Give a heifer, a goat, or even a water buffalo through Heifer International

A Different Kind of Gift:

For the past two years, my family has opted out of presents and instead has donated money to a charity organization. Last year was the Capitol Area Food Bank, and the year before was the International Rescue Committee. Options like the ones listed in A Socially Responsible Online Holiday Shopping and Gift Guide are great options for gift giving but if you’re trying to move away from the commercialization of the holidays, consider making a donation of either time or money to a worthy cause instead of exchanging gifts. This could be a great way to unite as a family or office or
classroom and the list of worthy organizations is long. Austinites can check out KUT’s Get Involved section to check out an extensive list of area charity
organizations that would be thankful the extra help.

There are also international organizations that have created a different kind of market place where you can buy a carpentry set for women in Kosovo as part of a job training program or mosquito nets for a family threatened by malaria, all in the name of someone special. Here’s a list of the ones I know of:

The International Rescue Committee offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster.

Mercy Corps helps people in the world’s toughest places turn the crises of natural disaster, poverty and conflict into opportunities for progress.

Heifer International helps families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways. In exchange for their livestock and training, families agree to give one of its animal’s offspring to another family in need. It’s called Passing on the Gift – a cornerstone of our mission that creates an ever-expanding network of hope and peace.

Women for Women International‘s mission is to help women survivors of war rebuild their lives. Their gifts represent various aspects of their programs and will help give a woman from a war-torn
or post-conflict country a lifeline to the support she needs for herself and her family.

If none of these organizations appeal to you, find one that does at Global Giving. Global Giving connects you to a variety of causes and countries such as The Girl Effect. You select projects you want to support, make a tax-deductible contribution, and get regular progress updates – so you can see how your gift is making a difference. All donations go through the GlobalGiving Foundation, which receives a nominal 15% fulfillment fee. Most donors choose to make an incremental contribution at checkout to cover this fee and ensure that 100% of their donation goes to the project(s) that they have selected to support. This results in an average of 90% of all funds donated getting to the grassroots project(s) selected.

So don’t just be another holiday shopper. Check off the people on your shopping list and be a holiday donor. Donors can check out Charity
and AIP’s Top-Rated Charities to make sure their time and money are going to deserving places. Happy holidays to you and yours, however you decide to spend it.

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