Alternative Giving

"Maybe Christmas*," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!"
- from How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

Alternative giving, virtual giving or graceful giving is a form of gift giving that has a symbolic value to the recipient and benefits a meaningful cause at the same time. It is based on the concept of serial reciprocity, which was invented by Benjamin Franklin. Read a definition of alternative giving and why we're doing this.

* This applies not only to Christmas, of course. We encourage any non-Christians to contact us, as well, especially if you are aware of any upcoming event.

Alternative gift programs

Name Program Area of concern
GlobalGiving (on-line shopping)Gift cards and certificates high-impact, grassroots projects around the world
Snow Leopard Trust (on-line shopping) Snow Leopard adoption protecting snow leopard habitat through partnerships with local residents

There are many more alternative giving organizations - click here for our list

Charity Gift Cards

Charity gift cards look and function like the plastic gift cards (or scrips) from chain stores. While we share Consumer Reports' reservations about such scrips in general, they are very popular. So if you like giving gift cards, and want to give a meaningful gift, then charity gift cards are ideal for you. They certainly are an improvement over "stuff" gift cards.Consumer Reports wrote a dedicated report for charity gift cards, but unfortunately just repeated their general reservations, missing the beneficial difference. (See also this statement by three charity gift card issuers.)

These cards are issued by several organizations; we included TisBest in our table because they're the first we learned about, but there are also CharityChoice and JustGive; we may add them later if there's demand. Please let us know! If we really want to get serious about comparing charity gift cards, we need a different table; without the "Program" and "Area of concern" columns, but instead with comparison of their

Gift fairs

Gift fairs usually take place in November and December. Below is our list so far. If you are aware of any other event, please contact us.

Name Date / Time Organizer Location State Zip
Alternative Christmas Fair Sat., Nov. 6, 10-3 Christ the King Lutheran Church (360-568-5704) 1305 Pine Ave, Snohomish WA 98290

For more information, see the following:

Other relevant links