According to the World Bank, as of 2012, 896 million people are living in extreme poverty or less than $1.90 a day. A staggering 77.8 percent of people in extreme poverty currently reside in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Holiday Christmas shoppers can find ways to help those living in poverty. According to the National Philanthropic Trust, the average American donation was $2,974 last year. For an average family of four, that number breaks down to about $743 per person.
Here are 12 charitable ideas for Christmas:
- Sign up for a site that gives part of the proceeds to charity. AmazonSmile is a great example. The e-commerce giant will donate 0.5 percent of eligible purchases to the customer’s chosen charity. The best part? There’s no extra charge to the customer.
- Enroll in a rewards credit card that “gives back.” Capital One offers a rewards donation option when a customer enrolls in their “No Hassle Giving” site. Customers can choose from up to 1.2 million charities and use their reward points to donate to their chosen charity.
- Do a one-time donation. Give a one-time donation without being obligated to contribute on a monthly basis. Many charities provide this option for contributors, like The Borgen Project.
- Donate shoes sitting in your closet. Have old shoes that are sitting in the closet? Donate them to Soles4Souls. Since 2006, the organization has “collected and distributed 26 million pairs of shoes to those in need in 127 countries around the world and all 50 states in the U.S.” Coats, shirts and pants are also important donations that can help those in need.
- Shop consciously. There are many charities that donate some, if not all of the proceeds to a certain charity or cause. A prime example is (RED) a campaign that is sponsored by ONE, an international advocacy organization started by Bono. ONE (RED) pairs with iconic brands such as Apple, Coca-Cola and Starbucks to create one-of-a-kind items that support HIV/AIDS grants in countries such as Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda. The companies involved contribute 50 percent of the profits earned to the ONE (RED) campaign.
- Look for donation “widgets” or “buttons.” On some sites, donating is as simple as clicking a button. For example, The Hunger Site advertises a free “Click to Give” button. Notably, last year the organization’s “click button” funded 52.8 million cups of food.
- Volunteer. Options range from participating in a soup kitchen, donating professional resources such as writing or marketing skills or assisting in a project such as building a community school.
- Email congressional leaders. Writing to Congressional leadership is another way to get involved in helping out those in need. Since each and every email is tallied, a simple email addressed will help get key global poverty legislation on leaders’ radars.
- Give up coffee or snacks for a week and donate the money. A $5 drink every day during a normal workweek can set you back $25. Giving up that Grande Peppermint Mocha with soy milk, no whip may be hard at first, but that money can be put towards something like a mosquito net, life-saving medication or clean drinking water.
- Share on social media. Facebook and Twitter have become increasingly popular ways for people to share raise awareness about global poverty issues.
- Select “Charity Gift Cards”. TisBet capitalizes on the gift card model, but gives it a charity twist. The recipients of these gift cards get to choose which one of the 250 listed charities to spend the designated amount.
- Make use of matching donations. Some employers match employee donations, up to a certain dollar amount. Others even match volunteer hours or gifts from retirees, board members and even spouses.
– Alyson Atondo