10 ways to give back this holiday season

10 ways to give back this holiday season
[Photo: Tim Marshall/Unsplash]

If there’s anything we learned from countless viewings of The Muppet Christmas Carol, it’s that it is a good idea to be generous. Now the holidays are upon us and ’tis the season to give back. As you give thanks for the roof over your head, the flu shot you got, and the Seamless delivery app, remember to think of those less fortunate. If the threat of a visit from Ebenezer Scrooge and his three ghost friends doesn’t encourage you to give, remember that you can usually write off your charitable donations on your taxes, too.

Before you open your wallet or your PayPal account, do a little research. Sites like Guidestar and Charity Navigator are good resources for picking the right charity.

Puerto Rico still needs help, so consider donating to Unidos por Puerto Rico, which connects the private sector to those in need. Donations can be sent in a variety of ways, including PayPal.

With news that the Trump administration is ending a visa program that granted 59,000 Haitians temporary visas after the 2010 earthquake, consider giving to Hope for Haiti’s Children. The program focuses on improving the lives of the children through education programs, caring for orphans, providing medical care, and more. They also have a perfect score from Charity Navigator, so your donation will go far.

Crowdfunding site GlobalGiving connects donors to nonprofits and companies around the world. Choose between worthy causes like helping improve the lives of young girls in Pakistan or fundraising to help slow the spread of HIV in Uganda, or teaching street kids in Rwanda about the power of the internet.

Doctors Without Borders (also known as Médecins Sans Frontières) is on the ground around the world bringing medical care to war zones, refugee camps, and almost anywhere that people need help. If you’re cash-strapped, you can also donate airplane miles to the organization.

DirectRelief, which has a perfect score on Charity Navigator, provides medical assistance to people affected by poverty and disaster in the U.S.  and around the world.

WildAid is fighting to end illegal wildlife trafficking around the globe. They are working to stop the ivory trade, ban shark fin hunting, and keep rhino horns where they belong (on rhinos). Plus, they have a perfect score from Charity Navigator and a video of Jackie Chan fighting to save pangolins from untimely deaths.

Want to give goods instead of cash? Try GiveBackBox, where you fill a box with donations, print a shipping label from their website, and drop it off at the post office. GiveBackBox’s partners will pay for the shipping.

The work of MAP International flies under the radar, because they put a whopping 99.3% of donations directly into their good work—and not into glossy marketing materials. Founded in 1954, they provide humanitarian assistance and medicines to those in need in more than 100 countries,

The Conservation Fund has helped save 7.8 million acres of land and water since 1985. They’ve worked to preserve bat habitats in Arkansas, helped protect the homes of Florida panthers, helped save farmland in Michigan, and did it all while earning a top score from Charity Navigator.

UNHCR, the refugee agency for the United Nations, provides critical humanitarian aid to refugees. They do everything from distribute emergency aid and shelter materials to helping unaccompanied children, the elderly, and survivors of sexual trauma in refugee camps.ML