There’s always one person that’s impossible to shop for. Instead of gift cards or a candle that’s inevitably going to be regifted, there is an often overlooked option that is much more thoughtful than the alternative: philanthropy. Holiday shopping season is now in full gear, as mall hours start stretching late into the night and our inboxes are stuffed with seasonal flyers. If you’re already feeling fatigued by the season of excessive conspicuous consumption, it is time to consider giving presents that have a social conscience and are jam packed with meaning.
Giving someone the chance to participate in a charitable donation is a gift you can both feel good about, and most certainly won’t go to waste. And with crowdfunding, it’s easier than ever to make a donation on someone else’s behalf. Many crowdfunding campaigns offer perks as a thank you for contributing to their campaign, which you can give to the person for whom you’re donating as a token of their gift.
Here are a few gift options that embody the axiom, “it is better to give than to receive,” without eliminating the ‘receive’ part!
For the Scientist
American Gut is the world’s largest open-source science project to understand the microbial diversity of the Human Gut. Donors of $99 receive a home sampling kit to learn which microbes live in their gut, skin & mouth. Not only do you get to support the research, you can share the gift of DNA extraction and 16S rRNA sequencing of one stool sample (or an oral or skin sample – the same kit works for any of these), and shows which bacteria and archaea were present in that sample along with how much of each kind. This recipient will be able to view, download and print a high-resolution certificate suitable for framing of their results and access to more detailed taxa report of their results – which can be viewed online and downloaded into Excel.
For the Humanitarian with Heart
Healing Nepal: Building Schools for Girls
When two major earthquakes struck Nepal last April and May, the devastation impacted every facet of life, especially for children. Give the gift of helping in the rebuilding efforts on behalf of the humanitarian in your heart. Kina Social Ventures has been working in Nepal for the last 13 years with a core mission of “keeping girls in schools”. They’re crowdfunding to build four earthquake-proof schools for girls in their operating areas in Nepal. From desks to chalkboards and electricity, put your friend’s name on part of the school – and share the picture to prove it!
For the Art Lover
For the person who likes unique art and supporting independent artists, Afton Love’s campaign may be the perfect fit! Oakland, California based artist Afton Love is raising money to cover the costs of her 2016 residency at The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and as an expression of her gratitude, is offering pieces of her art as perks for donating. Her work is developed through a unique process involving graphite powder and wax, creating drawings and installations that articulate a landscape that is both highly specific and nearly abstract. These incredibly unique pieces of art are not only beautiful, but come with a feel-good vibe for supporting Afton’s work.
The Waldorf School
For the true changemaker and patron of the arts, the Waldorf School in Bend, Oregon is crowdfunding to fund their arts-rich education program. All proceeds go directly to the operating costs, as tuition and fees only cover 70% of operations. What do you get for supporting education and the arts? For a small $20 donation, you receive 5 art cards created by the very students you’re supporting.
For the Music Aficionado
The Muses Trio are some of Australia’s leading and most exciting musicians in contemporary classical music, known for their edgy, spine tingling and virtuosic performance style. Their mission is to celebrate music composed by women and bring this relatively unknown, yet vastly deserving collection of works to the concert stage. They are crowdfunding to record their debut album and will be providing a plethora of gifts ranging from the album itself to musical lessons from the muses or a live performance – incredible gifts for the music lover in your life.
For the Animal Lover
The Pangolin and Carnivore Education Center
We all know someone who loves sloths or lemurs almost a little too much – but that’s likely only because they’ve never seen a pangolin before. And sadly, not many people have. Save Vietnam’s Wildlife is a national non-profit wildlife conservation organization in Vietnam, that has been successful in rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing hundreds of pangolins and other endangered small carnivores. You can donate on behalf of your critter-loving friend to support them in the fight against illegal wildlife trade and advocacy for the wild animals of Vietnam. The Pangolin and Carnivore Education Center they’re crowdfunding for is planned to open due to the urge need for engaging wildlife education. And who wouldn’t love high-resolution photos of pangolins, Owston’s civets, binturongs, leopard cats, and hairy-nosed otters, or their name on the wall of the education centre?