Charitable Gift Giving

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Charitable Gift Cards: how to choose the best

January 30th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

In 2008, one of the hottest gift giving trends has been charitable gift cards. Typically how these work is that you give an actual plastic card (or an ecard) to someone, and they can log into a Web site to redeem it. But instead of redeeming it for themselves like a regular gift card, they can designate a charity to give the donation to.

What’s nice about charity gift cards is that it puts control into your recipient’s hands. Giving someone a note saying “A donation has been made in your name to such-and-such” can seem so passive and almost impersonal. On the other hand, by giving them a charity gift card, you can give them not only the gift of the donation amount, but also the gift of letting them be the ones to give the donation.  

Of course, since these have become popular, there have been dozens and dozens of “charitable gift card companies” around. While there are bound to be many profit-seekers hoping to take advantage of this trend, here’s a guide to the gift card organizations you can trust.  

Each of the organization are 501(c)(3) organzations, meaning they are not-for-profit organizations (whose status must be stringently reviewed by the federal government).

All offer either plastic cards or eCards to be sent, and all allow cards to be redeemed on their Web sites.

  1. Charity Gift Certificates.Org is one of the oldest charity gift cards out there, this Web site is operated by the Special Kids Fund, so any proceeds that do not go towards actual costs go directly to help kids with special needs.
  2. gift back cardThe GiftBack Card is run by the same good folks who run the site GiftBack.Com (a site where you can send traditional gifts, and 10% will go to the charity of your choice). When you purchase one of their through their site, 10% will go to a charity you choose, and the stored value of the card will go to a charity of your recipient’s choice. The card itself is made with a corn based material and soy-based innks that are environmentally friendly and completely biodegradable, unlike traditional plastic cards.
  3. 'tis best gift cardTisbest.Org is a site that allows you to choose from a variety of different designs representing different causes (animals, art, humanitarian) or occasions.In addition, you can upload your own image to be imprinted on the gift card, a great solution for business and organizations.
  4. givenow card from justgive.orgJustGive.Org has The GiveNow card, again able to be send via email or as a gift certificate through postal mail. JustGive has an impressive database of over 1.7 million charities which your recipient can use to choose to give to any charity imaginable.
  5. the good cardThe Good Card is a product of Network for Good, a non-profit organization that was founded in 2001 by Cisco, Yahoo!, and AOL. The card is a

Just some things to keep in mind when giving Charity Gift Cards:

  • In general, donations are tax-deductible when given to a 501(c)(3) organization, but their deductible by the person or organization purchasing the cards–not the gift recipient redeeming the cards. Consult your tax professional.
  • They all do charge nominal administrative fees to cover the costs of printing the cards and maintaining their Web sites. In all these companies’ cases, the price charged is a reasonable reflection of their actual costs.
  • Here’s a table which outlines each card:
Card Name Web site Card Designs Create your Own? eCards? Charities to Choose From Expiration Date Administrative Fee Based in
Charity Choice 3 No Yes over 100 none 10% of sales + $5 per card Lakewood, NJ
GiftBack Card (additional 10% donation to a charity of the sender’s choice through 1 No Yes over 1 million none $5 per card Centerport, NY
Good Card 1 No Yes over 1 million 12 months $5 per card Bethesda, MD
The GiveNow Card 1 No Yes over 1 million none 3% of sales + $5 per card San Francisco, CA
Tis Best 48 Yes Yes over 200 12 months 3% of sales + $3.95 per card Seattle, WA


One Comment so far ↓

  • specialkid

    Thanks for mentioning our CharityChoice Gift Cards. Just one correction …our administrative fee is 10% + 50 cents/card, not as mentioned in the chart above as $5/card.
    We also offer a unique customization of the redemption pages for business/corporate accounts.

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