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11 Holiday Gift Programs That Benefit Nonprofits and Make the World A Better Place :: 2011 Edition

November 17, 2011

Many of us will purchase hundreds of dollars in holiday gifts over the next six weeks, and with some conscious consumerism those dollars could also help some of your favorite nonprofits continue their work in 2012. Now in it’s third year (View the 2009 Edition and 2010 Edition), the 11 holiday gift programs listed below benefit nonprofits and thus help make the world a better place:

1. 10,000 Villages Online Store: One of the world’s largest fair trade organizations and a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), 10,000 Villages offers gifts and accessories representing the diverse cultures of artisans from 38 countries. Your purchases help improve the lives of tens of thousands of artisans worldwide. [Shop 10,000 Villages]

2. Best Friends Animal Society Online Store: There’s no reason to shop at the big box pet stores for the animal lovers in your life this holiday season when you can purchase collars, treats, and toys directly from one of the best animal charities in the United States. [Shop Best Friends Animal Society]

3. CARE Packages: CARE has a very unique holiday gift program that allows you to compile care packages to send to women entrepreneurs and girls worldwide. As a group or as an individual, CARE Packages can help send girls in Afghanistan to school for a year, or help expectant mothers in Peru safely deliver. It’s fun and you’ll be bringing hope to girls and women around the world. [Send a CARE Package]

4. Concern Worldwide Gifts: When you buy Concern Gifts, you support Concern’s work in 25 countries worldwide – bringing food, clean water, good health, education and a higher standard of living within reach of more people. Although Concern is based in the U.K., their gift program also accepts U.S.-issued credit cards. [Shop Concern Gifts]

5. Feeding America Tribute Gifts: With poverty and food insecurity at record levels in the Untied States, it’s practically your patriotic duty to donate to Feeding America!  [Give a Feeding America Tribute Gift]

6. Jane Goodall Institute Online Store: You don’t have to be primate activist to shop at the JGI Online Store. Their store also offers jewelry, African art and music, and clothing. That said, there’s also some great gifts for the primate activists in your life.  [Shop the Jane Goodall Institute Online Store]

7. Kiva Cards: Starting a $25, Kiva Cards change lives. You can purchase Kiva Cards which then can be redeemed by your gift recipient to fund a loan of his or her choosing. A microfinance nonprofit working to uplift entrepreneurs out of poverty worldwide, this is great holiday gift for those subscribe to the belief of giving a hand-up, not a handout. [Buy Kiva Cards]

8. Save the Children Gifts of Joy: From ornaments  handmade in India to the sponsorship of a girl’s education in a developing nation to providing health snacks at school to children in the United States, Save the Children has put a together a great online catalog for giving this holiday season. [Give a Save the Children Gift of Joy]

9. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Online Store: If you have a family member or friend who supports saving the whales and dolphins from slaughter with direct action and activist intervention, then Sea Shepherd is a great choice for a holiday gift. The nonprofit behind Whale Wars, their online store also includes numerous items ideal for skaters, surfers, and other ocean-loving hipsters. [Shop Sea Shepherd]

10. Special Olympics Tribute Gifts: An excellent choice for the athletes in your life, Special Olympics Tribute Gifts enable those with intellectual disabilities to experience the power of sports to create champions. [Give a Special Olympics Tribute Gift]

11. Women for Women International’s Gifts That Give Back: Women for Women’s gifts enable you to empower women to rebuild their lives after the ravages of war. You can purchase everything from looms to farming supplies to books, rulers, and pencils which are then given in the name of your gift recipient to a woman in war-torn country.  [Give a Women for Women’s Gift That Gives Back]

Related Links:
Nine Holiday Card Programs That Benefit Nonprofits
11 Holiday Gift Programs That Benefit Nonprofits :: 2010 Edition
11 Holiday Gift Programs That Benefit Nonprofits :: 2009 Edition

115 Comments leave one →
  1. Danielle Sanders permalink
    November 17, 2011 1:04 pm

    This is great! I’m doing something similar on my blog as well, but I hadn’t heard of many of these! Thanks for sharing!

    ~Danielle
    http://www.cause-blog.com

    • November 27, 2011 6:41 am

      I just left a related post on my wordpress blog, also. I love the idea of buying with purpose! Some great ideas here.

  2. November 17, 2011 5:44 pm

    How can I get my international not for profit, Samaritan’s Feet, included in the list? We are providing shoes to underprivileged children worldwide, with over 300,000 distributed in 2011, but are barely making a dent in the 300 million children that wake up each day without a pair of shoes to call their own.

  3. November 17, 2011 7:10 pm

    i love it. well done.

  4. November 17, 2011 8:22 pm

    Here is another one to add your list, the RSPCA gifts at http://www.rspcagifts.org.au – You can give a Christmas card to your loved one while helping Australia animals.

  5. November 18, 2011 3:44 pm

    Global Handmade Hope http://www.globalhandmadehope.com carries Fair Trade items from around the world, as well as unique items created in the USA by social enterprises. In addition, we reach out to various charities in each country and community we work in. We pray that God will use and direct our efforts so that we may be of the greatest service. We might not be a non-profit but our efforts to sell fair trade products has bettered the lives of many families that otherwise may have never had the opportunity.

  6. Rob permalink
    November 21, 2011 5:27 am

    Very nice list. Also check out COTAP http://cotap.org/gifts/

  7. November 21, 2011 7:43 am

    Another great one is World Vision’s Gift Catalog: http://www.worldvision.org/content.nsf/pages/unique-gift-catalogs-for-gift-giving?Open

  8. November 22, 2011 4:46 am

    Any publicity given to non-profits is helpful. This is the time of year to reach everyone’s heartstrings. It is nice to see you included local organizations like Special Olympics and Feed America.
    Every year our small foster care agency tries to solicit donations from
    the local community with limited success. This year, we are working with
    Cauzoom.com/project/devereux-therapeutic-fostercare, a platform for helping fund local social projects.

  9. November 22, 2011 11:19 am

    In so many ways you make a difference in the lives of women and girls.HOW can my organization join you so as to bring change and improve the lives of women and girls in Africa and around the world?

  10. November 23, 2011 11:15 am

    What an amazingly cool, timely and IMPORTANT post. Thank you for compiling this info — I’m a huge fan of making a difference through gifts…
    :)

  11. November 23, 2011 11:29 am

    Then there’s the tried and true method of shopping at thrift stores that donate their proceeds. In San Francisco, Community Thrift’s sales benefit dozens of local nonprofits: anyone who leaves something for consignment chooses where money from that sale goes.

  12. November 23, 2011 12:20 pm

    Heifer.org is a great one weve used, I was pleasantly surprised at how excited kids were with the thought of helping – for $100 a sheep will be sent to a village.

  13. sabihanoor permalink
    November 23, 2011 12:24 pm

    thanx for sharing:)

  14. November 23, 2011 12:52 pm

    Wonderful post! I actually just heard about Best Friends Animal Society and am on their mailing list. I am also glad to hear about the Jane Goodall Institute store.

    Thanks for sharing and you just got a new follower! :)

  15. Matt permalink
    November 23, 2011 12:59 pm

    Good suggestions! I especially like #2.

  16. November 23, 2011 3:00 pm

    Great to see so many people supporting nonprofits and conscience salving gifts

  17. Red Toenails permalink
    November 23, 2011 3:31 pm

    Good ideas. Thanks.

    Dita

  18. November 23, 2011 3:40 pm

    This is really inspiring. Especially now that the holiday season is upon us, it is ever so important to focus on how we can make a difference in people’s lives. So much money is spent on materialistic things, and not enough on what people of all economic statuses actually need to live their lives.

  19. November 23, 2011 3:50 pm

    What an awesome list! I love the Kiva gift cards, and can recommend a gift specifically created to go with the Kiva card in an effort to engage children in philanthropy and then learning about the parts of the world that need their help. Check out the Global giving Bags at http://www.pennyjarkids.com!

  20. November 23, 2011 4:30 pm

    bead for life is also great. i volunteered in uganda for a month in 2008 (with grandmothers beyond borders) and we taught the elderly how to make these simple beads out of paper. though theirs were a bit childlike looking, the ones from this website are very professional and gorgeous! I get compliments every time i wear them.

    http://www.beadforlife.org/indexB.html

  21. Felicia Renee permalink
    November 23, 2011 4:42 pm

    This is wonderful! There are so many great organizations to give to, it’s nice to have a list geared specifically toward the holidays. I will be sharing with my friends. Thank you for your thoughtful work:)

  22. November 23, 2011 4:44 pm

    Thank you for this post; this is probably one of the most important freshly pressed selections during the holidays. I think alot of people do want to help out, they just don’t know where to go to do so. This list will definitely help. :)

  23. November 23, 2011 5:19 pm

    What a great share! Way to put your blog to good use!

  24. November 23, 2011 6:25 pm

    Excellent ideas here … and I must link this post. Well done.

  25. November 23, 2011 6:38 pm

    Great ideas. Who needs another sweater when you could be helping someone with a genuine need?

  26. November 23, 2011 7:51 pm

    Terrifically relevant posting. Have these non-profits been vetted to see how much actually goes to the needy and how much is eaten up in administrative overhead?

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      November 24, 2011 6:14 am

      Yes… they have:

      http://www.charitynavigator.org/

      And honestly, it’s a bit a myth that nonprofits misuse funds… it’s always the one out of 100,000 that we hear about. Pet peeve of mine.:)

      • November 25, 2011 6:21 pm

        I read an excellent column about a year ago that took issue with the concern over administrative overhead. The writer’s perspective was that people who work in non-profits are tackling some of the most difficult and intractable problems of our time. To do that, we need good minds, educated minds, and committed people. But these people still need to live — they don’t expect to be paid on par with corporate rates, but it’s not greedy of them to want to provide for their families.

        Many non-profits hire people directly out of university who are looking for opportunities to learn and build their resumes. But many leave just as they’re getting good at their jobs. Or they stick around for a few years, but leave when they start families because they need better pay and benefits. But then money is not spent efficiently because of the time constantly invested and reinvested in hiring and training, when senior staff could be using their time to do the organization’s real work and junior staff could just be doing their jobs more efficiently once they’ve been there for a while.

        How are non-profits to work effectively toward solving some of the world’s most difficult problems if their experienced workers are always on their way out the door, and the people replacing them are constantly having to reinvent the wheel in order to get through a day? It’s penny wise and pound foolish, and there are better ways to evaluate whether an organization is on the up and up. ound-foolish thinking. aff directly outt of uncevirsiyt skilledpeopel are so concerned

  27. November 23, 2011 8:34 pm

    How impressive that your readers all have charities that they support. Mine is SHAREAFRICA.ORG. For $500.00 a year you can support an orphan’s school, uniforms, food and books. All the orphans in this program lost their parents to AIDS.

    Ronnie

  28. November 23, 2011 10:10 pm

    Great ideas! I love Ten Thousand Villages – both website and local stores (don’t forget our local economies too) Thanks for posting.

  29. November 23, 2011 10:51 pm

    Very inspiring.

  30. November 23, 2011 11:38 pm

    Thank you for sharing this information with us. If we could turn the crazy Christmas shopping pandemic into one that serves these sorts of charities, Christmas would become a more tolerable holiday for me as opposed to one that is devoted to consumption and wasteful products that litter tomorrows bins. Well done!

  31. November 24, 2011 12:06 am

    Good suggestion and thanks for the goodwill and compassion for the those in most need. Just imagine an orphan in rural Masaka who will go without even a good meal, no cloth but only to grief in pain remembering the fallen parents due to HIV/AIDS. Please join me provide Christmas gifts to 100 orphans in Masaka. Donate now on my project page: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/christmas-gifts-for-100-orphans-in-masaka/

  32. November 24, 2011 2:07 am

    Great post. Hope it brings some extra revenue for the featured nonprofits.

    Cheers, Marc.

  33. November 24, 2011 3:08 am

    This is fantastic! Please show some support back and Check out my blog! xoxo Indie Evie

  34. Sylvia permalink
    November 24, 2011 4:05 am

    Not sure it it was mentioned yet, but Heifer International is a great organization that really gives back. http://www.heifer.org/.

  35. November 24, 2011 5:11 am

    As a Senior blessed with a certain amount of financial success in my business life, I find the majority of these so called non-profit programs a scam. In most cases, the handling costs by the administrators of these programs are accomplished by professional thieves. In lesser cases, one would be fortunate to see ten percent of their gift actually go to where it is earmarked to go.

    My suggestion, look around your own community. Where you see a need, fill it. Blessings to each and every one of you this wonderful Thanksgiving day.

  36. November 24, 2011 5:40 am

    Thank-you for the this most! this is great

  37. nonprofitorgs permalink
    November 24, 2011 6:16 am

    Thanks everyone! Warms my heart to see so many people supportive of nonprofits.:)

  38. November 24, 2011 7:20 am

    Thankyou for posting! God bless and Happy Thanksgiving

  39. November 24, 2011 8:56 am

    Happy Thanksgiving! If you are a technical skills based volunteer in the New York metro area, consider one of our projects! Our list is growing everyday:

    http://nychandsontech.wordpress.com/project-directory/

  40. November 24, 2011 9:31 am

    Thank you for the fantastic information. Can’t wait to start shopping!

  41. November 24, 2011 10:10 am

    Reblogged this on Make Something Every Day and commented:
    Another very cool post from freshly pressed this morning!

  42. November 24, 2011 10:43 am

    Thanks everyone

  43. November 24, 2011 11:58 am

    Yeah, a very good way to make interesting and individual gifts to everyone and to help in addition other people. PEACE to the World.

  44. November 24, 2011 1:16 pm

    This is a great list and I’ve opened up the links to check out what they’re about and think that it’s a wonderful way to give during the season.

  45. November 24, 2011 2:29 pm

    Nice that more have written tips on charities. Good! Thanks.

  46. November 24, 2011 2:51 pm

    Wow, I really enjoyed checking out some of your links! Very good to keep in mind for pretty much any occasion. Thank you for sharing!

  47. November 24, 2011 5:26 pm

    the 10,000 villages online store is a fantastic find thank you for that;
    My wife was eye balling this

    Maybe Santa will take a little trip to that village this Christmas
    Cheers,
    -Ron

  48. November 24, 2011 5:31 pm

    Thanks for this post. May I also add humanheartnature.com– a line of organic personal care products which benefit poor farmers in the Philippines.

  49. November 24, 2011 5:35 pm

    These are great ideas. I’m going to definitely have to jump on board!

  50. November 24, 2011 5:41 pm

    Thanks – I always love checking out new charities. Charity Water is one of my more recent favorites and Kiva cards have been big hits with friends.

  51. November 24, 2011 7:36 pm

    Great article. I’m quite familiar with Ten Thousand Villages and its association with the Mennonite Central Committee.

    I was raised in a county that has roots in Mennonite-German history..in southern Ontario. I visited with a close friend in a rural area over 15 yrs. ago outside of Kitchener-Waterloo, the Canadian national headquarters, warehouse for Ten thousand Villages.

    So yes, I have bought from them over th years. Their stuff is great.

  52. November 24, 2011 7:50 pm

    Love it! Thanks

  53. November 24, 2011 9:22 pm

    I’m not affiliated with them, though charity: water is a non-profit organization that provides clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries worldwide. Instead of asking for a Christmas gift this season, I think it would be nice if people created a campaign and asked for their gift as a donation of 1 to 2 dollars. You can check out everything here – http://www.charitywater.org
    Ashley

  54. November 25, 2011 12:19 am

    well done

  55. November 25, 2011 5:42 am

    This is a fantastic site! Yesterday, I blogged a list of ten commitments for this festive season and one of them is about giving in the way you have described. I am so pleased that you have pulled so many options together! It makes it so easy for people to work out which one(s) they would like to give through. I will add a link to your site into my list of ten.
    Thank you!

  56. Nivedha Ram permalink
    November 25, 2011 6:58 am

    thanks for sharing! this is great!!! Come visit my blog (creative writing) at thoughtcreator.wordpress.com!!

  57. November 25, 2011 9:14 am

    what great programs!

  58. November 25, 2011 10:38 am

    Awesome blog post @nonprofitorgs! Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) is also another great organization.

    Check out Two time Olympic Gold Medalist Catriona Le May Doan delivering gifts to children in need:

    http://bit.ly/t9N1Hk

  59. November 25, 2011 12:52 pm

    A nice list. I’m using Heifer International this year to send livestock to families in third world countries in honor of my friends and family.

  60. Linda permalink
    November 25, 2011 2:32 pm

    Need for more posts and thoughts like this!

  61. November 25, 2011 7:30 pm

    Thank you for sharing this!!! It is amazing what we can do for others simply by checking off our christmas list!!

  62. November 25, 2011 10:01 pm

    Great list, thanks for reminding us how to keep it real this holiday season!

  63. November 26, 2011 5:33 am

    SIRIP (Somalia Interactive Radio Instruction Program) also exists. As a performing artist, I organized and performed in a fundraiser for SIRIP a couple of years back. Felt fabulous raising 1,000 Euro and handing it over to a trustworthy person(my friend in charge of the program) in order to purchase radios (for educational purposes for young girls in war ravaged Somalia.)
    I am zooming in on your Care Package and Feeding America Tribute Gifts. Doing just a little does a lot! Thank you for submitting this article.

  64. November 26, 2011 5:34 am

    Thank you for this superbly timed post. I’ll be saving this page in my favourites so I can sort out my presents in the next week or so. Cheers and Merry Christmas to you!

  65. November 26, 2011 8:24 am

    More gift ideas without a Big Box store.

  66. November 26, 2011 11:46 am

    I really like all the options listed here! Remember too that giving money to service nonprofits like child advocacy centers or boys/girls clubs can provide a great deal to the Community.

  67. November 26, 2011 11:59 am

    I bookmarked this:)

  68. November 26, 2011 12:33 pm

    Great ideas! Well done!

  69. November 26, 2011 2:41 pm

    *Soul to Soul and Hand in Hand for World Peace & Human Rights!

    Please Follow

    @twittonpeace

  70. November 26, 2011 4:31 pm

    I am often encouraging my friends and family to shop small, shop grateful, shop thoughtful, shop mindful. I am just now starting my own small photography business (not non-profit), but as a foster parent for over 20 years, as I start to make profit, I pledge to give back to a program here in Seattle that gives all the extras that foster kids need…clothes like their friends, tutoring, little wishes (extracurricular activities and camp), etc. My kids have been receipients of wonderful help and I’m hoping to help many other kids. As the ad says, “Not everyone can be a foster parent, but anyone can help a foster child.” I love this list and will be sharing with everyone I know.

  71. November 26, 2011 4:56 pm

    Great list. I have participated with the crafts trade myself.

  72. November 26, 2011 6:13 pm

    What a great list! I completely agree with your philosophy and try my best to give back by volunteering here in MN and abroad. I also sell handmade scarves, yak hair blankets and other treasures from Nepal for a fabulous small NGO called HANDS IN NEPAL and am hosting a few parties for friends so they can shop for a cause. All proceeds go directly to Hands in Nepal. I will definitely check out your list above as I truly like the idea of giving a gift in return. Thanks for the wonderful list!

  73. November 26, 2011 9:31 pm

    Thank you for reminding us that Christmas shopping doesn’t have to fill us with dread.

  74. sunclarabest permalink
    November 26, 2011 10:10 pm

    thank you

  75. November 26, 2011 10:36 pm

    Bookmarked!:)

    http://www.sheiktrends.com worlds largest sex toy adult products store!

  76. November 27, 2011 12:20 am

    So many great options in this post and even more in the comments. Thanks so much for posting.

  77. November 27, 2011 5:21 am

    Now this is what the holiday season should be all about! . . . Thank you for sharing!!

    http://arabianmusings.wordpress.com/

  78. November 27, 2011 7:22 am

    It is nice to have this information in one place. I have given money to Heifer International and Central Asia Institute in others’ name. Compiling these organizations in one place helps a busy shopping time.

  79. November 27, 2011 9:18 am

    This is amazing. One of the best posts I’ve come across in awhile. These are all amazing programs. Thanks for compiling them all into one great list!

  80. November 27, 2011 4:46 pm

    i love this idea! i love this blog! such a great place to find charities! Thank you!

  81. November 27, 2011 6:59 pm

    Thank you very very much.

  82. November 27, 2011 7:24 pm

    It can often be extremely difficult for non-profits to raise money, or even awareness, from a new constituency and so these non-profits will certainly appreciate your post. Well done.

  83. November 27, 2011 8:21 pm

    amazing………………………..

  84. November 27, 2011 11:49 pm

    I like all the options listed here! Remember too that giving money to service nonprofits like child advocacy centers or boys/girls clubs can provide a great deal to the Community.

  85. November 28, 2011 1:26 am

    Wow, Great gifts listing!! There are some promotion as gift to you too!! Welcome to visit my blog!

  86. Cave Story permalink
    November 28, 2011 2:14 am

    Always full support for charity!

  87. November 28, 2011 5:38 am

    This is fantastic! I’ve never come across a post like this and it was such a nice surprise to find someone thinking not only like a typical consumer but also as a person who believes there is something to do to help others!

    Loved this really much! Got me thinking what could I buy to support not only teh product but also an idea. Thank you for sharing!

    http://dressupforme.wordpress.com/

  88. November 28, 2011 5:53 am

    This is great! So much better than another sweater:-)

  89. November 28, 2011 9:26 am

    Thank you for including Feeding America in your post. We appreciate all of your support!

    – Ryan Young (http://feedingamerica.org)

  90. November 28, 2011 10:02 am

    I love charities. Every time you give a charity,you prove to yourself that that you are not selfish and that you care for the people around you.I like Unicef.What is your favourite charity?

  91. November 29, 2011 4:36 am

    I love this article and believe everyone can do their part to help the less fortunate.
    Can I include your article on my site http://www.goodideasforchristmasgifts.com to share it with more people?

    Speak soon

  92. November 29, 2011 9:53 am

    Great list! We’ve got an online store also http://shop.amnestyusa.org where we sell fair trade and ethically made products many of which support indigenous communities around the world.

  93. December 2, 2011 1:20 am

    This is fantastic!!! A real gem of information – shall have to bookmark!
    I am currently involved in a fundraising endeavor for which I have created a dedicated gallery of 100 pieces of my photographic work going at cost + £10 There are posters or also 60 piece puzzles available, making for lovely presents as well. Here a bit more information http://www.oneoneoneone.org/profiles/view.php?id=31 ~ Tina

  94. December 2, 2011 9:06 am

    This is a great article! I’ve written a few things similar to it but this is a good list of nonprofits! Thanks for sharing!

    http://stellarstories.wordpress.com/

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