No matter who you voted for, you can not deny that there are people in need in your community and all over the world. I’ve been trying to think of a way to make my holiday spending have a charitable quality to it so I can feel like I’m making a difference for those who aren’t as blessed as I am this holiday season. I’m going to do two more “Mindful Spending” pieces – one for Gifts That Teach and one for Mindful Spending in the Rocket City. But today? It’s for people like me…who do all of their shopping from behind their computer.
Keep Doing What You’re Doing
I spent no less than HALF of my Christmas dollars at Amazon.com last year as I hate going to stores during the holidays. If you’re like m? Why don’t you make a stop at Amazon Smile first and find a charity that can benefit your spending. I choose to benefit the Food Bank of North Alabama because with every dollar of donation they can give out 5 meals. But make sure if you use this program you always start your shopping by going to smile.amazon.com first. I would recommend choosing a LOCAL benefactor as they tend to be able to do more with one dollar than bigger organizations.
There are other “charity mall” type sites that allow you to choose a charity and then shop where you’d normally shop. There’s a section in this article that mentions them, but let’s be honest: That’s not the most impactful way to be mindful on the holidays so I’m going to focus on ways that give you a little bit more charity bang for your buck.
Simply Make A Donation To Their Favorite Charity In Their Name
The easiest way to give a mindful gift is to make a donation to your friend’s favorite charity in their name. If you are worried your friend may be bummed by this gift, then you now know not to keep that person on your shopping list next year!
Kinda. Because seriously, anyone disappointed in a gift of a charitable donation in their name? Is not someone who is probably adding the best kind of energy to your life. Come be friends with me instead! And then donate to The Trevor Project in my name. I’ll totally appreciate it unlike your selfish friend.
Instead Of an iTunes Gift Card
My wonderful friend Jennifer introduced me to Kiva.org gift cards. Kiva is a crowd lending marketplace where you help people around the world start fund their own businesses with micro-loans. If you give a gift card the recipient can choose who to lend the money to, and then when it gets paid back, they can lend it out again! Look at the impact of these loans!
One for One
TOMS popularized the idea of giving an item in to someone in need for every one item purchased. They started it with shoes but they also now sell sunglasses AND they sell coffee and give the gift of clean water on the flip side. And with their lead, you can now buy one, give one socks and buy one, give one Warby Parker eyeglasses and my favorite…buy one give one BOOKS.
Exit At The Charity Gift Shop
Did you know a lot of your favorite charities have gift shops? While a cash donation allows them to make more of an impact, shopping from their stores allows you to help them out AND still give a gift to a person you love. I mean some NPR swag. Maybe you have a loved one who would like a bracelet that represents their support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital? I’m personally a big fan of the Love Conquers Hate collection at the HRC. Find your loved one’s favorite charity and just see if they have a gift shop.
MetoWe Shop – allows you to buy some really cute and unique gifts and then choose a way to contribute to a partner community (like giving school supplies) and then you can track your impact. I especially like the Rafiki which are made with Fair Trade practices.
Punjammies – We have entered a fashion era where we’re all trying to figure out how to wear pajamas all day. Whether it’s yoga pants or fancy leggings, we’re upping our PJ game so we can be comfy all day. Why not do that and support women in India who have escaped human trafficking?
Global Goods – Global Goods Partners (GGP) is a nonprofit that creates economic opportunity for women in some of the world’s poorest communities by providing access to the US market for the fair trade, handmade products they produce. They work with communities all over the globe and there is a HUGE range of products from Stuffed Narwhals to gorgeous totes to embossed leather journals. If you can’t find a good gift from someone at Global Goods? I can’t help you.
Do you have any ways you like to Spend Mindfully from the comfort of your own home?