Donate to these 9 charities instead of buying flowers for Mother's Day
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Giving back is important, now more than ever before. While governments around the world are bailing out businesses large and small, individuals continue to struggle — if you have the means, people and animals alike could really use your help.
For years, my sister and I have shipped flowers online, often earning up to 30 miles per dollar in the process, but that tradition ended this year, at my mother's request. Right now, people are having incredible difficulty making ends meet, doctors and nurses are saving patients using makeshift masks, and elephants are starving in Thailand — it's an incredibly challenging time for people and animals all around the world.
Flower farmers could use a financial boost as well, I'm sure, but there are charities around the world that are event more desperate for your support — I'll be sharing some that stand out in particular below.
This critical organization is working around the clock to help families impacted by COVID-19. So far, Baby2Baby has distributed millions of items all around the United States, providing parents in need with formula, diapers and other essential supplies.
Through a nationwide network of food banks, Feeding America distributes more than four billion meals each year. Your donation will help provide meals through one of 200 food banks, including one in or near your community.
Working to save and protect children in 190 countries and territories around the world, UNICEF is no stranger to humanitarian emergencies. As part of its COVID-19 response, the organization has already delivered almost six million protective items to health workers around the world, and continues to provide children with adequate health care, nutrition and safe water during this critical time.
Trinity Place Shelter
This New York City transition shelter provides LGBTQ youth and young adults with emotional support and education, in addition to a safe place to live. Your donation will provide food for residents, public transportation to work and funding for the purchase of critical equipment.
God's Love We Deliver
Currently, God's Love We Deliver is working hard to feed vulnerable members of the community throughout the New York City area. For $54, you can sponsor a bag of shelf-stable meals, with enough food to keep someone eating healthy for a week.
Ready, Willing and Able
This 12-month residential program offers paid work, in addition to a variety of social services, helping homeless men land on their feet in New York City. So far, more than 7,200 people have successfully completed the program, landing a full-time job and a home of their own.
Save Elephant Foundation
I had an enlightening visit to the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai Thailand in 2012, and have pledged to support these magnificent creatures ever since. I made a donation on behalf of my own mom, to the Save Elephant Foundation, which is helping care for elephants desperate for your help. You can also make a donation via Trunks Up, and, if you have lots of love to give, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Sheldrick Wildlife Trust could always use your help, too.
James Beard Foundation
Countless restaurant workers are currently out of work, as coronavirus has prompted much of the U.S. to ban sit-down dining in an effort to contain the spread. The JBF Relief Fund aims to provide critical aid to small, independent restaurants, helping to cover operational expenses and keep restaurants from going out of business during the pandemic.
Non-profit news organizations
Independent journalism is as important as ever, with organizations like National Public Radio (NPR) depending on you for much-needed funding in their never-ending quest for the truth. Consider making a donation on mom's behalf, and pick up a subscription to her community newspaper, too.
Bonus: C&C's Awesome Foundation
TPG contributor Chris Sloan runs a charity, Caleb and Calder Sloan's Awesome Foundation, that's matching COVID-19-related donations through April 13th, up to $250 apiece — an incredibly generous gesture. You can email your donation receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org, and they'll take care of the rest!
Maximize your return
As with all purchases, it's entirely possible to earn valuable points and miles when you make a donation. You'll want to do a bit of research, though — some charities, like the Save Elephant Foundation, accept donations via PayPal, and they won't have to pay a fee if you fund your donation via a bank transfer. Others may allow you to cover the organization's fee at checkout, which is something to consider, too.
If paying by credit card won't negatively impact your donation, I recommend a card that offers The best credit cards for everyday spending, such as Chase Freedom Unlimited or the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. See our post detailing the best credit cards to use for charitable donations for more.