It is always nice to receive a thoughtful present, especially things we would never buy for ourselves or items that can be put to practical use. But there is a kind of gift that is not only rewarding to receive, but also rewarding to give. This year, a lot of companies are donating to charity instead of giving out their usual trinkets and baubles to clients.

Aside from the obvious—helping someone who is less fortunate—one of the perks about giving to charity is that it’s a present that can be given to clients without worrying about favor or bribes. For example, organizations that don’t accept Christmas gifts often still accept a donation to a third party being made in their name. Some companies may even point you toward their preferred or sponsored charities. For example, Mad 4 Marketing supports Broward Partnership for the Homeless, Inc.

Other perks include the fact that you don’t have to wrap or ship items. You can wait until the very last minute to purchase your gift. Not to mention, you can usually write off your donation when it comes time for taxes. Don’t you just love gifts that give back?

e-Philanthropy

Giving is now ever easier, because—like everything else these days—it’s gone viral. A few clicks can lead you to significantly impacting the lives of individuals in need across the globe. Many organizations already have e-philanthropy systems in place; but if you’re not sure what the best way is to donate online, a representative from that organization can surely help you figure out the best way to securely transfer funds in someone’s name to aid their effort.

Consolidated charity websites also allow givers to spread their wealth around. Instead of sending a check to one organization, a donation sum can be spread throughout a number of registered, approved, quality programs in the same field or many diverse fields. Or pick one cause or foundation, but choose which tasks and goals in particular you’d like to see your money support.

Here are just three of many great sites that allow you to securely contribute:

  • DonorsChoose.org (education systems nationwide)
  • CharityNavigator.org (diverse global causes and efforts)
  • AmeriCares.org (medical aid and disaster relief, domestic and abroad)

The Better Business Bureau also accredits and quality-checks charitable organizations. You can learn all about the many causes it supports—from oil spill relief to animal welfare programs—and also find out specifically what kinds of guidelines and benefits pertain to each individual charity organization, all in one place.