting a herd of money-earning animals like Alpaca can create a solid foundation for rural community farm projects and local subsistence farming groups. This is not a simple gift, and requires research, commitment and training, but it can make a difference in a huge way. Organizations, like Heifer International, allow you to “purchase” a cow, chicken or pig, which they, in turn, will donate to a deserving family. This not only provides the family with milk or eggs, but the chance to start a small business selling the extras. You can send your loved one a card announcing your purchase in lieu of a gift for them.
3. Micro Loan Sites
Micro loan is the newest buzzword for philanthropic organizations. In a nutshell, you log onto a website, like Kiva, read the heart-warming stories and “loan” small denominations to the person or group of your choosing, usually 3rd world entrepreneurs. Once they pay you back, (and they DO) you can loan again. This is a great gift for children because it allows them to see how others live and how they can directly help.
2. Wish Lists or Gift Shops
Another great idea is to contact the favorite charity of your intended recipient and ask if they have a “Wish List”. Most do. For example, an animal shelter might need the obvious items, like food and toys, and a few not-so-obvious, like a digital camera to document abuse or a new fax machine. On the other side of the coin, purchase the presents you give to others from a a nonprofit organization’s gift shop, this assists the fundraising efforts of the organization and helps spread their mission.
1. Your Time
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You knew this was coming. Out of all the gifts that do good, giving the gift of time is numero uno. To your kids. To your aging relatives. To your favorite organizations. It’s hard. Time is tight, but it is what everyone really wants.
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