If you are like many people I know, you can't help feeling a slight sense of guilt giving store bought, mass produced gifts during the holidays - gifts that you aren't even sure your recipients are going to like. This year the holiday shopping ploys literally multiplied from the usual Black Friday and Cyber Monday to include Black Thursday, Small Business Saturday and Free Shipping Day. I don't know about you, but for me the holiday "spirit" of gift giving is feeling more like "yearly obligatory consumerist binge."
To restore some of the feel good sentiment to this time of year - and make sure your gifts don't end up in a landfill - one alternative is to give donations to deserving charities or non-profits in the names of your gift recipients. With so many of these organizations competing for our gifting dollars, it can be difficult to choose. Here is a list of some favorites to consider. These are great for last minute presents and most offer certificates, cards, or small companion gifts so that you have something to actually give to your recipients.
So, instead of getting your sister yet another boring scarf from Old Navy, opt for the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from giving a laptop to a school in Africa. It's amazing how far some of these organizations can make your dollars go.
Kara Scharwath is a corporate social responsibility professional, marketing consultant and Sustainable Management MBA Candidate. She is currently working as a Graduate Associate in Corporate Citizenship at the Walt Disney Company while pursuing her degree at Presidio Graduate School. Follow her on Twitter @karameredith.
Kara is a corporate social responsibility professional and marketing consultant with expertise in consumer research and environmental science. Currently, Kara is working as a Graduate Associate on the <a href="http://corporate.disney.go.com/citizenship2010/">Corporate Citizenship</a> team at the Walt Disney Company. She is also a founding partner of <a href=http://besui.com/">BeSui Consulting</a>, a boutique marketing consulting firm specializing in consumer insights and marketing communications.
Kara graduated from Rutgers University with a B.S. in <a href="http://admissions.rutgers.edu/Academics/AcademicContent.aspx?CAMPUS=New… Policy, Institutions and Behaviors</a>. She is currently pursuing her M.B.A. in Sustainable Management from <a href'"http://www.presidioedu.org/">Presidio Graduate School</a> where she is exploring the impact investing space and working to identify new ways to increase access to capital for start-ups and social ventures. Follow her on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/karameredith">@karameredith</a>.