Shopping

By Andrea Toochin

We all know the guilt that ensues when you turn down a panhandler, but the common afterthought is, where is the money going?

It’s that concern which causes us to donate money to established charities instead of parting with spare change on the street. In NYC, this often presents itself via benefits and parties. To make a difference on a consistent basis, when time doesn’t permit hands-on volunteerism, and you can’t afford the $500 dinner ticket or the silent auction, there’s iGive.com

We shopaholics don’t discriminate – Web, catalogue, or old fashioned in-store perusing, we find a thrill whether hunting in the bargain bin or opening a mail order package. Whether your time is spent at work, renovating a home, caring for kids, or all three, the Web reveals itself as the most time efficient, convenient shopping route. What would you say if to a Web site that would contribute $20 to the charity of your choice, for every $1000 Marc Jacobs bag you bought? Imagine all the designer goods, books, and toys you’ll buy over a lifetime. If you buy them on the Internet you can donate to charity, satisfy your cravings, and save schlepping it home on the subway. What’s to lose?

iGive started more than six years ago in Indianapolis to promote online charity. Through a partnership program, member companies establish a percentage to be donated to a charitable organization. Most donation rates hover in the range of one to seven percent, but you’ll find magazine sales sites donating up to 14% and The Wall Street Journal boasts a hefty 14%.

My favorite selections include nature friendly stores like Green Marketplace, Mother Nature, and Aromaleigh; staple sites like Barnes and Nobles, eToys, Petco, and Staples; upscale sites like Bergdorf Goodman, eLuxury, and Neiman Marcus; maternity stores such as A Pea in a Pod and Mimi Maternity; and popular shops like Urban Outfitters, Wine.com, Sharper Image, REI, and The New York Times. While the selection is unbelievable, the donations are interesting to watch and unfortunate at times. Despite the many causes Dell participates in, the company barely donates 1% here, yet Cindy Crawford’s Meaningful Beauty donates almost 7%.

All that’s required is your full name, email, and zip code, then you get to choose which charity your donations will benefit. Login onto iGive whenever you want to shop and the links will bring you to the site, just be sure popup blockers don’t eliminate the iGive coupon banner. Monitor your spending and pay attention during the registration process because iGive donations may be tax deductible.

Logon to http://www.igive.com for more information.

Originally published August 2005
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