I remember one Christmas when I was really young, I had just finished watching The Grinch (the original) and began understanding the “real” meaning of Christmas. I then I began preaching to my poor younger sister about the importance of giving during the holiday season.
Over the year the message became more clear and giving gifts is easily my favorite part of Christmas. I love surprising people with something thoughtful. I even went as far as making an Excel spreadsheet for gifts this year.
And in the spirit of the holidays and of giving, I have realized how important it is to give back to those less fortunate. Any time is a good time to give back, but I find a special importance during the holidays. I love the idea of holiday miracles and that anything can happen.
Whether you donate time or money, try to add giving back to your list this year.
In case you’re not entirely sure where to start, I’ll help you out.
There are 3 different geographical areas I consider when I research charities and nonprofits, which are: local, national, and global causes. I’ve put together some examples of each one to hopefully give you some ideas and inspiration. Happy Holidays!
Find a cause that directly effects your community.
Animal Shelters, Libraries, Homeless Shelters, Support Groups, After School Programs, Park/Beach Cleanup, Environmental Research, Hospice, Museums
You can also look into locally run non-profits. For example there is a non-profit called Safe Passage, which helps children in Guatemala, but is run in my tiny, little hometown in Maine.
These causes operate nationwide.
The Project Night Night gives homeless children care packages filled with a new security blanket, an age-appropriate book, and a stuffed animal.
No More is a public awareness and engagement campaign focused on ending domestic violence and sexual assault.
The American Cancer Society is the largest nongovernmental funder of cancer research in the United States. They are working every day to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.
American Heart Association helps to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Donations help fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information.
These causes make the whole world a better place.
Habitat For Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. You can donate or volunteer your time to help build a house.
The World Wildlife Fund is the world’s leading conservation organization. Their mission is to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.
Project HOPE delivers essential medicines and supplies, volunteers and medical training to prevent disease, promote wellness, respond to disaster and save lives around the globe.
GlobalGiving is a charity fundraising web site that gives social entrepreneurs and non-profits from anywhere in the world a chance to raise the money. This one for the Sunda pangolin (one of the most trafficked mammal in the world) really pulled at my heart strings.
Help stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa by donating to UNICEF. UNICEF is airlifting essential supplies, distributing vital health information and caring for children and families.
Heifer International helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. You can give an animal which can provide wool, milk, eggs and more. It’s almost like donating a small business to someone. You can check out their gift catalog here.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research.
Do you have any causes that are close to your heart? Share them in the comments below!