Valentineâ€™s Day is almost here. Are you still searching for gifts? Do you need a little something extra for your love? Or maybe you want to give your friends and family a little something special?
Well then how about giving a lovely stress-free charitable gift this Valentine’s Day? See below for our list of Last-Minute Charitable Gift Ideas For Valentine’s Day.
Here’s what you do: Make a charitable donation online — in some instances you can do so in the recipient’s name — then print out an e-card or other message offered. You can add this to an existing gift or give it on its own. If you want, you can run a Walgreens or CVS (some kind of pharmacy type place), grab a tiny box of chocolates and/or tiny teddy bear, put it together with the charitable gift message/print-out into a pretty gift bag (add tissue paper if possible to pretty it up), which will make the presentation lovely and not make it seem like you wait til the last minute.
Oh, and these are tax-deductible! And you’ll be helping others, while giving the gift. So, it’s a win all around.
Sponsor “Bonded” Farm Animal Pairs
At Farm Sanctuary, this year you can donate to sponsor bonded animal pairs, like Marjorie & Goodwin, a pair of rescued goats who’ve found companionship at the sanctuary. With your sponsorship, you’ll have access to a digital card you can send your Valentine. You can also send an e-card when you sponsor an animal at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary or at Catskill Animal Sanctuary.
In case you’re unfamiliar with these organizations, they rescue and/or take-in farm animals that have been spared from the slaughterhouse, so donations are used to help them live a cruelty-free natural life!
Your gift recipient will eventually receive in the mail a personalized adoption certificate and color photo of the animal, but for your last-minute needs, print up the details on the animal you picked, and/or send the digital cards.
Donate to a Wildlife Sanctuary
There several wildlife organizations where you can donate to sponsor an animal like a tiger, bear, panda, penguin, and many more. At World Wildlife Fund, there’s e-cards and animated e-cards offered free for Valentine’s Day you can send and/or print out to give to your recipient. Also consider donating to Defenders Of Wildlife, Rabbit Welfare, and International Crane Foundation.
Name A Roach At The Zoo
One of the more unique gift ideas in recent times is available through the Wildlife Conservation Society: For only $10, you can Name A Roach at the Bronx Zoo in New York City, which houses tens of thousands of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. Roaches are forever, and you can show that your love is, too. Your tax-deductible donation comes with a digital certificate you can send, and makes an awesome, original way to say “I love you.” Empress Eve the Roach is one of the residents at the Bronx Zoo if you want to go visit!
Adopt “The One”
Now, I do not condone giving animals as gifts UNLESS you and your family already understand what it is to become pet parents and are ready for the commitment, and plan on following through on that commitment for the during of the animal’s life. (That means, don’t return the puppy right after Christmas or the rabbit right after Easter.) So, if you and your sweetie are already thinking of adding a pet to your life, adoption is the way to go. While this gift is not as simple as making an online donation and printing out an accompanying ecard, as it requires you to go pick out your pet, I wanted to give you a few options for places to go. There’s nothing sweeter than adding a new loved one to your life!
– Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is offering $14 dog and cat adoptions through February 15, 2016. (You can also sponsor the animals that already live at the Sanctuaries.)
– All About Cats in New York: This is a wonderful place to adopt a kitten or cat – I adopted 2 kittens from them, and I was tempted to just grab five more insanely adorable kittens while I was there. The staff here is so dedicated and compassionate, and the felines are not kept in cages, which is an amazing feat.
– North Shore Animal League in New York: When I was 10, my family adopted our very first cat from North Shore, and when I moved out on my own after college, I adopted my first cat from them, too (both were black, my favorite kind of cat – R.I.P. Raven and Turbo).
– ASPCA does adoptions, and is offering up some Valentine’s Day freebees as well.
These are just the organizations I’ve had experience with, but there are so many adoption specials happening all over the country this weekend.
Plant A Tree At A Park
[Photo: Martin Seck via ProspectParkBrooklyn FB]
You can Plant A Tree in Brooklyn, New York’s beautiful Prospect Park. If you want to make a grander gesture, plan a trip in the future to New York for your sweetheart and go visit the park to see the trees. Also makes a great idea to go visit your tree (or one like it) to propose!
You can also donate to Adopt an Acre of land for that special someone through The Nature Conservancy, which also has downloadable Valentine’s Day Nature Cards for Kids, as well as ecards. This is the perfect gift to give to offset the mass amounts of paper greeting cards being bought up for Valentine’s Day.
Adopt A Bat At A Sanctuary
While I’m fascinated by the roaches, and love all animals and nature, I LOVE bats. You can Adopt A Bat for your lover, like one of these short-tailed fruit bats from Bat World Sanctuary or choose from the selection of bats over at Batcon. If you’re in the UK, you can donate to bats.org.uk; they have Valentine’s Day ecards you can send.
Donate Flowers To A Park
Through the Central Park Conservancy, you can Donate To Plant Flowers in someone’s honor. You can choose from Daffodils, Tulips, or Mums and get an ecard to send to the recipient. Here you’ll have flowers planted at New York City’s famous Central Park, and as with the aforementioned tree donation to Prospect Park, you can add this on to a trip if you have something like that planned, or you can give this on its own knowing that you are helping to beautify the Earth.
Dedicate a Tile At Aquarium Virtual Shimmer Wall
For as little as $25, you can dedicate a tile on the New York Aquarium’s Virtual Shimmer Wall. Visit the link above and design a custom virtual tile by selecting your favorite animal; enter your Valentineâ€™s name, and a personalized message, which your gift recipient will receive via email as a digital certificate. They will also be able to search their own name on the aquarium’s interactive website and then share it via social media. There’s also higher levels of donation with more perks. More details just below.
Dedicate a virtual Shimmer Wall tile to your only fish in the sea! Looking for a Valentine’s Day gift for your little starfish? Is your manta ray of sunshine tough to shop for?
Whether your special someone likes strolling the beach or is fascinated by the ocean beyond, a dedicated tile on the New York Aquarium’s virtual shimmer wall is a great choice this February 14.
Each tax-deductible donation supports the Aquarium’s incredible transformation, helping to bring amazing marine life back to Brooklyn. When complete, the actual Shimmer Wall will be a defining piece of public art, wrapping the Aquarium. It’s sure to be nearly as awe-inspiring as the sharks, sea turtles, and other marine life within.
With your purchase, you’ll design a custom virtual tile featuring a favorite animal, your valentine’s name, and your unique message. Your valentine will get a digital certificate and can search for his or her own name on our interactive website. (Plus, you can share your virtual tile with #ILoveNYA !)
It’s a meaningful gift that celebrates animals, the Aquarium, and your valentine.
So dedicate a virtual Shimmer Wall tile for as little as $25 today and make some meaningful waves!
CharityChoice Gift Cards
Select an ecard or a downloadable card from CharityChoice Gift Cards from the Valentine’s Day designs. Once you pick a design, you can add a customized greeting and then choose from over 250 major charitable causes and hundreds of local charities to donate to in honor of someone special. You can also make it so that the gift recipient gets to choose the charity after you give them the card.
If you want to show the people in your life that you love and care for them, there’s plenty of ways to do it that don’t involve material items or expensive sentiments. But, if you’ve already gone the flowers/chocolate/jewelry route, you can still add on one of these charitable items to your existing gift. And/or, you can get one of these charitable gifts for other people in your life you love, like your parents, siblings, children, and other family members and friends. It’s a great way to show you care — about them and about the world around you — and makes a nice gesture. Bonus – most of these are tax-deductible!
Remember, Valentine’s Day is what YOU make it.