The holidays are the season for giving, of course. But they’re also the season for giving back. As you do your shopping this season, you’ll see a slew of options — certain brands and specific products — that when purchased will donate either a replica of the product you buy, a different product or a portion of the revenue to someone in need.
Taking advantage of these is a nice way to shape your holiday list. But note they’re not all equal. The best gifts that give back are those that support a nonprofit directly, says Melanie Ulle, CEO of Philanthropy Expect, LLC. She recommends checking the fine print to see how the donations are made.
If you want to be sure your purchase will make a donation, check that the charity is a 501(c)(3) — in other words, a not-for-profit recognized under the tax code — says Trae Bodge, Smart Shopping Expert at TrueTrae.com. Bodge also recommends considering whether you’re paying more for a gift simply because it gives back. If that’s the case, you may be better off separating the tasks — buying a gift and then donating directly to a charity you’d like to support.
Here’s a look at a few merchants (suggested by Bodge and Ulle) that are giving back this season.
FEED sells totes, makeup bags, coffee and more. The proceeds go toward feeding hungry children all over the world.
World Vision provides food, gifts, and other services to those in need worldwide. For example, you can donate money, or select one of many gift options to a family who specifically needs that item.
Kid Box is a box of clothing for boys and girls. Pick a style based on the recipient and an entire box of clothing will be donated to a child in need.
Dewplanter is the perfect gift for someone who cannot keep a plant alive. They have partnered with One Tree Planted so proceeds from every purchase go toward planting trees somewhere in the world that is lacking.
Kamsah makes beautiful ceramic food receptacles and 10% of all proceeds go to programs for women and children in developing countries around the world.
The Festive Home makes a non-perishable wreath that you can decorate each season with separately purchased festive items. The proceeds benefit the Center of Hope Foundation by providing resources and services to people with disabilities.
No Kid Hungry and Williams Sonoma have partnered with celebrities who have designed cooking spatulas. Buying one will help to provide up to 40 meals for a child in need.
Uncommon Goods is an online store with really interesting gifts that support a non-profit partner of your choice.
Bottom line: Giving gifts that give back transcends the joy normally associated with giving gifts because in this case, you’re giving two, and one of those is going to someone in need. “It seems like a no-brainer,” says Ulle, who is a big fan of buying from companies that support your values.
With Rebecca Cohen