Last year, Americans gave almost $282 billion to charity, with much of that coming from women. Research has shown that women give more than men at virtually all income levels. In fact, Baby Boomers and older women give 89 percent more than their male counterparts. When considering how to flex your philanthropic muscle this season, the best place to start is in your own backyard: a local homeless shelter, hospital, public school, cultural organization, or animal shelter allows you to directly impact your neighbors. And if you’re still looking for places to donate, here are six neat ideas.
Charity: The Give Back Yoga Foundation
Mission: The goal of this national nonprofit is to make the benefits of yoga available to people who don’t have ready access to classes. The organization has many programs, including yoga4cancer, the Prison Yoga Project, Yoga for 12-Step Recovery, Yoga for Warriors in support of veterans, and more. In addition to teaching yoga, the programs also train participants to become certified yoga teachers. According to one recipient of free classes: “The survivor yoga class has been an emotional and physical bridge to my recovery. I started my yoga with the group before my chemo. This kind of support cannot be found in a ‘regular’ yoga class.”
How Your Donation Helps: Donations go toward providing participants of the programs with yoga mats, classes, certification scholarships, and more.
Charity: She Should Run
Mission: Research has shown that when women run for office, they win at the same rates as men, yet they are not encouraged and recruited at the same rate as men. In fact, women are underrepresented at all levels in the more than 500,000 elected offices across the United States. This nonpartisan nonprofit provides a launching pad for female leaders who are considering running for public office by providing a community network, resources, and growth opportunities.
How Your Donation Helps: SheShouldRun has set a goal of getting at least 250,000 women to run for office by the year 2030. The organization helps women see themselves as leaders and mentors those who want to run for elected office.
Charity: The Birthday Party Project
Mission: By hosting monthly parties at shelters and transitional living facilities, this charity brings the joy and magic of birthdays to homeless children across the country. With the goal of making every child feel known and loved, The Birthday Party Project has to date hosted 4,500 birthdays with 30,000 kids in attendance. In addition to countless smiles, the nonprofit has served 40,000 cupcakes and sung 900 renditions of “Happy Birthday.”
How Your Donation Helps: A $30 donation buys a child’s birthday gift; $100 supplies party favors for the whole gang; $500 funds the whole birthday experience, complete with decorations and games.
Charity: Rock & Rawhide
Mission: Animals living in shelters can often be stressed, sick, depressed, and even aggressive due to unfavorable living conditions. This charity focuses on providing things like toys, blankets, and bones that help animals feel more comfortable so that their true personalities can shine through, making them more adoptable.
How Your Donation Help: Rock & Rawhide supports shelters and rescues not only through providing comfort items but also by helping raise awareness about pet adoption.
Charity: World Wildlife Fund
Mission: WWF was founded 50 years ago and works in 100 countries. Part of WWF’s work includes educating people about how our choices and decisions impact nature, as well as influencing policy across the globe.
How Your Donation Helps: With a goal of conserving nature, WWF focuses on six areas: food, fresh water, forests, climate, wildlife, and oceans, so you can give to something you’re passionate about. Perhaps the most fun is the animal adoption program, which lets you can choose a species to support (there’s even an online quiz to determine which animal you relate to most).
Charity: Oxfam America
Mission: Oxfam America envisions a world without poverty, and focuses on addressing conditions that cause poverty, rather than the distribution of material goods. The charity invests in programs to help people assert their rights in order to improve their lives, works to change laws and practices that keep people trapped in poverty, and educates about poverty and its causes.
How Your Donation Helps: Last year, 22.2 million people around the world benefited from Oxfam America programs, including 730,000 villagers who received access to savings and loan opportunities. You can choose from a variety of tangible items to donate, including sheep, a can of worms, 100 trees, bicycles, goats, and more.