The Guy Who Has Everything

My Dad has everything.

A tie (one).  It has The Beatles on it, naturally. He wears it anytime he needs to wear a tie, which isn’t often due to a carefully planned career of self-employment, entrepreneurism and a California lifestyle.

Geeky Dad sandals that he appropriately pairs with socks and a Hawaiian shirt.  “It’s special,” he says, “because it is the same shirt Lieutenant Dan wore in Forrest Gump”.

*Caveat: The shirt in this photo is not THE shirt, but you get the gist.

The coolest, most brag-worthy and up-to-the-minute technology.  Literally, his watch pulls the accurate-to-the-second time from the Atomic Clock in Colorado and glows when he flicks his wrist (powered of course by a built-in solar panel which collects its energy from the sun).  Over the years, I have learned to expect no less from this savviest of Dads.

Three stupendous daughters, if I might say so myself, who make him proud with their education and do-gooding and to which he always repeats “don’t get me anything, I have everything I need.”  Sometimes when mom says this, it not-so-secretly means “you better get me my favorite flowers and a spa package,” but with my Dad, we comply and settle for a breakfast on the town and a cheesy card he’ll soon misplace in a pile of WIRED magazines.

Maybe this year we can get him something that’s not a “thing”…

One of the reasons we moved to northern California in my youth was for the unparalleled scenic beauty and the fact that there are “more trees than people” as my Dad always says. And one of the products my Dad developed in his long technology career is a programming language for kids that teachers are using in schools to get students learning, for instance, to develop and build games – not just play them.

Just by being himself, my Dad both appreciates the finer things in life like music, technology, and the environment, and he inspires me (and others) to do the same.

So I’m planning a unique tribute to him this Father’s Day – JustGive style – a charity Gift Collection that donates to the causes that embody what is best about my Dad. Like a Plant Trees  or Inspire Children & Change Their Lives gift collection that spreads support to four charities working to make a difference.

My sisters can upload a special photo of us and personalize a GiveNow charity gift card that lets him choose to benefit a special charity, like Bay Area Community Resources where he does IT work. We’re excited to celebrate the day with him in a special and unique way. Giving him something that means so much more than any “thing” we could ever find – that he would probably lose!  🙂

How are you celebrating with your Dad? Share your story on Facebook and let’s keep the great ideas flowing because our Dads deserve it.

Author: Michelle Koffler

A Gift from the Heart

Mother’s Day is a time when we look at the mothers in our life, appreciate all that they do for us, and try to give something back to them.

Turning 30 this year made me realize I have been giving funny little gifts to my mother and grandmother over the years. Not only is it hard to think up new gifts to buy them, but I find they no longer need or want things. They already have too much stuff as it is.  As a mother of a three year old, I also think about what I would really want from her on Mother’s Day.  Although it sounds cliché, a drawing or something that she makes for me—from her heart—would make me the happiest.

I’m older . . . and crayon masterpieces for my grandma or mom don’t quite cut it. Then there’s the flower option: Most women (including me) love receiving flowers. They brighten up your living space and are a nice treat. But for me, they’re not quite enough. So I’ve found another way to honor the special women in my life – with a gift that’s a bit more personal, from my heart.

My Grandma was a wonderful elementary school teacher for many years, so I made a donation in her name to DonorsChoose.org — a great organization that helps teachers raise money for special projects or classroom materials that they need. Since she doesn’t really like to use computers, I didn’t want her to have to go online and search for a project or an organization. So I printed the donation confirmation to enclose in a special card with the flowers I’ll give her, letting her know how I am honoring her on Mother’s Day.

I wanted to do the same thing for my mom. She supports organizations that protect the environment, and gives to local food banks and rescue missions. The arts and public education are also important to her. And I wasn’t sure which organization to donate to: What would she appreciate the most this year? So I decided to give her a charity gift card with a bouquet of flowers. Letting her make the choice. She can go to JustGive.org and find the charity (or charities) she wants to support right now…there are more than a million on the site. And I’ll know that her donation will make a difference for a cause that is both meaningful and personally close to her heart!

This Mother’s Day, consider a charity gift collection that gives back and says thank you from your heart—donating to a cause that’s special to your mother’s (or grandmothers, or wife’s, or…you get the point) heart!

If you’d like to honor all she’s done in a bigger way, all year round – make it a monthly recurring donation.

Enjoy a very special Happy Mother’s Day!

Marketing Assistant, Julia Hughes

Creating New Traditions

Celebrating my daughter’s first Christmas makes this holiday extra special for me. I’m reminded of memories from childhood, and traditions shared with my family. We baked cookies with Grandma and decorated the tree with sparkling lights. We watched movies like Rudolph and A Christmas Story in our pajamas until the fire in the fireplace burned out.

Family traditions create the magic of Christmas. With this in mind, I’m creating my own magic and starting a new tradition that my daughter will remember for years to come–a tradition of giving. While there are many ways for me to show her this, here are a few ideas I wanted to share with you!

Redefine Christmas

Redefine Christmas is a movement to change the way we give gifts. Instead of giving in to the pressure of buying a tangible gift with little meaning (another scented candle, bath product or belt?), it suggests you redirect your spending to charity. The thinking is that small changes in the way we give during the holidays – made by many, many caring people – can have a big impact in our world. Helping us all recapture the joy of the holiday season. (JustGive is proud to partner with this movement to spread the message of charity.)

Check out the public display of the Redefine Christmas message on Black Friday at a Connecticut shopping mall.

 

Just 51 Bucks

The Just 51 Bucks Challenge issued by JustGive and several competitors asks you to invest $51 — 10 percent of what the average consumer will spend this holiday — on a Charity Gift Card instead of the conventional “stuff.” With Just 51 Bucks, everyone wins.

Your holiday gifts make a lasting difference while your shopping is easier. GiveNow Charity Gift Cards only take a few minutes to personalize and send to your recipient. It’s a meaningful gift for friends, family, co-workers, and more. Happiness doubled: you give and they select the charity to support.

At a time when so many non-profit organizations are struggling to survive, giving charity gift cards can certainly help them—and, at the same time, give you a new holiday tradition.

 

Join me in creating your own new tradition! Redefine your Christmas, join the Just 51 Bucks Challenge, and make gift giving matter for more this year.

Share your charitable ideas with us on Facebook, follow the conversation on Twitter, or help us spread the word and pass this idea on to a friend.

Gifting Outside The Box

Do I already have plenty of stuff? Yes. Do I care deeply about a cause and want to make a difference? Yes. Am I looking forward to opening brightly colored boxes with my name on them? Absolutely.

This year, since money is tight – I’m approaching the holidays in a different way. Many of my friends and family members like opening tangible gifts so I’m putting together “packages” they’ll enjoy and including charity too!

 

Charitable gifts don’t have to be all or nothing.

I care about making charitable giving a part of everyday life. (That’s why I choose to work at JustGive.) During the holidays, I know people want to wrap (and unwrap) presents. And I know we really want to give gifts that make our recipients’ faces light up.

Whether we participate or not, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, 24 hour deals, and last minute doorbusters are here to stay — through financial highs and lows. And I appreciate good deals just as much as the next person. But I also think there are clever ways to embrace both ways of giving, with gift thoughtful, personal gift packages. Giving smiles and making the world better at the same time:

– Have a foodie friend? A box of gourmet treats, or dinner at a new restaurant is made meaningful when paired with a donation to the recipient’s local food bank (find local charities here).

– Shopping for the handyman in the family? When you wrap up the power tools and fix-it gadgets, include a donation to Habitat for Humanity.

– If you buy a Christmas tree this year, consider giving to the Arbor Day Foundation. $10 is all it takes to plant 10 trees in a National forest.

– Pay it forward and donate some the money you saved shopping for the best deals. Buy a GiveNow Charity Gift Card and your recipient can easily choose from more than 1.8 million charities to support their favorite cause. For as little as $15*, you can give a great stocking stuffer, hostess or teacher gift that makes a big impact.

 

Do you plan on giving to charity in combination with a traditional gift?

We’d love to hear about it! Share your ideas with us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

* GiveNow charity gift cards never expire and are available in any quantity. Minimum fees apply.

Giving Back on Father’s Day

Visit www.justgive.org for Father's Day Gifts

Honoring the Men who Made Us Who We Are

I was eight years old when my father stepped back on the wrestling mat after more than twenty years. His first opponent turned out to be one of the best wrestlers in the high school’s history, a hulking, punishing, future Marine. That matchup was no mistake; it was a trial by fire.

He made it through that first day and kept going until I graduated from high school. He was 55. His choice to throw his hat onto the mat was a formative experience for me; coming with him to practices and matches, watching him interact with my boyhood heroes. Looking back what really influenced me was his passion for the sport and for life.

The Gift that Says More

This Father’s Day I want to show my father how much his exuberance for life influenced me. And a tie just won’t do. That’s why I’m dedicating a donation to Beat the Streets in his honor.

Beat the Streets funds a program that is expanding wrestling into urban New York areas for middle school and high school students who otherwise would not be exposed to the world’s oldest sport. Wrestling builds confidence and capabilities for young people and helps them develop mental toughness and work ethics. These inherent requirements are critical to success in every sport as well as to success in academics and to success in life.

I learned about Beat the Streets when they were promoting their annual gala. Each year, Beat the Streets celebrates wrestling with some of the thousands of students whose lives they’ve touched. This year their Main Event was conducted on the deck of the USS Intrepid with over 1,200 people witnessing some of the nation’s top wrestlers including several wrestlers from Beat the Streets.

Athletes of all shapes and sizes can excel and enjoy wrestling. And all can benefit from the physical activity, strength and healthy self-esteem that come along with the sport.

My father was never a coach, never paid, and never came back excited that he was able to beat a wrestler. He was patient, helpful, and enthusiastic with every wrestler. His team’s wins and losses mattered in the moment, but they weren’t held onto with ego or regret. My father wrestled because he loved the sport. That passion is what I carry with me every day, and what I want to give back.

Donate Now to a charity your Dad cares most about. Add a personal message and we’ll take care of all the delivery details, if you like. Every gift made through JustGive can be designated as a memorial gift—the perfect way to honor and remember your Dad if he has passed.

Don’t know what charity your Dad is passionate about? Personalize a GiveNow charity gift card your Dad can redeem to give to his favorite charity.

Visit us on Facebook and tell us about a charity that reminds you of your Dad!

Mothers Day

I am a daughter, a grand-daughter, a niece, and hopefully someday a mother. I owe so much of who I am today and who I hope to become, to the love and guidance of my Mom, Grandma and Aunt. They are the women who made countless PB&J sandwiches for a very picky eater (“no crust please”), put band-aids on scraped knees, gave advice on love (and broken hearts), cheered through tears during college graduation, and helped paint the walls of new homes. Through their love, they taught me compassion and empathy. What child didn’t hear “there are starving children in …” as a plea to eat peas? Sorry Mom, I still don’t like peas.

One of the greatest lessons I learned is that giving really does feel better than receiving. Especially now, when times are hard for all, I know how giving even a little can mean so much for so many.

This Mother’s Day I want to thank all the “Moms” in my life with gifts that help others—giving back, in special ways, to honor how they have helped shape my life.

  • I was a late bloomer to the love of reading, but Grandma never stopped encouraging me to find joy in books. For all the stories Grandma read to help me sleep at night, I’m donating to First Book. A $25 donation buys 10 books for first time readers. For $50, a family in need will receive enough books for a year of bedtime.
  • My Aunt is passionate about supporting her local food bank. She lives by the saying “think globally and act locally.” JustGive lets me quickly find and donate to local charities. Or, I can donate $35 to Share our Strength to feed a child three meals a day for more than a month. For $75, Action Against Hunger will supply a family of four with grains and other food staples for two weeks.
  • Home is where the heart is. My Mom struggled with housing when I was young, but always made me feel at home. More than anyone I know, she taught me to give back to others because you never know when you will need help. In her name, a $10 donation to Habitat for Humanity will buy a box of nails for building a home.

You can find the perfect charitable gift for all the “Moms” in your life on JustGive.org, which connects you to nearly 1.5 million charities working throughout the world. Or, if you’d prefer to let your Mom choose a charity helping a cause she is passionate about, you can give her a GiveNow charity gift card.

Pass this idea along to friends and family. After all, didn’t Mom always say we should share?

Be in love. Be inspired.

weddings

Celebrate love this spring

Days are getting warmer, flowers are in bloom, and love is in the air! Spring is a time for fresh, new beginnings, perfect for weddings. From favors and gifts, to invites and cakes, couples want echo-chic and budget-friendly wedding ideas that reflect their lives together. JustGive’s Wedding Center has plenty of tips and ideas for sharing the love—not just with friends and family—but the world.

Give the perfect, personal and meaningful wedding gift … even on a budget

With nearly 1.5 million charities on JustGive, it’s a cinch to make a donation to the couple’s favorite. Not sure which one to choose? The easy-to-use JustGive Guide features 1,000 national charities grouped into 19 categories. Add a personal message and JustGive will send an email to the couple saying you donated on their behalf (earth-friendly and the perfect last minute gift!)—or print the confirmation and enclose it in their congratulations card.

A gift that gives twice. Personalize a GiveNow charity gift card and let the newlyweds choose the charity together. JustGive offers online gift cards which can be printed or emailed as well as physical gift cards we will send to the couple in the mail.

Does the couple love animals, big and small? Or are they passionate about inspiring and educating children? Purchase a Gift Collection of four charities that support a cause you know is close to their hearts.

Plan a wedding that makes a difference

Recently engaged or have soon-to-be-married friends? JustGive’s Wedding Center offers all you need to make charity more a part of this special day.

  • Customize a charitable Wedding Registry and inspire guests to give to the charities that mean the most to you both. JustGive keeps track of gifts and notifies you when donations are made, so thank-you notes are a breeze!

  • Honor or remember loved ones by making a charitable gift in lieu of favors. Shara S., of Pennsylvania, loved the idea of wedding favors as a charitable way to help others. She thought using JustGive was hassle-free and “so worth it,” saying it “beat any mints, picture frame, or wine stopper you can buy.”

Love these ideas? Share them with others and celebrate love in an earth-friendly and budget-savvy way this spring.