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This holiday season, consider giving a gift with a purpose. A socially responsible gift is ideal for the person who has everything, as well as for all the aspiring philanthropists and humanitarians on your list. If you feel you know the social issues of concern to your gift recipient (e.g. AIDS, poverty, disaster relief, breast cancer, illiteracy, environment, animals, etc.) then you may wish to choose a charity for the donation yourself.
charitable humanitarian gifts

Many organizations will also send your gift recipient a gift card or symbolic gift to inform them of the donation made in their name. Alternatively, some organizations offer a general "gift certificate" donation that allows the recipient to choose the charity they wish the funds to go to themselves. Here are a few ideas to start: - Features a huge database of over 1 million registered charities, with information on each one including the charity's mission and programs, board of directors, and financial data (including balance sheets) for the last fiscal year. You can purchase JustGive Charity Gift Certificates online and your gift recipient will then be able to redeem it by choosing from the wide selection of local and national non-profit organizations, and thereby donate to a charity of their choice. - Recipient will get an eCard notifying them of the gift donation, with instructions on how to redeem it and select from among 75+ charities. You may also print out a greeting card for mailing or presentation.
Alternative Gifts International - Consult their "Shopping List for the World" for specific donation ideas, such as vaccines for Vietnemese orphans, milk for pre-schoolers in Palestine, trees and food crops for Haitians, etc.
Oxfam America - Gifts with heart: give a camel, a water pump, an emergency shelter, building tools and more. Your gift recipient gets a personalized card with a picture of the gift, and the gift itself goes to the people who need it most.
Jane Goodall Chimp Guardianship - Chimp Guardians will receive: A biography and poster of their chimpanzee, a certificate of guardianship and info about Gombe Stream Research Centre, the Sanctuary Program and the Jane Goodall Institute.
Toys for Tots - An organization run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which donates toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas.
IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) - Choose from one of the five IFAW campaigns to make a gift in someone's name to help animals in need. Gift donation includes a desktop calendar, gift card and color brochure of saved animal.