The following article was published in the Des Moines Register’s West Register on Friday, January 6, 2012.
Giving Cards Benefit Charity
Recipient Chooses Nonprofit to Receive the Money
BY KRISTIN DANLEY-GREINER
A first-of-its-kind gift-giving program in Iowa offers people a new way to support nonprofit organizations.
The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines last month debuted a gift card that allows the recipient to go online and choose a charity to receive the money on the card.
“Community members who have purchased giving cards tell us they enjoy giving it as a gift to children and grandchildren to pass on the importance of giving,” said Jessica Brown, director of marketing and communications for the foundation. “It’s also a great gift for the ‘person who has everything.’ ”
Brown said there are communities and community foundations in other states that run similar programs, but this is a first for Iowa and the greater Des Moines area.
Urbandale resident Tiffany Tauscheck purchased a card to give as a gift this holiday season to a colleague who she believed would “sincerely appreciate finding a way to give back to the community.”
“She’s the kind of person who has a little bit of everything and this is a nice gift to give her that I think she’ll appreciate,” Tauscheck said. “It’s a very easy process, doing it online. It’s available 24-7, there’s no waiting in line and it’s very convenient.”
Tauscheck said the giving cards are one way to help friends and family support organizations close to their hearts.
“I like to give personal gifts and I myself am heavily involved in many organizations throughout the community. I really see the value in giving back and supporting the foundation and its mission. I like being able to engage a colleague at that level, and it will be another special connection she and I will share.”
Cards can benefit any 501(c)(3) charitable organization, Brown said.
“When people redeem the cards, there is a link to GuideStar if the person redeeming the card wants to check the charitable status of the charity he or she would like to support,” she said.
Brenda Miller, executive director of the Des Moines Ronald McDonald House, said she loves the concept and sees groups like the Ronald McDonald House benefiting by reaching new donors.
“What a unique way to benefit so many,” Miller said. “You can often wander from shop to shop or surf the Internet to find just the right gift, the perfect gift, one with meaning. The giving card program will help with that.”
Since the organizations that can receive the gift money are charities, card givers may see a benefit at tax time if they itemize deductions.
“This is a great way to pay it forward and with many benefits,” Miller said. “The purchaser of the card receives a tax benefit, the individual receiving the card has the opportunity to make an impact while choosing their favorite charity, and the charity will benefit from the gift.
“This is the type of gift that you remember receiving for years to come. And I think it is the type of gift that once you have received a giving card, you will want to share this concept and buy one for someone special in your life to provide them the opportunity to ‘give forward’ to their favorite charity.”