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11 Holiday Gift Programs that Benefit Nonprofits and Make the World A Better Place :: 2009 Edition

November 18, 2009

If you are reading this now, then of the world’s 6.8 billion people, you are likely one of the lucky ones. You have Internet access, a computer, a roof over your head, and likely planning some holiday shopping this year. By spending consciously, your consumer power can change the world.

Did you know that in the United States more than 70% of holiday gifts end up in the landfill within 6 months? Much of those are plastic toys that will remain on this Earth for hundreds of generations. Is that a legacy we want to leave behind? Your money really could be much better spent. 🙂

Below are 11 great holiday gift programs that benefit nonprofits and make the world a better place:

1. Oxfam America Unwrapped: Unique charitable gifts that do good. Gifts range from $12 to $10,000. You’ll receive a free card with the image of your specific gift. You can personalize the card online and have it sent directly to your friend or loved one. Or you can have the card delivered to you to write your own message. View Gifts. [In the UK]

2. Species Adoptions from the World Wildlife Fund: Give a gift that helps protect life on Earth. Adoption Kits range from $25 to $250. All kits include an adoption certificate, photo, and species information card. With a $50 donation, the kit includes a plush toy. These make great gifts for kids and people that love animals. View Gifts.

3. Hope Gift Book from St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital: Get into the holiday spirit with ornaments, decorations and other gifts that inspire hope and help fight childhood cancer. 100% of profits after related expenses benefit the children at St. Jude. View Gifts.

4. NPR Shop: Ideal for the people in your life who are fans of NPR, every purchase supports NPR programming. View Gifts.

5. Gifts of Hope by Heifer International: Choose a meaningful gift to give a loved one and help children and families around the world receive training and animal gifts that help them become self-reliant. Gifts range from a flock of chicks for $20 to a heifer for $500. View Gifts.

6. Global Exchange Fair Trade Store: With beautiful gifts fairly traded from producers all over the world, the Global Exchange Store is the online source for socially responsible goods. View Gifts.

7. Defenders Marketplace: Show your love of wildlife  and help fund effective programs that save endangered wildlife and its habitats for future generations to enjoy. From ornaments to stamps to wildlife adoption, the Defenders Marketplace is a good place to start your holiday shopping. View Gifts.

8. Save the Children Gift Shop: Give the gift that gives twice. Buy a gift for family or friends and help Save the Children at the same time. View Gifts.

9. Global Goods Partners Fair Trade Gift Shop: Shop for change! The gifts that you give and the items in your daily life all provide an opportunity to contribute to a movement for global justice, be it the paper you write on or the bag in which you carry your groceries. Beautiful gifts, great cause! View Gifts.

10. Purchase with a purpose to help end breast cancer forever. 25% of your merchandise purchase price will benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure. View Gifts.

11. ASPCA Store: Help the ASPCA provide refuge to the million of unwanted pets in America by purchasing holiday gifts for the animal lovers in your life from the ASPCA Store. View Gifts.

I know there are many others. Please feel free to post them (with a link) in a comment below. Thank you. Happy holidays, and happy shopping!

40 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2009 6:39 am

    Another great one is Baking for Good, which is based on the idea of a bake sale. They sell amazing, all-natural baked goods and give 15% of every purchase to a charity that you choose. They have a lot of really great charities on their list, and you can even add your own.

  2. November 18, 2009 10:30 am

    SickKids Get Better Gifts is the new holiday giving program at SickKids Foundation. Choose from all kinds of unique items from the online catalog including a Stocking Surprise, Play Medical Equipment and a Holiday Meal for a family in hospital. Gifts range from $25 to $5,000 and appeal to a wide range of interests. After buying a gift, purchasers will be able to send or print a card that outlines the gift that has been made in the recipient’s honour. Give the gift and gives twice at

  3. Cindy permalink
    November 18, 2009 11:58 am

    Child’s Play distributes games to children’s hospitals all over the world. Hospital stays can be boring and depressing. This is an excellent way to cheer up a sick child around the holidays.

  4. Kay Lorraine permalink
    November 18, 2009 1:14 pm

    You might be interested in my latest blog post regarding the overlap of nonprofits (it ends with nonprofit giftgiving encouragement). The post is called “Why We Don’t Need Another Nonprofit” and can be found at

    Comments from nonprofit executives would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • antonia permalink
      December 2, 2009 11:21 am

      Bad call – this article was about shopping smart and benefitting non-profits for Christmas. Now is not the right time for you to critique number of them in existance.

  5. November 19, 2009 4:07 am

    Looking for a gift for someone who has everything? Buy a gift card from Vision Africa. You could buy a mosquito net, baby pack (formula, diapers, bottle etc), seeds and fertiliser or even a goat or chicken which will go to one of our projects in Kenya.

    If someone has everything, make them feel good by giving to someone who doesn’t have much at all.

  6. November 19, 2009 4:38 am

    Here is another great organization that can help ANY organization of your choice. It’s time that the arts takes on a leading role in changing the perception of theater. Well there is a theater doing just that. M&D Productions is proffessionally run theatre for that serves it’s community. Our mission is to raise awareness of local issues, through the venue of theatre while collaborating with local nonprofits to make a difference. You can be part of that change. Check us out and make a donation today. 50% of your donation goes directly to your group and helps us spread our word to even more citizens around the globe.

  7. November 19, 2009 5:58 am

    Really great! I would like to know how the lives of my constituents can be improved.

    I would also like to know how these organizations can enter into partnership with our non-profit organization, the African Youth Development Foundation,

    Thanks for your anticipated prompt and kind response.

    Truly yours,

    Hon. Remy Chukwunyere,
    New Generation Foundation

  8. November 19, 2009 6:40 am

    The Church World Service Best Gift Catalog contains many life-changing alternative gifts – a new one this year is our birthing kit, which provides training and supplies for female health workers to learn basic hygiene and safe-birthing techniques, as well as growth monitoring and nutrition. See and click the Women category…

  9. November 19, 2009 7:15 am

    Shop with Scrip! Support Fancy Cats Rescue Team by purchasing gift cards through our scrip program. You pay face value and we get a percentage of the cost! Easy and pie and your holiday shopping is done in a flash!

  10. November 19, 2009 10:16 am

    Find some great boxer-themed gifts and help support Legacy Boxer Rescue.

  11. November 19, 2009 10:49 am

    Another one is the Adopt-a-Seal program from The Marine Mammal Center. $30 gets you an adoption kit, plus a free membership!

  12. November 19, 2009 10:58 am

    Alternative Gifts is a great organization that produces a catalog with a range of projects in the developing world. You support a project of your choice, and they send a gift card. From their website:

    Gifts Inspiring Change.
    Alternative Gifts International is a non-profit organization that inspires support for humanitarian and environmental causes. We offer donors the option to designate charitable gifts through carefully selected agencies in the name of their relatives,
    friends and associates.

  13. November 19, 2009 11:34 am

    I have another for you though we can only offer receipts in Canada at least until Sept 2010… allows people to buy gift cards that go 100% to projects in the developing world that use a sustainable community development approach with the goal of ending extreme poverty. The giver or gift recipient can choose the project from a selection of 100 different projects ranging from water and sanitation to education to gender rights. You can see the impact of your gift through the updates that the projects send to the website. It is all transparent and open- no black holes or government pits to fall into.
    Come on buy gifts that change the world!

  14. November 19, 2009 3:17 pm

    Launched by Humane Society International (HSI) in Australia, Humane Gifts are a range of virtual gifts that help protect animals in need. Great way for the public to support the on-the-ground work of the organisation. These gifts can be bought by donors, or given as ‘gifts’ to others.

    Perfect for Christmas, birthdays and celebrations. To see the range of Humane Gifts visit

  15. November 19, 2009 3:27 pm

    Heather, nothing to add here, except a big thank-you and happy holidays to you! My kids and I love to do these ‘alternative’ gifts–my 3-year-old son is SUPER into telling people about how he helps get clean water for kids in Mexico through helping to purchase a filtration system, and about how I ‘helped mommies’ through the Fistula Foundation for my birthday (through FB causes). These give us some new ones to try for this year!

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      November 20, 2009 5:29 am

      Great! Thanks. Nice son. 🙂

  16. November 20, 2009 12:36 pm

    Another great idea: A Vittana Gift Certificate!
    Microfinance for Education

    Vittana is a nonprofit that makes it possible for young people in developing countries to receive student loans directly from individual lenders like you and me. Right now, young people in Nicaragua, Peru, Paraguay, and Mongolia have access to college because of our work.

    We think a Vittana Gift Certificate is great addition to the list of ways to do good with your holiday gift giving–recipients of Vittana gift certificates are empowered to contribute to an even bigger gift: knowledge, skills, and income that will last a lifetime.

    You can check it out for yourself here!

  17. November 22, 2009 2:05 pm

    One of my favorite PETA gifts is the donation that gives a dog house and hay to a dog who is chained outside with inadequate shelter, but there are plenty of other kind gifts to choose from at PETA’s store:

  18. November 25, 2009 4:16 am

    Send a Cow runs sustainable agricultural programmes in seven countries in Africa to help small-scale farmers overcome poverty and malnutrition. We were founded in 1988 by a group of UK farmers who sent cows to families in post-conflict Uganda. We have lots of great gifts available for Christmas from our online catalogue, so why not take a look and see what you can pick up for your friends and family –

  19. November 25, 2009 7:52 am

    Since 1938, ChildFund International (formerly Christian Children’s Fund) has empowered children to thrive throughout all stages of life and become leaders of enduring change in their communities. The Gifts of Love and Hope catalog ( features hundreds of items requested by the staff in our country offices, based on the greatest needs of children and families we serve. You can be confident that your gift donation will be used to help children in the way we have described.

  20. November 28, 2009 12:30 pm

    Blind Cat Rescue has a virtual tree. Your donation adds lights and gifts to the tree and helps blind cats at the sanctuary.

    • Claire permalink
      December 1, 2011 4:51 pm

      Thank you for bringing this my attention.

  21. December 2, 2009 10:35 am

    Check out the Catholic Relief Services “Gift of Hope” Gift Catalog here: A gift from the Gift Catalog is a simple way to honor the ones you love most by giving hope to people in tremendous need around the world.

  22. December 2, 2009 11:18 am

    This year’s Easter Seals Crossroads holiday ornament depicts The Cherub of Downtown Indianapolis, who perched atop the L.S. Ayres clock to keep a watchful eye over downtown holiday shoppers. This limited edition, gold-on-brass ornament makes the perfect co-worker, teacher or hostess gift. And, your $15 purchase supports disability services and programs for children and adults at Easter Seals Crossroads. Buy The Cherub at all 29 greater Indianapolis Regions bank branches or call Easter Seals Crossroads at 317-466-2002.
    Large quantity discounts are available; call 317-466-2002 to inquire.

  23. December 6, 2009 9:50 pm

    Thank you for all the great resources for gifts that help non-profits! Another one is my website, AlchemList, a website that makes it easy to search for non-profit wish lists so you can shop for a cause that is close to your heart or home or both.

  24. December 9, 2009 3:59 pm

    At you can create your own fundraising page benefiting the local grassroots charity of your choice! Share the link with friends and family so they know what you really want this Christmas. They can even leave comments of encouragement for you on your fundraising page page wall.

  25. December 15, 2009 12:05 pm

    I am the coartistic director of a small nonprofit professional theater located in Hudson Ohio.
    ( Theater tickets and gift certificates to live performances at our nonprofit theater are great gifts.

    On behalf of other arts organizations—from museums to orchestras, dance companies, art galleries, and other theaters—– memberships, donations and tickets help keep local arts both alive—and local. Find a website or a phone number for the arts organization that speaks to you, give the gift of art. Thanks, and have a great holiday!

  26. November 25, 2010 11:50 am

    The Enterprising Kitchen (TEK), a nonprofit social enterprise, provides workforce development and support services to lower-income women
    working toward self-sufficiency and economic independence. Within the context of a business where they manufacture natural soaps and spa
    products under the brand name Choices from The Enterprising Kitchen, women receive intensive workforce preparation and skills development
    including: paid employment, work and life skills training, individualized career planning, high school equivalency preparation, technology training and
    financial planning. Located in Chicago, TEK enables women who have been unemployed and underemployed to maximize their individual potential
    and move into sustainable employment after 6 months. Each product includes the mission statement on its label and is signed by the woman who
    packages it. Through TEK’s social enterprise, participants have the opportunity to work in all aspects of this growing enterprise, including manufacturing,
    customer service, direct sales, assembly, production as well as shipping and receiving.

  27. NEO permalink
    December 22, 2011 1:49 pm

    Oxfam’s offers are misleading at best and probably more like outright deception. Their website is designed to make it look like your contribution goes towards specific programs/items (baby chicks, a bucket of worms, books for a child) but if you read the fine print, which only appears sporadically on the site, you find out that your donation goes to their general fund and they can spend it however they like.

    General fund contributions are fine and necessary and should be an option but was not what I had intended to give as gifts.

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      December 23, 2011 7:00 am

      Yes… that’s the case with most of these types of online fundraising campaigns. However, it doesn’t bother me. They are 4-star charity doing great work worldwide and it’s almost impossible to get grants or major donors to fund the general fund… and without paid staff and money to keep the lights on, these nonprofits and they work they do don’t exist.

  28. Andrea permalink
    October 6, 2012 9:29 am

    The International Rescue Committee ( is another great organization, which allows you to buy charity gifts that benefits those in need overseas or refugees newly arrived in the U.S.

  29. December 5, 2012 6:31 pm

  30. May 29, 2013 12:02 am

    Realise I am coming pretty late to the party, but there is also a charity gifts website run by World Vision – Must Have Gifts. You can buy small things like a birth certificate for children in Bolivia who can be denied an education or healthcare without one or club together to buy big gifts like a new classroom. There’s a selection for dads for upcoming father’s day here – they’re not just for Christmas! 🙂


  1. 11 Holiday Gift Programs that Benefit Nonprofits and Make the World A Better Place « Nonprofit Tech 2.0 :: A Social Media Guide for Nonprofits
  2. 11 Holiday Gift Programs That Benefit Nonprofits and Make the World A Better Place :: 2011 Edition « Nonprofit Tech 2.0 Blog :: A Social Media Guide for Nonprofits
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