Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Countdown to Geekmas Day 7: Gifts That Do Good

[This is my 1,000th post on spydergrrl on the web. (Yay!) So I wanted to make it count. Rather than focusing on super awesmazing gadgets (don't worry, they'll be back tomorrow), I thought I would donate this post to charity; that is, dedicate today's Countdown to Geekmas to charitable gift ideas. Hope I find one of these under the tree!]

Hands holding a gift
Credit: Microsoft ClipArt
If you've been reading the blog for a while now, you might know that I love an opportunity to write about doing good. Whether it's about repurposing tech for underprivileged areas of the world, kids collecting pennies for local charities or even taking the opportunity to rant about improving the process of Tweeting for charity, you'll find a lot of charity-related content in the archives.

If it was up to me, we wouldn't bother exchanging gifts with our family at Christmas; instead we would all be tasked with finding the most innovative use of our gift budgets to make donations in other people's names. The best types of charitable gifts are the ones that last the longest, help the most people and yet still suit the honoree for the donation.

Charitable Gift Ideas

If you are planning to give charitable gifts, here are some to consider:
  • Give a Goat, Chicks or a Stove: Plan Canada offers the opportunity to provide a family with a goat " to convert the gift of a single goat into a small herd or a milk-selling business, thus boosting their income." They also have dozens of other ideas including giving chicks, fuel-efficient stoves and scholarships for underprivileged girls to go to school.
  • Kiva: This is one of my favourites. Kiva enables you to lend small amounts (usually increments of $25) to business people and families in underprivileged parts of the world. You choose the projects you want to fund, and, when the money is paid back, you can re-lend it. It's a gift with a very long life: we've been lending and re-lending for 3 years. My favourite feature is the promotions supported by private lenders: Individuals and companies will sponsor Kiva so that they can distribute free codes to members who can share with their friends and invite them to lend.  
  • Buy a Kid Some Time: I wrote about this one a couple of years ago: by donating to Kids Help Phone, you purchase up-time for their help line. It's a safe haven for kids who don't feel they can talk to anyone around them, an important option for kids in trouble or in need.
  • Ten Thousand Villages: If you want to still give a physical gift, then consider stores like Ten Thousand Villages which buy fair trade items from around the world. Your giftee still gets a gorgeous houseware, necklace, scarf, etc. and the fabricator in a country on the other side of the world benefits from a fair price.

Don't Know What To Give?

If none of these suits your giftee, consider making a donation to a charity that has a personal connection for them. Not sure which one would be the closest to their heart? Canada Helps offers the option of giving a gift card that can then be used to donate to any charity in Canada. Can't get it wrong with that one!

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