Tis the Season for Charity Gift Cards | npENGAGE

Tis the Season for Charity Gift Cards

By on Nov 9, 2010


Causes Gift Cards

The Los Angeles Times had an article the other day called “Causes offers gift cards for charitable giving.” Jessica Guynn covers the launch of charity gift cards by Causes that are available in 800 Safeway and Vons supermarkets in California.

Causes is selling $25 and $50 prepaid gift cards and donors get a tax write-off. Recipients log on to Causes.com/giftcard to choose from more than 1 million nonprofits. The article notes that “gift cards will be the No. 1 item on wish lists this year, with 57% of people asking for them, predicts the National Retail Federation.”

The idea of charity gift cards is not a new one. Companies like TisBest and Network for Good’s Good Card have been available for a few years now. The difference is that Causes is continuing to blur the line between online and offline activity.

This gift card program shows that Causes is looking for ways to diversify giving options. That means taking things offline and into a traditional retail environment. Will it work? Who knows. Is it worth paying attention to? Absolutely.

I was quoted in the article noting that less than 1% of online giving happens through social media today. Right now, most social media efforts should be focused on friendraising not fundraising. But, peer to peer fundraising has been one area where social media has had very positive results. Check out the “Making Event Participants More Successful with Social Media” white paper to learn more.


Steve MacLaughlin is the Vice President of Data & Analytics at Blackbaud and bestselling author of Data Driven Nonprofits.

MacLaughlin has been featured as a fundraising and nonprofit expert in many mainstream publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, USA Today, The NonProfit Times, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Bloomberg, and has appeared on NPR.

He is a frequent speaker at events including the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), American Marketing Association (AMA), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association (DMFA), Giving Institute Summer Symposium, National Association of Independent School (NAIS), Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC), Institute of Fundraising National Convention (United Kingdom), Civil Society Conference (Netherlands), International Fundraising Congress (Netherlands), Ask Direct Fundraising Summer School (Ireland), and a keynote speaker at several conferences across the social good sector.

Steve previously served on the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) Board of Directors and is currently an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University.

He is a frequent blogger, published author of a chapter in the book People to People Fundraising: Social Networking and Web 2.0 for Charities, and is a co-editor of the book Internet Management for Nonprofits: Strategies, Tools & Trade Secrets. His latest book, Data Driven Nonprofits, became a bestseller in 2016.

Steve earned both his undergraduate degree and a Master of Science degree in Interactive Media from Indiana University.

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