As the end of the year approaches, so does the gift-giving tradition. From the rush leading up to the festivities to last-minute sales at the mall, there are lots of opportunities to find the perfect present for friends and family. This holiday season, try giving a gift that doesn’t require a receipt. Here’s a list of charities offering gifts that genuinely improve people’s lives. Of course, these aren’t the only charities out there— just some of many we find inspiring!
Gifts To Feel Good Giving
Alternate Gifts International: Give a gift that’s guaranteed to not be returned this season. From options like literacy training in Haiti to bicycles in Africa, donors can pick a gift that inspires them most, no ribbon required.
Animal Welfare Institute: Let’s not forget our furry friends this December! The Animal Welfare Institute helps animals in a variety of ways, like promoting the development of non-animal testing methods and preventing pet abuse. Informing others about these issues is a great way to start returning the puppy love.
Canstruction: Who knew a work of art could also provide food for the hungry? Canstruction is a one-of-a-kind food charity— they use canned food donations to create public art exhibits, and then distribute the cans to local food banks. The canstructing takes place in a bunch of cities throughout the USA.
charity: water: This organization aims to provide clean and safe drinking water in developing nations. And this holiday season, they have a special holiday guide to keep everyone hydrated and healthy. All proceeds go directly to clean water projects.
Donors Choose: Browse requests from public school teachers who need supplies for their classroom, whether that means microscope slides, colored pencils, or violins. Every donor receives photos and thank you letters, showing teachers have put the money to good use.
Heifer International: While we may not want a cow wrapped up and waiting for us this season, livestock can be an ideal gift in a developing country. The animals are called “living loans,” and once a family receives their livestock, they agree to give one of its offspring to another family. The process creates an expanding network of nourishment, encouragement, and hope.
Kiva: How to Succeed In Business isn’t just a musical— it’s also a way to fight poverty. This microfinance platform helps people create their own businesses; the loans go to entrepreneurs who don’t have access to traditional banking systems. Loaners receive progress updates from the borrower, who eventually pays them back.
Krochet Kids International: The cold temps have arrived, but that doesn’t mean those ugly holiday sweaters have to come out, too. Instead, purchase a crocheted hat or hoodie that will not only keep us warm, but may also help change a life. Browse Krochet Kids International’s headwear and other fashion accessories made by women in Northern Uganda and Peru. Proceeds go toward providing food and water for families, and help the women start small businesses of their own.
Little Kids Rock: Imagine going to school without getting to try out a new instrument, sing with a choir, or rock out to R&B and hip-hop. (Kids study Beyonce in school, right?) Little Kids Rock turns the volume back up in public schools that have lost funding for music programs. To keep the creativity flowing, supporters can fund raise at an upcoming event, or apply to become a teacher!
Philanthroper: Instead of getting 60 percent off a cooking class on Groupon, check out this do-gooder deal site. Philanthroper features opportunities to benefit a new nonprofit every day. Donate a dollar to a unique charity— one of our favorites is Table for Two, which aims to reduce excess food on our plates and fill empty stomachs in Africa.
RedLight Children: Human trafficking is a serious international crisis. More than one million people are living in sexual slavery or forced labor, and RedLight Children wants to end the problem. Make a donation or raise awareness about trafficking to fight practices that could be happening in our own cities.
Salvation Army: We know the holidays have arrived when Salvation Army Santas start ringing their bells on the street. So don’t hesitate to drop some money in that red kettle (or start a new collection campaign!)— this international charity fights human trafficking, provides summer camps for youth, gives financial aid to low-income and homeless families, and works in refugee camps. Talk about an army doing good.
Smile Train: Most of us have spent money on something special: a pair of boots, a plane ticket, or the new iPhone 7 (wait, what?!). What if that next purchase could help improve a child’s future? Donations to Smile Train help fund surgeries for children with cleft palates, many who cannot eat or speak properly. One surgery is all it takes to repair the problem— now that’s a reason to smile this holiday season!
Stop Hunger Now: This international hunger relief organization distributes food around the world. Their meal packaging program brings nutritious meals (high in protein!) to developing countries. They also run a packaging event where volunteers can really get in on the action.
Task Force For Global Health: These guys are on a mission to cross off a major to-do: improving public health systems throughout the globe. From distributing medicine to control disease to managing health programs worldwide, the team provides resources for those who need it most. Donations help fund successful projects all over the world.
The American Cancer Society: The American Cancer Society sword represents the crusade against cancer. The organization educates people on how to stay well, fight back, and find cures. Night owls can even sign up for the next Relay for Life and fight cancer overnight!
The American Red Cross: U.S. crises, from Hurricane Katrina to the Tuscaloosa tornadoes, prove disaster can happen when least expected. Thankfully, the American Red Cross is prepared to provide emergency assistance and disaster relief. Giving blood or volunteering locally are great ways to contribute in all corners of the country.
TOMS Shoes: Want to stay fashionable and hip while also helping someone less fortunate? Buy a pair of TOMS shoes, and they’ll give another pair to a child in need. For the ladies that love some holiday sparkle, be sure to browse their new glitter styles!
Two Degrees: This organization keeps stomachs satisfied. Every time someone purchases a delicious nutrition bar (try the chocolate peanut!), Two Degrees gives a malnourished child a nutrition pack— a ready-to-eat meal loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients.
United Way Worldwide: Move aside, Miss Independent— United Way believes we’re all connected. The organization focuses on improving global education, financial stability, and health by making changes in big systems. Contributing just $10 helps people get vaccines or fresh water.
Vitamin Angels: Turns out those Flintstone vitamins some of us took as kids aren’t in every kitchen pantry. Vitamin Angels works to fix that, providing essential nutrients to infants and young children who need it most. The organization even hosts offbeat events like road races that let everyone show their support.
Have you contributed to any of these charities? Which is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!