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Meaningful Gifts for Everyday Giving
Giving doesn't stop with the holidays. Whether it's your cousin's wedding, your best friend's birthday, or your grandparents' anniversary, there's always an occasion for giving gifts. Here are three ways you can easily give and receive.
Say "I Do" to Charitable Weddings
The I Do Foundation helps couples take the word "engaged" to a whole new level. As the nation's first wedding-focused nonprofit, the organization offers grooms- and brides-to-be a way to celebrate their wedding and give back to their communities. These days, weddings aren't cheap. With an average price tag of $28,000, more and more socially conscious couples welcome the spirit of generosity at their event, said Executive Director Bethany Robertson. "It's an opportunity for them to think about and express their values early on and engage in a conversation about giving back."
In addition to personalized wedding websites and tips for eco-friendly events, the I Do Foundation helps couples raise donations for charity. If you are planning your own wedding or participating in one, here are some ideas you can find on their site:
- Charity Registries: As the wedding couple, you can give your guests the option of donating to your favorite cause, in lieu of gifts.
- Gift Registries That Give Back: Need the salad spinner after all? When you include the I Do Foundation's retail partners on your registry, they will donate up to 8 percent of all spending to the charity you choose.
- Charitable Favors: Forget the Jordan almonds. You can make donations on behalf of your guests, placing gift cards at their table instead of traditional favors.
To learn more, visit www.IDoFoundation.org.
Become an Everyday Philanthropist
Want to say "Thanks for your hard work" or "I was thinking of you"? Try a charity gift certificate -- a quick fix for any gift-giving occasion. On JustGive.org, you can search a charities database powered by GuideStar or browse 19 cause-related categories in the JustGive Guide.
Make a Small Loan and a Big Change
Here's a twist on giving gifts: Make a loan instead.
The web-based nonprofit Kiva helps individuals make $25 microfinance loans to low-income entrepreneurs in the developing world. By doing so, donors provide working capital for the poor, empowering them to earn their way out of poverty. Your spare change might pay for a sewing machine, vehicle repairs, hardware, or livestock -- something that is going to improve the business of an entrepreneur in need. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6 to 12 months) you receive e-mail updates from the business you've sponsored -- and as loans are repaid, you get your money back.
For more information, visit www.kiva.org.
Based in Kula, Hawaii, Elaine Gast is a writer and communications consultant for nonprofits, foundations, membership associations, businesses, and individuals. She has authored six books, contributed to Fodor's Travel Publications, and published articles in numerous magazines and newspapers. Elaine is president of Four Winds Writing, Inc.