5 Ways to Give Back While You Holiday Shop

Still shopping for those perfect holiday gifts?


Shop smarter—not harder—and give back with these simple gifting, shipping and shopping solutions.

1. Give back the old-fashioned digital way

Order your last-minute gifts through AmazonSmile, a new website offering the same selection, pricing and convenience of Amazon.com with a great catch: 0.5 percent of the purchase price is donated to the eligible charitable organization of your choice. There are more than one million public charitable organizations to choose from, and it’s a win-win for both organizations and customers, with the service at no extra cost to either party. It’s easy enough to use, with a shopping experience identical to the original Amazon. So feel good about your desperation in searching for that hot new Rainbow Loom for your little one—you’re giving back too!

2. Earn philanthropic rewards on purchases

Use a charity credit card to earn philanthropic rewards on the purchases you’re already making. Like all affinity credit cards, you can show love for something dear to you—and bring more joy to someone else than a daily dose of Mickey Mouse’s mug to you.

Cause credit cards, like Target’s REDcard, which benefits educational programming, automatically donate a portion of each transaction to the linked charity. Or skip the middleman and rack up those cash rewards from holiday purchases on your personal credit card and donate them directly to the charity of your choice.

3. Ship for schools

Can’t make it to this year’s family celebration, but still want to ensure nieces, nephews and grandchildren get the gifts their little hearts’ desire? Ship using FedEx’s One Rate through December 23, and FedEx will donate $1 to Teach For America. The FedEx One Rate, Countless Possibilities Through Education program, announced earlier this month, will help fund training for nearly 11,000 teachers in underserved communities across the country.

Already on top of your long distance gifting? Simply use the hashtag #countlesspossibilities on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, and FedEx will donate another $1 to the cause.

4. Let your loved one choose to give

Send a gift card and let the recipient of your generosity choose where to share theirs. DonorsChoose.org is a citizen philanthropy that connects donors to individual classroom teachers who need specific technology, supplies and materials for their public school classroom. Requests range from the basic (classroom supplies like construction paper or glue sticks) to the ambitious, including a MakerBot 3D printer to print students’ lifelike engineering models.

There is no minimum donation, and you’ll know your gift is making a difference with feedback and thank-you cards from the children directly impacted. Send a gift card to your loved one, and let them pick a project close to their heart.

GlobalGiving, Universal Giving and Benevolent all offer similar gift-card options for more generalized giving.

5. And don’t forget the card!

If you’re missing one of the integral pieces of gift-giving—the thoughtful card—the Women’s Board of the Hadley School for the Blind has you covered with its annual Braille Holiday Card Sale. The 2013 card (pictured above) features a winter landscape with a white house and trees decorated with holiday lights.

The Women’s Board is also offering a personalized photo card; customers can submit their favorite photo for print on the front of the card with a personalized inscription. The cards are available on site at the school (700 Elm St. in Winnetka) or online through December 18. Sales benefit Hadley’s mission to promote independent living for visually impaired individuals.


Need more gift ideas? Check out our 2013 Gift Guide!

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