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11 Holiday Gift Programs That Benefit Nonprofits and Make the World A Better Place :: 2010 Edition

November 9, 2010

[tweetmeme] Last year’s list of nonprofit holiday gift programs has been getting a lot traffic over the last two weeks thanks to Google searches. In addition to all those wonderful programs, I wrote up 11 more for 2010. Please use your purchasing power wisely and with compassion this holiday season by giving gifts that benefit nonprofits and make the world a better place. It’s been a  tough year for nonprofits… they could use your support. 🙂

1. Green Gifts by the Natural Resources Defense Council: From Green Energy Boosts to Buffalo Babysitting gifts, the NRDC has a launched a new Green Gifts Online Catalog featuring over 40 gifts that help protect the environment and wildlife. [Purchase Green Gifts]

Mission: To safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals and the natural systems on which all life depends.

2. Inspired Gifts by UNICEF: Givers can purchase a School-in-a-Box to help set up a temporary school in times of crisis, vaccines, and even midwifery kits. Recipients get a card, and you help save lives. [Purchase Inspired Gifts]

Mission: To advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential.

3. Peace Bonds by Nonviolent Peaceforce: The purchase of Peace Bonds enable unarmed peacekeepers to go into conflict zones to protect vulnerable families. Givers can purchase as little as two hours of peacekeeping for $10 or up to 100 hours of peacekeeping for $500. [Purchase Peace Bonds]

Mission: To promote, develop and implement unarmed civilian peacekeeping as a tool for reducing violence and protecting civilians in situations of violent conflict.

4. Animal Adoptions by the National Wildlife Federation: From alligators to walruses, givers can adopt animals in the name of friends, family, or colleagues. Recipients receive certificates, posters, magnets, plush animals, or even binoculars depending upon how much the giver donates. Adoptions range in price from $20-100. [Adopt an Animal]

Mission: To inspire Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.

5. Acre Adoptions by the Nature Conservancy: Givers can purchase acre adoptions from all over the world. Recipients receive a map, fact sheet, an adoption certificate, and a subscription to Nature Conservancy magazine. A great holiday gift for travelers! [Adopt an Acre]

Mission: To protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.

6. Creature Adoptions by Oceana: In addition to an adoption certificate, recipients also receive a cookie cutter of either a dolphin, shark, polar bear, penguin, octopus, or sea turtle. Adoptions range from $35-100. [Adopt a Creature]

Mission: Over 70% of our planet is covered by oceans. We’re 100% committed to saving them.

7. Be the Change Gifts by MercyCorps: Givers can buy gifts that educate AIDs orphans, help women open businesses, or even purchase composting kits and cookstoves for in the developing world. Gifts start at $25. [Purchase Be the Change Gifts]

Mission: To turn crisis into opportunity for families in some of the world’s toughest places.

8. Online Gift Catalog by People for the Ethical Treatment on Animals: PETA has everything you could possibly imagine for animals lovers, particularly vegans and vegetarians. Clothes, books, mugs, calendars, computer accessories, and even gift certificates. [Shop PETA]

Mission:  To focus attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in the clothing trade, in laboratories, and in the entertainment industry.

9. Holiday Honor Donations by the Make-A-Wish Foundation: Givers can choose whether to send e-Cards or to print certificates for either Christmas or Hanukah. [Make a Holiday Honor Donation]

Mission: To grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

10. Online Gifts Catalog by PBS: Ideal for supporters of public television, PBS’s online shop has videos and books ranging in topics from arts and culture to travel. [Shop PBS]

Mission: To bring more local stories, independent journalism, arts and culture to Americans.

11. OptInNow Gift Cards by Opportunity International: Givers can donate an amount in the name of a friend, family or colleagues. The recipient receives a gift card that they can then redeem and apply towards a loan to an entrepreneur in the developing world. [Purchase Gift Cards]

Mission: Empowering entrepreneurs through Microcredit & Microfinance to help End Global Poverty. Faster.

Related Links:

20 Comments leave one →
  1. November 9, 2010 2:37 pm

    I would add UEnd: poverty to that list. They help the everyday person change the world and end extreme poverty by creating a thoughtful trustworthy list of grassroots projects. There is lots of choice with 9 cause areas including microcredit, agriculture, water and sanitation, infrastructure, education, gender equality, community development and health. Check them out and change the world this holiday season and buy gifts differently.
    Would you commit to buying just 1- $20.00 gift this holiday season if you knew we could end extreme poverty?

  2. Tracey permalink
    November 9, 2010 4:05 pm

    I would also add Mission Aviation Fellowship Gifting Catalog. It is no ordinary gift catalog. It offers selections that share an uncommon quality: they transform lives & build the Kingdom of God through aviation & other technologies. From Gifts that Heal to Gifts that Bring Help like transporting medical teams and medical supplies to fight the Cholera outbreak in Haiti or providing flight to the remotest areas of the Amazon to reach the unreached people.

    Your gifts to this organization in honor of the recipient you choose will use your generosity to make a difference and transform lives many people have forgotten about.

  3. Laurie permalink
    November 10, 2010 5:34 am

    Samaritan’s Purse ( is a wonderful Christian organization that helps people all over the world, all year long. They have two holiday programs: Operation Christmas Child and their Christmas gift catalog.

    For Operation Christmas Child, people put together shoebox gifts full of toys, candy, school supplies, and hygiene items for children in poor or war-torn places. Many of these children have never received a gift before – something they can call their own. The boxes are delivered all over the world!

    The gift catalog has gifts at all donation levels. It’s broken down into categories, like Ministry to Children, Farms and Livestock, and Gifts Under $15. For example, you can donate to feed a hungry baby for a week (just $9) or give a family a household water filter that will last a lifetime (just $100). And of course you can have a card sent if you’re giving the gift in honor or memory of someone.

    Check it out!

  4. November 10, 2010 6:42 am

    Please remember the American Lung Association! They were the first envirmomentalists!
    As the oldest non-profit health organization they were the FIRST defenders of CLEAN AIR intiatives and continue to Save Lives for every single living thing-person, plant and animal! Their mission to improve lung health and prevent lung disease and If you don’t think THIS mission is of upmost importance- try living without air for a little while!

  5. November 10, 2010 7:22 am

    Thank you for mentioning our adoption program! This is a great list that I will gladly share. It makes you feel twice as good for giving!

  6. Madelyn permalink
    November 10, 2010 9:26 am

    To echo Danielle’s comment, this is a great list that I will gladly share! Thanks for putting it together!

  7. November 13, 2010 11:08 am

    I’m with you. Great list you’ve made. I had some others on my holiday wish list
    If all social-responsibility bloggers posted such gift lists, I bet we’d make a dent in the piles of wrapping paper and wasted shopping time. And make a big difference in the lives of other people. Spread the word!

  8. November 14, 2010 4:14 am

    Thanks for the article…

  9. November 15, 2010 8:39 am

    I would add the Huairou Commission to this list. Giving to the Huairou Commission means supporting grassroots women in their work to improve their lives. It means bringing their voices to inform international policy and empowering them to make decisions in their own lives.

    It is a unique opportunity to create meaningful and sustainable advances to ending poverty. Visit to learn more about the important work of the Huairou Commission and donate via at

    It is a totally worthwhile organization!

  10. November 15, 2010 10:59 am

    Thanks for including Oceana in this roundup of great gifts! Just wanted to post an updated link to our new and improved store –

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      November 15, 2010 12:28 pm

      Nice! Updated the link in the blog post.

  11. November 17, 2010 1:08 pm

    Add Ten Thousand Villages to the list. Shop at stores throughout the U.S. or online at Nonprofit fair trade stores support third-world artisans through purchasing their crafts, long term relationships and capacity-building. Selected as most ethical company for 2010, 2009, 2008… by Ethisphere.

  12. soaphope permalink
    November 18, 2010 9:56 am

    I’d also like to share Soap Hope, which sells all natural body care and household products and invests 100% of profits into antipoverty programs for women around the globe. Here’s a link to the holiday gift catalog: and the store is at Thank you!

  13. Sal permalink
    November 25, 2010 8:08 pm

    For the last few years I’ve given my family Kiva gift certificates for Christmas. I really like that it’s an interactive gift, and they can log on to the Kiva website and choose who to lend to, and stay engaged with the gift as they receive updates about the loan. And ultimately they may end up withdrawing the money from Kiva at some stage, but at least it will have helped people in different parts of the world, and my family will have learned more about what life is like for the working poor in these countries.

    I like this model better than the ‘goat gifts’ through various INGOs that I’ve received in the past because (a) I’m not convinced that the money can really be tracked to an end point of delivering goats (or pigs or cows or any other flavour of the moment), and if you read the fine print the INGOs often state that the gift may end up being used for other projects, and (b) I’m not personally engaged in the gift, and after reading the card I promptly forget even which organisation the gift was made through.

    This year I think I may try something different, lest I become too predictable. I like: Kopernik’s gift page as you can choose to support a specific project in a number of different countries. They are transparent in how funds are distributed, so I’m confident that the money will actually reach that community.


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