As budgets tighten this season, why not experiment with philanthropic presents? Of course, I can't imagine parents foregoing toys for charity, but for those people who exchange presents with close friends, colleagues and extended family, giving the gift of good is certainly easier than before.
For example, The Point allows anyone to start or join a campaign that asks for people to donate money or take action as a group. The Point focuses on enabling people to act, influence and accomplish. Success stories include raising money to help someone rebuild her house after a fire. Campaigns don't have to be large.
By contrast, Network for Good is an online resource for people looking to donate to a good cause or volunteer. In addition, Network for Good provides services for registered non-profits, such as processing online donations, marketing email blasts, donor databases (through Salesforce.com) and "Nonprofit 911" fundraising training calls.
Last for this post, but not least, is Redefine Christmas, a site dedicated to funneling online charitable donations to JustGive.org and Changing the Present. It also allows users to request charitable gifts via e-cards. From Redefine Christmas:
It's about changing the way we look at gift giving and receiving. It's taking money we usually spend on obligatory gifts with little meaning, and creating gifts of charity that give in multiple ways, to the receiver, the giver, and people who truly need.
Obviously, giving gifts to charity isn't new. Enabling donations through technology and online is just the most convenient iteration of philanthropic campaigns building online communities. Will you join in this holiday season?