Gift Cards for the Procrastinating Philanthropist

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December 20, 2010; Source: Washington Post | Stuck looking for a last minute gift? Don’t know your friends’ favorite charities? Try a charitable gift card from Global Giving or TisBest. A perfect stocking stuffer perhaps for that charitably minded friend who has more than enough stuff of their own.

The gift card can be used at the charity of the recipient’s choice and are vetted by Global Giving or TisBest for legitimacy. Although they have been offered for four years, sales of the cards are up by 23 percent over a year ago. Global Giving has sold 26,000 this year with another 1,000 projected before the end of the year.

As with all charities it is wise to know the details—there are costs associated with the transaction and other requirements. For instance, like other gift cards, some will not be redeemed and it is smart to check whether there is an expiration date to the card.

Global Giving provides a year during which the card can be used. If the money goes unused the group moves the money into its general fund where it may be used to match other donations or be redistributed to nonprofits. This mechanism would have dealt nicely with that Miss Manners Snafu previously reported in the Newswire.—Ruth McCambridge