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Charitymas - Offering gifts that mean something

FROM: James Webb

What NEED does this meet?
How often have you given a present to somebody at Christmas only for them to put it at the bottom of a drawer or a cabinet, never to be seen again? How many Christmas presents have you received that you don't know what to do with?

This must happen all the time and millions of pounds must go wasted. Of course the economy gets a boost as every commercial transaction helps create wealth and jobs. But on the other hand British charities are compelled to spend millions of pounds on advertising, usually asking current donors to donate more. Unlike many companies and corporations, charities never have enough to drive forward the projects they are involved with. I like many others feel that a pound donated to charity generates more social capital and makes a bigger difference to someone's life than a pound spent on an unwanted gift.

I have created a blueprint site for my idea at www.charitymas.org.uk.

What is the APPROACH?
Prospective donors visit the website. You will be given a range of choices of what to buy, for example medicines, equipment for schools, buildings, wells etc. When you have decided what you want to buy (or how much you want to spend) you are taken to a secure server where you can make your payment by credit card. The item is purchased and delivered to the chosen beneficiaries.

When payment has been processed you can opt to receive a beautiful certificate documenting your gift either in the mail or via e-mail. You present this certificate as a Christmas gift to family, friends and loved ones.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
There are a number of ways in which people's lives will be made easier and better:

- It's an incredibly quick and incredibly easy way to donate money to charity - Donors can choose exactly what the money goes towards - No more unwanted gifts, every gift bought is wanted badly - No more time wasted in shopping centres vainly scouring for something suitable to buy - Charities don't need to spend money on marketing, the idea will spread around the country via e-mails and word of mouth.

What is the COMPETITION?
There is a site called Goodgifts which I only found out about after developing my own blueprint site. The difference is that they have gifts for over 15 different occasions. There are only four gifts recommended by them for Christmas time and they are completely different to the sort of things this site would offer (we wouldn't deal with Christmas hampers and bikes for the British poor, for example, but humanitarian crises and overseas campaigns for desperate communities in the third world which don't even enjoy basic standards of living).

Charitymas would concentrate exclusively on the Christmas spirit. I hope we would make a greater impression on people by focusing on this part of the cultural calendar, when spending is high but charitable spirit should be higher.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
We require:

- One website complete with online payment facility - Links with a few charities engaged in projects in third world countries - Some PR nous to get the idea talked about on TV/radio and on the internet - Custom printed certificates as proof of the donation, which can double up as a Christmas card

When donors pay us we pay the charity and they do the rest. We are a bridge bringing people and charities together. This is not expensive and not at all difficult, but it will be effective.

November 9, 2003 in Giving stuff away | Permalink

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Another, additional, angle, could be weddings: at many weddings you are given a 'bonbonniere' or favour, usually some candle or picture frame wrapped in tulle, which again ends up in the bottom of a drawer. Couples could be encouraged to give the money they would have spent on these favours to Charitymas. Additionally, couples could
'register' at Charitymas like they would at a china shop for gifts; guests could then choose to spend part or all of the money they would have spent on gifts for the couple at Charitymas, and Charitymas could then, in turn, send a 'gift card' to the couple (like a china shop would do), announcing the gift. I've already noticed the trend in terms of the wedding favours - many couples are donating this money to charity already, so this site could serve simply to give this notion a higher profile and an easier way for guests to get involved, too.

Posted by: Sarah at Nov 9, 2003 6:09:13 PM

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Posted by: Ben at Sep 6, 2004 12:31:13 AM