17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Last Minute Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Still searching for that perfect gift for Mom? Consider making a donation to a charitable cause in her name.

Here are some ideas:

- Is your mom active in the outdoors or a nature lover? Donate in her name to the Conservation Fund,"dedicated to protecting landscapes and waterways for future generations," the Sierra Club, which is doing a lot to fight global warming, or to her local nature center.

- Does your mom love to read? Consider a donation to Room to Read. Room To Read builds libraries in developing countries in hopes of increasing literacy rates and was recently featured on Oprah. A unique mission of this nonprofit is that it prints children's books in native languages. My own mother, a former school teacher and book lover, will be receiving this gift from me.

- Does your mom have a special place in her heart for kids? How about a gift to one of these charities: Ronald McDonald House, Save The Children, or Children's Defense Fund. There are a lot of great children's charities, I chose these as examples because they received the highest ratings from www.charitywatch.org.

- Does your mom own her own business or have an interest in international development? She will fall in LOVE with KIVA just as I have. KIVA is a microloan program where you can loan money to women around the world in order to jumpstart their businesses. The fun part of this program is that you get to pick who gets your loan. The website has photo profiles of each woman in need of a loan. I love to go through the profiles and imagine the lives of these women and the possibilities these loans will give them. Another fun thing is that there is an excellent chance (greater than 90%) that you will get your money back because it is a loan. Now that is my kind of charitable giving! Frankly, I believe in the power of microloans and KIVA is my best shot at being involved with this movement while my kids are young and in need of a mother who lives in the same country as they do.

Another microfinance program you should consider donating to is Unitus. tftCarrie introduced Unitus to me (by way of Daring Young Mom) and I am liking their work. Instead of making direct loans, they take a business approach and work directly with microlenders, much like a venture capitalist might work with a startup, to ensure their success. The idea is that microloans successfully eleviate poverty but they aren't reaching enough people. Making microlenders more effective operating businesses will help them serve more people, make more loans, and thus make greater strides in poverty reduction. Good stuff.

Now that you've chosen a charity for your mom, you might consider adding an extra personal touch by accompanying a small gift with your donation. Your nature-loving Mom, for example, might receive a trail guide or a potted plant. Buy your bookworm Mom personalized name plates for her book collection. Give your entrepreneur mom a new PDA (ok, that's not really a small gift) or a magazine subscription to Entrepreneur or (my fav) The Economist.

For my own gift to my mother, I bought a traditional Mother's Day card and enclosed printed information on her charity and a brief explanation to why I chose that particular charity for her. I'm a little nervous about it....my mom is an extremely generous woman...but I am a little afraid that she will feel like I am imposing my world and my value system on her. After she reads my card, however, I think she will understand and accept my gift with love and appreciation.

Here's to putting FTD out of business this Mother's Day!


  • That's a great idea Jen. Thanks for posting.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 5/06/2007 11:12:00 AM  

  • Love these ideas. I am totally in love with Kiva. There is something really nice about being able to choose and connect to a particular person in need of a microloan. And the possibility of using the same chunk of money over and over again is really a gift that can keep on giving.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 5/06/2007 03:51:00 PM  

  • Great post, Jen - this redirected my thinking towards something charitable for the woman who has everything...
    posted by Blogger chloe at 5/06/2007 10:46:00 PM  

  • Thanks so much for including Unitus in your post about Mother's Day gift ideas.

    We've also just launched our Empowering Women Campaignjust in time for Mother's Day, where people can build a personlized tribute page to their moms (or any other wonderful women in their life), including photos and video if you'd like, and on their behalf you can make a donation that will help empower hard-working women around the world.

    Not only are you able to shout from the rooftops about how great your mom is, but we'll also send your mom a beautiful card or e-card letting her know about the personalized site you built. We'll also make sure that she knows that a donation in her name is helping to change lives.

    For every $5 gift made to Unitus, we're able to help one additional family gain access to microfinance. Now how's that for leverage? Also, for every gift of more than $75, we'll send you (or your mom) a hand-made bag from India, hand-crafted by one of the women receiving microfinance from a Unitus partner.

    Again, thanks for helping your readers learn a little more about our work. So far, supporters like you have helped us serve more than 1.6 million micro-entrepreneurs aroudn the world with access to life-changing financial services!

    With best wishes from the entire Unitus team,

    Katie Gruver
    posted by Blogger Katie at 5/07/2007 08:20:00 AM  

  • What a great idea! Thank you for the information. It's the perfect gift for the most charitable woman I know.
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 5/07/2007 02:12:00 PM  

  • I love how you have these great ideas Jen--thanks for the info. That's a real "outside the box" mothers day gift--very cool.
    posted by Blogger Katie at 5/10/2007 11:07:00 AM  

  • Jen I just want to say thank you so much for the great idea. Because of this post and being the recipient of donations made on my behalf (thank you Carrie) I decided to donate on behalf of my mothers to four different charities. I chose two animal ones and two save the children ones. I feel great, I know they will appreciate them. And it makes me want to do more. So thank you!
    posted by Blogger kellyprivett at 5/10/2007 11:27:00 AM  

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