Non-profit giving: the charity gift guide

Give your non-profit charity of choice, and your loved ones, a little something with the planet in mind this year


DUCKS UNLIMITED

I know, I know, this plastic deer sporting hunting apparel whilst holding your salt and pepper shakers is pure awesomeness. And proceeds go to Ducks Unlimited Canada, which does important work protecting duck habitat, albeit partly for the benefit of hunters. Charity Intelligence concludes that “many more ducks live than are shot,” because of the org’s work, but this gift would no doubt backfire with most enviros. ducks.ca.

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NATURE CONSERVANCY

One of Canada’s largest and wealthiest environmental charities, NCC lets you symbolically give the gift of nature (along with a calendar, art prints and/or a toque). It has gotten some flak from environmental groups for being a “non-advocacy” org that doesn’t lobby government or big business, including the many oil and pipeline companies that fund and partner with it. The good news is that it has protected 1.1 million hectares of land since 1962 and managed to avoid the sordid scandals of the U.S. Nature Conservancy (no affiliation), including letting an oil and gas company drill on land it was supposed to protect. giftsofnature.ca.

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WWF ADOPTIONS

Always a great way to teach young people about the importance of protecting the planet’s wildlife, even if they are made with conventional polyester. Three-quarters of what you pay for your stuffed animal goes to WWF’s conservation programs, and you get a charitable tax receipt to prove it. The stuffies do conform to the OEKO-Tex 100 standard, so there are no harmful chems on them, plus they’re made at a certified responsible factory. You may not like all the corporations WWF partners with, but WWF is also working to green its partners’ production, climate policies, energy use, etc. wwf.ca.

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ME TO WE

A lot of charities offer giftable Ts, toques and tote bags bearing their logo. Free the Children blasts all of that out of the water with its stylish social enterprise, Me to We. This year, Me to We has seriously expanded its merchandise, partnering with all kinds of businesses. Keep an eye out for partners that use greener materials, like United by Blue, the maker of this sturdy organic cotton messenger bag. As with all Me to We goods, 50 per cent of profits go to Free the Children’s charitable programs overseas. Plus, United removes a pound of trash from the world’s oceans for every product sold. metowe.com.

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CHARITY E-CARDS

Channel the good vibes of the season by gifting nothing but love, no strings attached – or physical prezzies. MSF and Oxfam let you buy symbolic gifts in the name of your choice, but unlike other giving programs the funds are wisely sent wherever they’re needed most. The Suzuki Foundation and Greenpeace have both ditched the consumer gifts of seasons past and are sticking to gift donations. Your loved ones get a simple e-card letting them know a donation has been made in their name. Just don’t expect a tax receipt in return from Greenpeace or the Council of Canadians. Both non-profits lost their charitable status for being too political, which has freed them up to campaign loudly against environmental grinches in government. oxfam.ca, msf.ca, davidsuzuki.org, greenpeace.ca, canadians.org.

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Updated Friday December 11, 1:05 pm: An earlier version of this story misstated the Nature Conservancy’s relationship to the U.S.-based Nature Conservancy. The two are not affiliated. The group is also working to green the climate policies of a number of corporate sponsors

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