the giving season

There is always an increased push for charitable donations this time of year. Many nonprofit organizations, hoping to tap into the spirit of giving (and desire for year-end tax deductions), roll out their most imaginative and warm-fuzziest campaigns in order to coax a bit of yuletide cheer from their potential donors’ holiday budgets.

  • The American Red Cross’ concise Gift That Saves the Day campaign is completely on mission and earns points for delivery on multiple platforms.
  • Charity:water encourages donors to pass on giving Dad his 1,000th consecutive holiday necktie and “use the money to build a well instead.”
  • Head to to donate the funds you would have spent on gifts to BRAC, a development and aid organization for families in Africa and Asia.
  • With Heifer International you can purchase live llamas, sheep or honeybees in lieu of the traditional Christmas ham.
  • Save that “sorry, no change” excuse!  The Salvation Army offers three ways to donate this year: the classic kettle– now with credit card readers–online and via iphone application.
  • Crowdsourcing the donation of five million dollars via facebook sounds awesome in theory, but Chase Community Giving definitely shanked the execution.  So much has been written, blogged and tweeted about this that I’m not sure I can add much to the conversation.  I’m still trying to figure out how to spell a D’oh!-like slap to the forehead.  In the meantime, Beth Kanter offers a very thorough timeline of the still-developing fiasco.

The intersection of commerce and charity is nothing new, but the potential for such partnerships has heightened with the introduction of social media tools into development and marketing schemes.  While there is  evidence that this approach nets positive short-term results, Angela M. Eikenberry offers her take on the long-term costs of cause marketing.

The jury’s still out for me, but I’m interested to see how this philanthropy will advance in 2010.


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