Written by Emily Wiest
For a long time, I discouraged myself from making donations to charities simply thinking I didn’t have the resources to. As a teen without a steady job, it wasn’t difficult to convince myself to hold on to what money I had. A few years ago, however, while shopping for a holiday gift for my mother, I realized that if I could find enough to buy presents for my entire family, there was no reason I couldn’t be donating to causes I care about as well.
Instead of spending yet another holiday season running to different stores for gifts, there are numerous charitable organizations online that will allow you to make a donation for your loved ones. There are also many that provide goods or tokens in return for your contribution that you can give as a gift.
I have been doing this for two years now, and I have found that donating to specific organizations that my family and friends would individually support is much more rewarding than giving them yet another sweater they don’t want. For example, my 8-year-old brother’s favorite toy is a stuffed panda, so I donated to a Save the Pandas organization for him through Pura Vida, a company that sells handmade bracelets.
There are plenty of programs that allow you to make donations in someone’s name, but I feel that giving someone a physical gift to represent the donation is a lot more meaningful. This is especially true during the holidays, when we give gifts to show our affection and gratitude for those we love.
It doesn’t have to be overwhelmingly expensive to support causes you and your loved ones care about. I am currently a student, and definitely, don’t have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to budgeting. However, I have discovered that you don’t need to choose between buying presents and donating to charity, even if you’re on a strict budget.
Aside from the fact that it makes sense financially, doing your holiday shopping through charitable organizations is an ethical choice. This is especially true during the holiday season when it is more important to focus on giving to those in need rather than giving more to those who don’t.
There are dozens of companies that work with nonprofit organizations and donate portions of their profits. Here are a few that I have found and plan to use this year:
- HalfUnited. (halfunited.com)
HalfUnited sells necklaces and other accessories made from recycled materials. Each item purchased from their website provides seven meals for a child in the USA, Fiji, or Haiti.
- Love Your Melon. (loveyourmelon. com)
Love Your Melon sells beanies, headbands, baseball caps and other headgear. Profits are used to support nonprofit organizations that fight pediatric cancer.
- Bezathreads. (bezathreads.org)
Bezathreads sells scarves to fund liberation efforts in Ethiopia. The scarves are made by formerly enslaved individuals who have been liberated. 100% of profits go towards rescue efforts for children still living in slavery.
- ONEHOPE. (onehopewine.com)
ONEHOPE sells wine, single bottles or gift sets, and supports various causes including providing meals for children in need, supporting environmental causes, funding ABA therapy for children with autism and breast cancer clinical trials, supporting natural disaster relief efforts, and more.
These organizations are actively fighting to make a difference in the world, and as irrelevant as one individual’s efforts may seem, every single action counts. Donating toward the greater good, and doing it while also showing your friends and family that you care about them, is the best of both worlds.
As the saying goes, it is in giving that we truly receive.