An alternative to Christmas gift giving

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I love giving and receiving gifts each Christmas, but I have always been intrigued by the idea of financially supporting a cause or a person in lieu of traditional Christmas gift giving. I have heard of families who take their money that they would normally spend on gifts for each other and use it to adopt another family. You can bet a sacrifice like that would really make it a Christmas to remember.

I recently found a site (that has actually been around a while) called GlobalGiving.org which is basically an online marketplace for charities. The site conveniently allows you to donate to any one of countless causes and charities in your neighborhood or around the world.

alternative-to-gift-giving-global-giving-300x238So if you want your Christmas giving to go to orphans in India, or if you want to donate to help Mothers with AIDS in Africa, or if you want to just give to the poor in your own area, you can do it all from the website.

A little bit on how it works…

The Process

Here’s how the Process Works

  • You browse the website, research causes by topic or location, and pick the one that matches your interests and passions.
  • You make a tax-deductible donation and we combine your giving with other generous folks doing the same thing.
  • We ensure that at least 85% of your donation is on-the-ground within 60 days and has an immediate impact.
  • You get regular updates telling you what a difference your gift is making and the results that have been achieved.
  • If you’re not satisfied with your donation for any reason, the GlobalGiving Guarantee provides you with your money back in the form of a voucher for the amount of your original donation.

How efficient are they?

GlobalGiving is rated 4 stars (the top rating) by CharityNavigator.org. According to their website…

“All donations go through the GlobalGiving Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 organization, which receives a nominal 15% fee. This helps cover the cost of operating the marketplace – finding and researching projects, supporting project leaders in the field, attracting donors, and building our website. It also includes the fees assessed by vendors for credit card processing. Donors can choose whether to make an incremental contribution to cover the fee, or to have it deducted from their donation.”

Thoughts?

Have you ever tried GlobalGiving or similar websites? Would you ever consider doing something like this as an alternative to Christmas gifts?















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4 Comments
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  1. I think it’s a wonderful idea. It’s getting it to catch on that’s difficult (and I’m totally guilty of standing in the way too).

    A favorite of mine is Gospel for Asia, which trains and sends native missionaries to countries in Asia. I don’t mean to start a “post your cause” thread in the comments here (I’m not personally involved with GFA other than as a giver), but the thing I like about this one is that 100% of the money goes directly to the missionaries – nothing’s taken out.

    Something to think about.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

  2. Bob,
    I think this post does highlight an important part of Christmas gift giving. Giving should not be limited only to our families.
    After Christmas, for every gift our kids receive we donate on gift to a neighbor who does not have as much as we do.
    We want our kids to know Christmas is about helping others and not just ourselves.
    Because we are already aware of a lot of charities we don’t often search online, but knowing the charity is trustworthy is essential. Thanks for pointing out this good resource.

  3. Lisa Buffington

    I realize you are probably up to your ears on Christmas articles, but I have one that I would like to submit. If this is possible, please email me back with instructions.
    Thank you,

    Lisa Buffington

  4. I’m leery of the 15% fee you have to pay. If you just go directly to the website of the organization you want to donate to, you shouldn’t have to have that amount knocked off the top. On the other hand, as someone who works in the non-profit field, I know full well that some organizations (even excellent, well-managed and fiscally responsible organizations) spend 50 cents on the dollar recruiting your first donation. In non-profit management and fundraising classes I’ve taken, I’ve even heard, “Expect to break even on a direct mail campaign!”
    The first donation is the most expensive for organizations to get, but if you become a regular contributor, their cost to recruit you as a donor goes down exponentially. What this means for me is that I don’t make one-off donations to a bunch of organizations, who are then going to spend lots of money sending me mailings. I contribute regularly (through an auto-debit) to one or two organizations, which increases the impact of my dollars.
    One thing to keep in mind is that the four star Charity Navigator rating applies only to the GlobalGiving site, not to each charity it supports. You should look up each organization individually to see how THEY are using your money.

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