Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Holiday Gifts: Everybody Wins

I'm trying to make a shift this year from material gifts to gifts that give back. Yet just making a gift to a charity in someone else’s name can seem a bit heavy-handed, and it doesn’t really allow the recipient to be involved in the gift. Our favorite person in North Carolina discovered a terrific site that solves this dilemma. Tis Best Charitable Gift Cards (as in T’is better to give than receive) elevates the gift card concept to a new level. They partner with 200 charities and nonprofits and offer attractive gift cards in a variety of designs. Your recipient is able to enjoy a gift from you while also choosing which organization is the lucky recipient of both of your kindness. Delivered by email, Tis Best cards are also ideal for last-minute shoppers!
Kiva - loans that change lives, the microloan site, is one of my favorite organizations — I included them in my very first post on this blog. Giving a Kiva gift certificate allows your recipient to choose a Kiva entrepreneur and help to fund a microloan to the individual. As the loan is repaid, your recipient will receive Kiva Credits, which can be reinvested in other microloans (or withdrawn). Note that Kiva gift certificates are NOT tax-deductible since they fun
d loans that will be repaid. Kiva gift certificates are printable online, so they also work for anyone who saw the calendar today and panicked.

For even more flexibility, and a tax deduction for you, Charity Checks will send you a special check or checks in the denominations you specify, which you can then give to friends and family. Recipients may make these checks out to any of the 800,000+ charities registered as 501(c)(3)organizations with the U.S. government. The charity simply enters its Tax ID number on the back when depositing the check. (Deposits from groups that are not 501(c)(3)s are not honored.)

Today’s mitzvah: Consider replacing a traditional gift with a gift certificate from Kiva, a gift check from Charity Checks, or a cool gift card from Tis Best.

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