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Give the Gift of Giving

You drive to the mall and wander from shop to shop. You turn on your computer and surf aimlessly. Nothing. No answers, no inspiration. If you've ever found yourself searching for that perfect gift for a person who has everything, why not take a moment to consider all the people who need so much?
Gratuitous guilt-trip? Or the impetus to give what may be the most thoughtful gift you've ever given?

Giving in the name of

People who have everything probably also have some causes they feel strongly about. If you're not aware of any specific charities they support, use GuideStar's Advanced Search function to look up organizations that match their interests. With more than 850,000 nonprofits to choose from, there should be little difficulty finding a good match. Many charities will even send an acknowledgment of your donation to the honoree, or you can simply let them know yourself in a traditional greeting card.

If you don't have the time to research appropriate nonprofits, on-line donation portals JustGive and Network for Good make gift giving even easier by offering theme-based "gift baskets." In just a few clicks, multiple donations can be sent to a group of charities working toward a single cause, such as world peace, feeding the hungry, or women's issues.

Whatever the occasion, the socially-conscious gift of a charitable contribution is always in good taste.

Better than a gravy boat

Grieving families will sometimes suggest that mourners pay their respects to a loved one through donations to a specific charity in lieu of flowers. Over the past few years, this thoughtful tradition has been adopted by a happier sort of occasion: weddings.

Rather than purchase an anonymous piece of kitchenware, many modern wedding guests can now choose from the couple's favorite charities and make a donation in honor of the bride and groom. To facilitate this process, JustGive features a special on-line wedding registry where soon-to-be-married couples let their guests know which organizations they can contribute to in lieu of a gift.

Other couples take a different tack and make donations in the name of their guests in place of wedding favors. Rather than traditional souvenirs, a card is left at each table setting, commemorating the event and informing guests of the charity that has benefited from their attendance.

Spirit of giving

Some would argue that modern society's myriad of compulsory gift-giving events has turned the act of giving into a thoughtless routine. If you'd like to put the true spirit of giving back into your gifts, a donation to charity might be the solution you've been looking for.

The preceding is a guest post by Patrick Ferraro is the Editor of the GuideStar Newsletter.
Topics: Charitable Giving Nonprofits