Give Donations as Gifts this Holiday Season: 15 Charities You Can Help

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Christmas time is here. I just finished watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and I’m officially in holiday mode. While watching the movie I couldn’t help but think about the specifics behind gift giving and how necessary it really is.

Far too often when we get a present for the holidays, it stays in our lives for weeks, months, maybe some years and then it drifts away to the back of a closet or the basement attic. Collecting dust and creating clutter, the present may be found sometime down the road for a tiny burst of nostalgia, but these instances are few and far between.

I’ve realized a sad fact. I can’t remember five times in my life where I felt a present I received had a long-standing effect on my life. Maybe I need new friends and family with better gift-giving skills, but I think this is a pretty universal idea for too many people.

So what should you do if you don’t want to add to the pile of junk in your friend’s closet this holiday season? Give a donation.

Charitable donations on the behalf of an individual are a much more effective use of money and can also create a strong connection between the giver and receiver over a social issue. These presents may not have the wow factor on Christmas morning, but it’s almost guaranteed to have a bigger and far-reaching impact in the long run.

Giving charitable donations on the behalf of a friend or family member is a way to educate and spread the word about a charity or non-profit organization that is close to your heart. Perhaps, your friend doesn’t know about the need for coats for the homeless in your town. When you make a $100 donation in their name, that person will probably tell his or her friends about your unique present idea. This spreads the organization’s message exponentially faster than you donating money yourself.

Donating to a charity isn’t a cop-out for a real present. It’s a way to make an impact on society with your resources, while simultaneously educating others.

Sorting through the thousands of charities and non-profit organizations can be a daunting task so I’ve done the grunt work for you. Here are 15 charities you should consider donating to on the behalf of friends or family this holiday season.

I’ve also included links to each organizations Twitter and Facebook. If you’re not going to donate this season, please add them on both social networking sites to help spread their message!

World Vision is a world-wide organization that sets out to fight poverty and injustice. Learn about the many ways you can donate and give this holiday season.

Twitter: @WorldVisionUSA

Facebook: World Vision

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Kiva provides loans to low-income entrepreneurs in underdeveloped countries. Their website is well organized and they provide email updates about the entrepreneur you sponsored which is a fun way to follow the progress of your loan. They provide gift certificates and other gifts just in time for the holidays.

Twitter: @Kiva

Facebook: Kiva


Heifer International provides livestock, training, and other services to small-scale farmers and communities around the globe with the goal of ending world poverty. You can make a donation on their website and then send a gift card or e-card to friends as a present for the holidays.

Twitter: @Heifer

Facebook: Heifer International

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Since 1982 Susan G. Komen for the Cure has invested more than $1.5 billion to fufill its promise to end breast cancer forever. Their website provides numerous ways to donate and is a great gift on behalf of a great organization.

Twitter: @Komenforthecure

Facebook: Susan G. Komen for the Cure

SafePlace | Ending Sexual & Domestic Violence

Safe Place provides help for men, women, or children who have suffered from domestic or sexual violence. They provide programs, counseling, and education within communities. Check out their Give section for more information on how you can help.

Twitter: @SafePlaceTweets

Facebook: Safe Place

American Red Cross

American Red Cross provides a variety of services. From their website: “in addition to domestic disaster relief, the American Red Cross offers compassionate services in five other areas: community services that help the needy; support and comfort for military members and their families; the collection, processing and distribution of lifesaving blood and blood products; educational programs that promote health and safety; and international relief and development programs.” Donate to the Red Cross here.

Twitter: @RedCross

Facebook: Red Cross


The Salvation Army is one of the most prominent organizations in America with their famous bell ringing during the holidays. This list shows the many ways they help communities and individuals while this list tells you how you can give on behalf of another this December.

Twitter: @SalvationArmy

Facebook: Salvation Army


The Special Olympics provides athletic opportunities all over the world for mentally handicapped indivduals. They provide a page for giving on their website.

Twitter: @SpecialOlympics

Facebook: Special Olympics

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The Goodwill provides employment opportunities for thousands of individuals all over America with their second-hand stores. Learn how you can make a contribution this holiday here.

Twitter: @GoodwillIntl

Facebook: Goodwill

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The Boys and Girls Club gives children a chance to connect with an older individual and get out of the house and into the community. They provide numerous opportunities across the nation and donation information is available here.

Twitter: @BGCA_Clubs

Facebook: Boys and Girls Club

Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is an organization that is seeking to eliminate poverty. They have built and rehabilitated over 300,000 homes since 1976. Learn how you can contribute here.

Twitter: @Habitat_org

Facebook: Habitat for Humanity

Feed The Children ®  It's who we are. It's what we do.

Feed the Children is an “international, nonprofit relief organization with headquarters in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, that delivers food, medicine, clothing and other necessities to individuals, children and families who lack these essentials due to famine, war, poverty, or natural disaster”. You can make a donation here or give through their store here.

Twitter: @feedthechildren

Facebook: Feed the Children

With Wings and a Halo has a unique program that allows police officers and first respondents to provide a red backpack of 10-12 books to any children of an accident, fire, domestic disturbance, or other stressful situation. So far they’ve donated 45,000 books to children in the midwest. Learn more about the program and visit their donation page.

Twitter: @reachachild

Facebook: With Wings and a Halo

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The ASPCA fights for the prevention of cruelty to animals. They have multiple means for donation available on their site.

Twitter: @aspca

Facebook: ASPCA

The Humane Society also fights for animal rights. With over 11 million Americans members the Humane Society fight “cruelty, exploitation and neglect”. Learn how to donate a gift this holiday season here.

Twitter: @HumaneSociety

Facebook: Humane Society

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A lot of times the efficiency of a non-profit or charity is a concern of donors. Forbes has a helpful list of the top 200 charities in the U.S. with a breakdown of where their money goes. Listed is how much the top earner makes, expenses, revenue, and fundraising efficiency. Definitely consult this list before you make your donation on behalf of friends and family this holiday season.

The holidays are less than 3 weeks away but you can give to any of these charities in less than 15 minutes. It may not be the perfect gift for everyone, but find the generous person in your life who would not only enjoy a donation on their behalf, but would then go out of their way to spread that organization’s message to friends and family.

Happy holidays!

*Special holidays bonus, if you donate on behalf of a friend or family member to one of these organizations up until Christmas, leave a comment below with your donation amount and the organization. I’ll keep a running tally updated on this post so we can see our progress grow!*

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What are some of your favorite charities and non-profit organizations that I missed? Leave a comment below to inform the readers of more charity options.Thanks!

Photo by R. Motti

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1 Comment

  1. I have found motivational quotes to be very helpful. The key is to use the ones that work for yourself, of course. Thanks!

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