Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Need a Last Minute, Heartfelt Gift? Charities to the Rescue!

Help! You forgot someone on your Christmas gift list and it's the week of Christmas and you hate the mall parking situation and there is no time to mail anything and...ahhhhh!

Or maybe you just like giving thoughtful gifts that don't require using Earth's resources to pack and ship objects.

Is this you?

It's okay. Sit down. Have some tea. Or wine. Anti-Poverty Mom has got you covered. Here are some wonderful charities for international giving that will help you out by sending a holiday email notification that you made a donation in honor of your recipient. They are in no particular order because I love them all. You'll show how much you care about your loved ones and the world. Plus, it will make it look like you planned it all along!

This is a neat charity gift because it's super interactive and really not a "charity" at all. Kiva leverages the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions to let you lend as little as $25 directly to an individual in poverty to help them start a business. The recipient uses your money to earn more money, then pays you back, so you can loan it out again. 

Kiva electronic gift cards are a great way to introduce your friends and family to microlending, giving them the opportunity to choose borrowers to support. The best part is that when their loans are repaid, they can use those funds again and again to make even more loans on Kiva. It's really a gift that keeps on giving!

By the way, the digital Kiva card can even be scheduled to be sent in the future, so if you're like me and frequently miss birthdays, this might be a good opportunity to get all set for the next year as well! Woo-hoo!

Heifer International 
If you have heard people refer to giving or getting a "goat" for Christmas before, this is probably what folks were talking about. Heifer lets you sponsor livestock (everything from chickens to water buffalo) to be given to people in rural areas living in poverty. Rather than giving a food handout that lasts only a small amount of time, Heifer gives animals and husbandry training to not only help the recipient family in the long run, but hopefully the community around them. 

The core of the model is "passing on the gift." Families share the training they receive and pass on the first female offspring of their livestock to another family. It extends the impact of the original gift, allowing a once impoverished family to become donors and full participants in improving their community.

Now, down to the nitty gritty of gift giving. Giving with Heifer is also nice in that you can decide how to send the gift: email, Facebook message, text message, postal mail, or printing a card at home. Maximum flexibility of delivery. Cool!

Samaritan's Purse
You might know Samaritan's Purse from the famous "Operation Christmas Child" project they run where folks are invited to donate a shoebox full of useful items like toys, hygiene items, and school supplies for a child in need. But I learned during the Ebola crisis that they do so much more than that. They are also a skilled and competent organization of first responders in the face of disaster in developing nations. They have responded admirably to the Ebola crisis, the Nepalese Earthquake, human trafficking, and are currently responding to the refugee crisis in Europe. Samaritan's Purse is a Christian organization, so it seems to me that it is a perfect charity to support in celebration of the birth of Christ.

Samaritan's Purse lets you send an email card or download a card for face to face giving. 

Partners in Health
"We go. We make house calls. We build health systems. We stay."

What I love about Partners in Health is summed up in that one statement that ends with "we stay." Partners in Health is a organization of health care providers that truly treats communities as partners. While they do end up as first responders sometimes, as in the case with the 2010 Haitian earthquake, their model is to work with the people they are helping and not leave when an initial crisis has passed. 

Whether to Liberia, Rwanda, or any of the countries they work and live, they go where they’re needed most. They care for patients in their homes and communities. They work in close partnership with local government officials and the world’s leading medical and academic institutions to build capacity and strengthen health systems. And they stay, committed to accompanying the people and communities they serve for the long term.

Partners in Health will send an email to your gift recipient with a link to a lovely image like the one shown that I received from my dear friend and fellow RESULTS leader Richard Smiley.

Have you got a favorite charity that will do electronic cards? Do tell!!!
Share it with us in the comments!