Presents, I love presents

Though a bit self-congratulatory, the Website ChangingthePresent/Important Gifts couples a fine idea with a thorough presentation of the information necessary to execute it. 

Many people are willing to give donations to charity (rather than, say, matching pen-and-pencil sets) in honor of other people’s birthdays and anniversaries.  But most don’t spend their days thinking about what charity does what work and how well.  So the folks at ChangingthePresent fill this information gap by listing areas of charitable need (aging, the arts, blindness, and so forth), each followed by a roster of nonprofits offering service in that field.  To attract donors who think in terms of activity rather than need, they also list specific tasks (prevention, treatment, education) and identify nonprofits that conduct them. 

(The site’s text indulges in some slight hyperbole to assure prospective donors that recipient agencies will spend the donors’ money on exactly the task identified, but a prominently-displayed disclaimer makes clear that the charities will simply act in good faith in continuing, modifying or shifting resources to particular areas of endeavor.  Good: the Nonprofiteer has no patience with claims that your $10 contribution entitles you to overrule the judgment of nonprofit professionals and require them to spend $10 more than they think is appropriate on a particular project.)

Knowledgeable donors can use the site to contribute to any certified 501(c)(3) charity, though there’s a 3% service charge so it’s the better part of valor to go directly to the charity’s own Website.  But tyro donors outnumber veterans by a substantial margin, and they’ll use ChangingthePresent to help direct their charity just as some wealthy people give donations to charities recommended by their estate-planning lawyers. 

So, charities, it behooves you to get listed on  There’s no easier way to secure support from people who don’t know, for instance, about Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic but think people with visual disabilities should have schoolbooks.


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