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Giving with the Good Card

Micah and I go back and forth sometimes on the philosophical significance of giving to charity in someone else’s name. He holds the view that the person handing over the cash is the giver, unless the “recipient” asked for it. And even then, it’s not the recipient’s money.

I’ve written before about combining birthday presents and giving through Kiva. A friend recently sent me another giving idea, the “Good card”. It’s run through the Network for Good, a site is set up to help you find and donate to charities.

It’s not surprising then, that they offer what is essentially a gift card.

Things I like about the Good card:

1. It lets the recipient pick the charity.

If you’re going to be giving to charity instead of getting a gift yourself, at least you can pick the charity. Handy for the giver as well, because there’s less pressure to find the recipient’s favorite charity. You can even split up the donation.

2. There are a LOT of charities to choose from.

Something for everyone. There aren’t the same limitations as normal store gift cards.

3. If you don’t use it, the money still does good.

One of my biggest peeves about gift cards is that they’re often not redeemed. I’ve probably let some $50 in odd change go unspent. But with this card, even if the person never uses it the money goes to a good place. Unredeemed money supports the Network for Good itself, which I believe to be a good operation. So you can’t lose. Unless you really really hate the Network for Good.

(And since you’re giving the money away, you can just give the whole thing at once instead of shopping…where objects are probably not priced $25.00 including tax. So you’re less likely to have leftovers anyway.)

I wish I’d written about this in time for Christmas. Even at the last minute, you could have sent out e-gift cards. Of course, there will be plenty of occasions to give throughout the year. One might even give these gift cards simply to share the joy of giving with friends.

There are a million creative ways to give out there. Let’s take advantage of them!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Dad January 2, 2009 at 9:01 am

What a really neat idea! Thanks for making us aware of it.

Associate Money January 2, 2009 at 9:07 am

I like the idea too.

With a recession, lots of charities are suffering and if we can do our part while making it a birthday present. Everybody gets to participate in the spirit of giving.

Jesse January 2, 2009 at 12:08 pm

About your argument with Micah, I have to agree with him on this one. I don’t view it from the technical standpoint though…I just feel like unless it actually comes from something I have worked for, I am not truly giving something of mine. Then again, that argument doesn’t hold water when you consider things like old clothes I may have received but still, it doesn’t feel like it 🙂

Cheryl Mahoney January 5, 2009 at 5:12 pm

I go back and forth on that view myself–who’s really doing the giving here? I think it makes a big difference how personalized the charity is to the “recipient.” One reason the Good Card is a great idea. Doing just a little work to choose a good charity, however, is a good idea too. I work for UniversalGiving, and for the holidays we’ve been offering gift packages with some good choices to pick from. Could be another good resource you might like. Check us out at

Tom January 21, 2009 at 9:57 am

There are some charities that will take unused gift cards in any amount and either resell them and donate the proceeds or use them to pay for things. You can also buy some donated cards on the cheap – up to 20% off.

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