Give the gift of giving in card form

A girl receives a gift from Heifer.org, a Web site which promotes subsistence farming.


Scott Jagow: Here's something positive. A new report says U.S. charitable foundations are giving money to international causes at a record level. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation accounts for a lot of that increase, but not all. It might be tough for that to continue with all this economic fallout. But if you're thinking about a donation, maybe consider this: Gift cards for charities. From the Entrepreneurship Desk at Oregon Public Broadcasting, Mitchell Hartman reports.

Mitchell Hartman: A few years back, my family gave regularly to a charity that promotes subsistence farming. At holiday time, instead of a fancy scarf, Grandma would get a card in the mail, saying a poor family in El Salvador had gotten a donkey in her name.

These days, we could get Grandma a charity gift card instead. Erik Marks, founder of TisBest.org, says she would go online.

Erik Marks: And decide not only is it a sheep or a pig or a goat. But maybe I don't want to give a farm animal, what I really want to do is protect some Arctic wildlife.

Marks' new Web site links to 250 charities. You can find thousands more at sites like NetworkForGood and JustGive.org.

Stacy Palmer edits The Chronicle of Philanthropy:

Stacy Palmer: I definitely think corporations and everybody's going to look for a way to help charity if they can through their gifts, because it's both a better image and there's real need out there.

Palmer says this holiday season, no one wants to receive a worthless tchotchke from a boss or vendor that's just destined for the dustbin.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

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Charity Checks Giving Certificates offers a way to give the joy of giving that can be used without going on line.

You get the tax deduction; the recipient gets to choose the charity.

The Giving Certificate is a valid bank check, and 100% of the face value goes to the charity as soon as it is deposited. The only charge is for shipping.

Charity Checks is volunteer-run and was the first to offer this service, back in 2000.

Just wanted to let everyone know: http://www.charitychecks.us

PS: There is also a Charitable Literacy program that brings hands-on philanthropy into the classroom: http://www.charitableliteracy.org

The fictional character from the 1946 film, It’s a Wonderful Life, is coming to real life in Cincinnati. A sum of $8,000 in donations is being sought to start the George and Mary Bailey Humanitarian Society for the purpose of helping lower-income or over-extended working families get through the hard economic times.

You can also make a gift donation in someone’s name and receive a certificate for giving.

To make a donation and become an ‘Angel,’ complete with wings and bell ringing, go to http://www.georgebailey.org and click on the ‘Donate’ button or send through the mail. Contribution levels range from “two simoleons” (two dollars) to $25,000 – both references to amounts mentioned in the movie.

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