I honestly believe people should spend less money during the holidays and focus more on creating lifetime memories. But when you do shop, wouldn’t it be great if you got something more for your money than the material item itself? What if you could donate a percentage of every online purchase you make to your favorite nonprofit, school, or association – at no additional cost to you?
We-Care.com lets you do just that. Its “click through” website gives you access to more than 600 online merchants you can shop as you normally would. But when you buy, a percentage of the purchase price is automatically donated to the charity you choose. Merchants include retail, travel, financial services, and more. Book your flight and hotel. Rent a car. Shop for books. Buy furniture and household items. Subscribe to magazines, newspapers, DVD services, and even satellite TV. The sky is (almost) the limit. Participation costs nothing for organizations; there's no extra charge to you, either. Many merchants also offer special money-saving deals and coupons.
There are over 325 charities to choose from, including public health, animal welfare, women’s advocacy, k-12 education programs, peace and justice, arts, culture and more. In the environment category, you can contribute to such organizations as Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Environmental Working Group, and the Center for a New American Dream. If you don’t see the cause you support, it’s easy to add it to the database. You can also contact your cause and encourage them to join We-Care.com..
GoodShop.com is another online shopping mall that donates a percentage of each purchase to the charity of your choice. Its 800 retailers range from Amazon to Zappos. Like We-Care, you’ll find coupons and deals that make shopping more affordable. Look for anything from baby and maternity products to computer hardware and electronics. Browse earth-friendly outlets like Organic Style, Viva Terra, Only Natural Pet Store, Organic Bouquet, Gaiam and Patagonia. Currently, more than 69,000 organizations earn money from the sites. If your favorite charity is missing, it’s easy to add it to the list.
Another good bet: if you want to donate to protect the environment but don't know where to start, give a gift to EarthShare. I've been a fan of this organization for almost 20 years, and I completely vouch for them.
As they say on their site, "EarthShare's member groups represent the most respected and responsible environmental and conservation organizations in the country. Our groups work locally, nationally and internationally to protect and preserve human health and all aspects of our environment. EarthShare also protects its donors by ensuring that each of its member groups adheres to strict eligibility criteria, and operates with the highest possible ethical and professional standards."
For more options, check with the Nonprofit Matrix or at Yahoo’s Virtual Charity and Fundraising Malls.