Charity Christmas cards

Not all charity-branded Christmas cards are equal. We highlight some of the more generous givers.
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02.Alternative charity gift giving

Many charities have their own online gift catalogues that allow you to choose a gift to purchase, or you can donate in someone else’s honour. You can find most charity websites easily using Google, or check out the following sites:


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World Vision‘s Smiles program allows you to purchase everything from a garden, school pencils or even a goat for communities in need.
The recipient receives a card detailing the donation made on their behalf. 

Oxfam Unwrapped is a similar program. Your purchases deliver much-needed items to those living in poverty. 

The RSPCA  has released its 2010 Christmas online catalogue. There are Christmas cards, pet products and a whole lot more, and all purchases go towards supporting the charity that looks after all creatures great and small.

Unicef has a long-running charity gifts program that’s easy to browse and purchase online. Best of all, a high percentage of the profits go to supporting Unicef’s important work. 

The Kmart Wishing Tree appeal lets you donate directly to children who need it most at your local Kmart store. You can choose to donate a gift (does not have to be purchased at Kmart) and place it under the Kmart Wishing Tree to be distributed via the Salvation Army.

This is just a small sample of the many worthy causes seeking donations. You can share your chosen charity or preferred method of donating in the article comments.

A cautionary note

While companies are obliged to be upfront about what percentage of card sales go to charity, distilling this down to an exact figure can be challenging, as our 2008 investigation into cause-related marketing (CRM) shows. CRM occurs when a business aligns with a charity, and typically, charity branding is applied to a product in exchange for a portion of the sales. In other words, consumers can choose to buy a product to support the charity in question.

In the absence of any uniform accounting or reporting standard for charities, it can be hard to cut through the various administrative and marketing costs to get a bottom line figure of how much exactly ends up in the charity’s bank account. Purchasing cards direct from a charity, such as through a charity’s website, will typically ensure the most money goes to the cause.

Remember the following tips:

  • A direct contribution to a charity (without buying merchandise) is always the most effective way to donate
  • Any time you purchase a charity-branded product, you are essentially entering into a business transaction, which means not all the money will go to the charity. Typically, a portion will go to the cost of the product, and then the business and the charity will usually divide the remaining profit. Check to make sure you approve of the portion the charity receives.
  • With charity-branded products, you should always practise buyer discretion and assess the price and quality of the product before making a purchase.
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