Saturday, 15 December 2012

Research Files: 50 giving gifts

A wise person once said to me that when we give something we are also at high risk of taking something away and that something is a person's dignity. Charities, voluntary services, community groups and social enterprises are very conscious of this in their work with disadvantaged people. It is perhaps not surprising that it is far easier to give money than time, skills or in any way get involved directly when it comes to helping the most vulnerable people in our society but thank goodness people do or we'd be an even bigger pickle than we currently are.

It is the season of giving in many cultures, not just Christian ones, though for me every season ought to be and is. As a consequence I buy as much as I can from charities and from social enterprises which include supermarkets such as Waitrose and the Co-op and as well as from local businesses. It's a personal choice of course, but as I believe giving to the community helps the whole economy to become healthier and more prosperous I am never going to be ashamed or shy away from encouraging others to do the same. After all how often do we hear moans of the world is too commercial, too materialist these days? Frankly I think we are all seduced by the power of good marketing, but there are ways of allowing ourselves to be materialistic that are more ethical than others.

Most things you need are being produced by charities and social enterprises these days and there is an ever increasing range of innovative ideas for gifts from them too. Did you know for example that if you want to buy a theatre ticket for someone, there are not-for-profit theatre companies or a charitable ones? And there are many sources of training from social enterprises and charities.

This then is my research file on a few suggestions of where to look for pressies at any time of the year if you wish to look for ways to give support to communities - from gifts for others to benefit from, to gifts for your own loved ones. Don't forget your local charity shops for your cards as most charities produce them and please feel free to post a link below of your favourite charity or social enterprise gift idea. By helping them, you are also helping others, the economy and therefore supporting yourself too. All rather neat I think. Which to support? Go with what means most to you. They are all worthy of our help.

25 charity links to donate to

25 gift idea links for your loved ones


Finally, if you are a charity or social enterprise you might want to think about advertising what you do for free on sites like or highlighting what you need by way of resources and gifts on or - one never knows and there is certainly no harm in asking and don't forget to look out for newspaper articles and on tweets for even more ideas.

Wishing everyone a healthier and happier future than has ever been possible before. Happy giving.